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Amar’e Stoudemire made enough money in the NBA to last 10 lifetimes. The longtime Phoenix Sun earned over $160 million over the course of his 15-year NBA career, but he’ll never forget the first $300,000 check he received after he signed his first pro contract in 2002. Although he had never seen that much money in his life up to that point, Stoudemire still decided to use his first NBA purchase on his family.

Amar’e Stoudemire made over $160 million in the NBA

Growing up in New York, Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t know what being wealthy felt like yet. Nothing was ever given to him as a child. He had to earn it. He shoveled snow in the winter and mowed lawns in the summer with his brothers to earn petty cash, and he used mostly his own money to purchase his prized possession as a kid, a Mongoose bike.

Eventually, Stoudemire realized his potential in basketball and decided to give it a go at the next level. The big man was so dominant in high school that he was able to enter the NBA draft after he graduated instead of going to college.

Stoudemire was drafted by the Suns with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft. The 6-foot-10 center went on to play eight seasons in Phoenix, and he was named an All-Star in five of them. He then played four full seasons with the New York Knicks and finished his career with the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat.

Stoudemire retired in 2016 with career averages of 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He left the league as the highest-paid center in NBA history with $161,628,892 in career earnings, according to Spotrac.

Stoudemire’s first NBA paycheck was worth $300,000

With over $160 million in career earnings, Amar’e Stoudemire would laugh at a $300,000 check today. But in 2002, that same $300,000 was a life-changing amount for a 20-year-old rookie. When Stoudemire received his first check from the Suns, he couldn’t believe how rich he just became in the blink of an eye.

“When I got the first paycheck and I saw all those zeros — it was for like $300,000 — I thought, ‘Man, this is like the Richie Rich movie.’ You wake up and now you’re rich,” Stoudemire told Wealthsimple Magazine in 2018.

Amar’e Stoudemire used his first paycheck to splurge on his mother and brother

When many rookie NBA players get their first taste of fame and fortune, they’ll typically take that first big check and blow it all on extravagant, unnecessary purchases. Fancy jewelry. A new car. A mansion equipped with the latest and greatest technology.

Although Stoudemire did eventually splurge on those such purchases, he first used his rookie paycheck to say thank you to the people who helped him realize his dreams — his family.

After cashing his first $300,000, Stoudemire bought his mother a new home and took his brother on an expensive shopping spree.

“When you see tears in your mother’s eyes and the joy in your brother’s face? Those moments only come once in a lifetime,” Stoudemire told Wealthsimple.

All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference


Amar’e Stoudemire Made So Much Money in the NBA That He Bought Part of a Basketball Team