From Travis Kelce to Serena Williams, how 4 top athletes spent their first big paychecks
From Travis Kelce to Serena Williams, how 4 top athletes spent their first big paychecks


Travis Kelce has made more than $70 million all through his profession within the National Football League, however he nonetheless remembers how he spent his first paycheck.

“I had my eyes on a pair of dimension 13 Nike Air MAG ‘Marty McFlys’ — the good footwear that I’d ever seen in my life,” Kelce stated in his weekly “New Heights” podcast in May. “As quickly as I received my examine, I instantly went on-line and sourced them.”

Kelce says he spent round $10,000 on the limited-edition sneaker, that are replicas of the futuristic footwear Michael J. Fox wore in “Back to the Future Part II.” Only 1,500 pairs have been ever launched.

“I’ve all the time been a big Nike man after which you realize, watching ‘Back to the Future’ so many frickin’ instances — goddamn it, these have been candy,” Kelce stated on the podcast, which is co-hosted along with his brother and Philadelphia Eagles middle Jason Kelce.

The sneakers turned out to be an excellent funding, as they now routinely sell for $20,000 to $30,000 on reseller and public sale web sites.

Even so, Kelce stated he was frivolous with cash throughout his rookie yr. “I spent method an excessive amount of cash in golf equipment, and I used to be avoiding the lease girl,” he stated. All he has to present for his first season as a professional are “a few of my favourite footwear.”

It wasn’t that method for lengthy. Following a five-year $46 million contract extension in 2016, Kelce signed one other four-year extension in 2020, worth just over $57 million. He additionally makes an estimated $3 million a yr outdoors of soccer, Forbes reports. As of fall 2023, Kelce has an estimated internet value of $30 million, according to Insider.

Kelce is not the one athlete to recall their first big pay day. Here’s a take a look at how different top athletes spent their first paychecks.

Shaquille O’Neal purchased automobiles for his mother and father

When he was 20, Shaquille O’Neal blew through $1 million inside hours of receiving a examine for his first million-dollar buying and selling card contract.

He purchased a $150,000 Mercedes Benz for himself, then one other one for his dad, adopted by a smaller $100,000 one for his mother. The remainder of the cash went towards paying off his mother’s home and doing “what all of the homeboys do — gotta purchase rings and diamonds and earrings and this and that,” he told Business Insider in 2017.

At that point, he did not actually perceive how taxes labored, and he wasn’t fastidiously monitoring how a lot he spent. A financial institution supervisor had to inform him that he was round $50,000 “within the gap.”

“After that, I stated, ‘You know what? I want to get me a enterprise supervisor,” O’Neal stated.

Since then, O’Neal has become a successful investor, with early stakes in corporations equivalent to Google and Lyft. In 2016, Forbes estimated his internet value at over $400 million.

Klay Thompson splurged on a pool desk

National Basketball Association champion Klay Thompson currently earns $43.2 million per year, however when he entered the league in 2011, his first paycheck was $35,000.

“It was unimaginable,” he told Maverick Carter in a 2019 episode of Uninterrupted’s “Kneading Dough.” It was “extra money than I may ever consider.”

The first factor he bought: a pool table. “I nonetheless have that to today,” stated Thompson.

Thompson stated that regardless of making “errors” along with his cash throughout his rookie season — together with shopping for a closet full of garments he by no means wore — his “tastes aren’t that extravagant.”

“It’s not like that cash made me happier,” he instructed Carter. In his junior yr at Washington State University, he lived “an amazing life” on a $1,100-a-month stipend.

“I may get as a lot Taco Del Mar as I needed. I may go to Target and have a subject day,” he instructed Carter. Later in his profession, Thompson launched an organization to assist youngsters within the U.S. and the Bahamas by health and training.

At the tip of the day, “wealth is a mindset,” he stated. “If you will have relationships and experiences round you, these are priceless. That’s higher than any automotive or big home you will get.”

Serena Williams put her first paycheck into financial savings

Tennis star Serena Williams did not truly spend her first paycheck.

“I by no means touched [the money] — simply put it within the financial institution,” she instructed Carter on an episode of Uninterrupted’s “Kneading Dough.” “I keep in mind I went by the drive-thru to deposit my examine, after which they have been like, ‘I feel you want to are available in for this.'”

She stated she all the time performed for the love of the sport, to the purpose that she would neglect to accumulate the paychecks she earned at tournaments.

“When I first turned professional, you had to go choose up your examine,” Williams instructed Carter. “I by no means, by no means picked it up, so on the finish of the yr, the event administrators would actually hand me the examine as a result of I’d by no means go get it.”

Williams stated she by no means felt broke rising up. As a outcome, she by no means felt the necessity to splurge when she began to earn cash as an expert tennis participant.

That mindset has paid off. Williams retired from tennis in 2022, however has an estimated internet value of $290 million, according to Forbes.

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