Frugal Lessons from Ballers: Season 3 Episode 4

Ballers is a HBO series show about a former football player turned financial manager (a character named Spencer, played by The Rock) that highlights the life of current and former players in regards to sports and finances and how they balance it all together.  Ballers goes in depth on a number of topics involving the lifestyle of professional athletes from players transitioning post career to handling family and friends to dealing with negotiations.

The following highlights different key financial points from the show that athletes deal with or can learn from.


The season is starting to take shape and we are seeing Spencer continue on his quest to bring an NFL team to Las Vegas. He is juggling his ambition to become a football owner while currently dealing with the transgressions of his current job as a financial advisor for professional athlete. He is realizing that in order to get where he wants to go, some of his habits are going to have die. In last night's episode, we see different instances that pertain both to the sport business and real life world. As professional athletes, it's important to decipher which concepts translate over to the real world and which ones don't.

Proving Yourself

Spencer complains to Joe, his business partner, about the NFL owners being an old boys club and how it is going to be difficult to break in and try to bring a team to Las Vegas.  As an athlete or any individual for that matter, when you are trying to move up the ladder, it is going to come with some tension. The people higher up want to make sure you are a proven commodity. It’s like becoming a partner at a law firm, you can’t just show up and expect to be at the top. Everyone wants you to put your years of service in, if that makes sense. 


Vernon made a smart financial decision by converting his endorsement deal into an equity percentage. As athletes, your likeness will be used to promote different brands and companies and even though you may get paid handsomely for the deal, you still are at the hands of their decisions. When you have equity, you have a seat at the table and will make more money over time if the company does well. 

Vernon makes the mistake, however, of getting that ownership stake with a weed company and one that he was previously asked to relinquish ties with. As an athlete, it’s important to understand your image is the most important thing in relation to your brand. When you are publicly support controversial brands, companies or public figures, they may have a negative effect on your business. 

Politics over Performance

Charles is still adjusting to his role as assistant GM. His boss, Mr Siefart is explaining to him not everything is an easy x’s and o’s when it comes to making decisions for the team. Charles has trouble and claims that politics should not matter over performance. Whether it’s sports, business, or life, more often than not, politics will always play a role. As a professional athlete, you have to understand business and politics play a major role in decisions made both on and off the field. You may get traded because the team doesn’t want to pony up a new salary or you may get a franchise tag so no other team can pick you up. When you transition to a post-career field, situations like that will be more prevalent.