NBA players have been warned for more than a year by union officials that they need to save and properly invest their money in case the league's lockout cuts into the season. Philadelphia 76ers guard Andre Iguodala(notes) has heeded the advice – and also used the labor impasse to get some on-the-job training with his financial planning.
Iguodala shadowed a venture capitalist and visited the New York Stock Exchange as part of a week-long internship with Bank of America Merrill Lynch arranged by his financial planner. If the lockout drags on, he's also considering taking a separate internship with a hedge fund or an apparel company.
"I always had an interest in what was going on in the market," Iguodala said. "I have a couple of teammates, Jason Kapono(notes) and Spencer Hawes(notes), who are into it. I always read USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, and I have an E-Trade account, so the interest in finance has always been there.
"Also, being an athlete I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to make a good living and be able to hold on to a good amount of wealth. I understand that this basketball thing is a small window. The things that I’m getting from basketball … I want to stretch it out my whole life."
Iguodala spent the week in New York as part of the internship and was scheduled to leave Friday, but may stay to join the labor meetings. Several players are expected to attend Friday's meeting, which could be critical in determining whether the season starts on time.
"It’s always been said that you have billionaires going against millionaires," said Iguodala, who will make $13.5 million this season under terms of his current contract. "There is a saying that big money takes little money.
“It’s all about how long we can stand our ground. We really feel like we want a fair deal. We want to play basketball first and foremost, but we also understand there is a problem and we are willing to help out with that.
“I don’t feel like it’s on the players to take 100 percent of the responsibility of a franchise when [ownership] claims they’ve lost significant amounts of money. …I think we’ve given a lot already and they’re trying to see how long they can stretch us out. We haven’t started missing paychecks yet. And I think they’re killing time to the point where they can have us miss paychecks and then we'll fold. That’s what they’re hoping."
Despite being mentioned in trade speculation this summer, Iguodala said he would like to stay with the Sixers. He had positive conversations with team president Rod Thorn and coach Doug Collins before the lockout.
"Rod and I have a great relationship because I believe he gives it to me straight forward," Iguodala said. "He’s always honest. We have a great relationship. Doug Collins and I have never had a rift. We always get along and he’s straight forward.
"So we talked about how the team can get better and what areas I can improve in on and off the court and become a better leader. We just left it all on the same page.”
Iguodala canceled a trip to Paris last month to work out with eight teammates in Los Angeles. The workouts were set up by Iguodala and Elton Brand(notes). The players went to dinner and night clubs each evening, and Iguodala and Brand split the lofty bill for the food and entertainment.
"We had a great time," Iguodala said. "I’m moving forward to help the team move on to the next level.”
Iguodala hopes the lockout ends before he has to seriously consider playing overseas, but his agent, Rob Pelinka, could execute a deal quickly if needed.
"At the end of the day, we’re trying to play ball," Iguodala said. "Our main goal is to play ball and not miss any games. We’ve shown that in what we’ve given back to the league in trying to get a fair deal done.
"At the same time, we still have to leave our options open because we still have to maintain a living. Even though we’ve made good money, we can’t sit out a whole year and not get anything done."