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While professional athletes sign their first contract, they become a millionaire in a matter of moments. Everyone, however, handles that differently. David Carr, for example, kept things simple and bought a new couch; Shaquille O’Neal, on the other hand, blew through $1 million in a single hour. Andre Iguodala, though, played thing more down the middle.

Although he didn’t blow his entire paycheck, Iguodala celebrated his first NBA contract with a trip to Niketown. When he emerged from the store, he had spent a few thousand dollars on Jordans.

Andre Iguodala’s NBA career

After playing his high school ball in Illinois, Andre Iguodala headed to the University of Arizona. He then spent two seasons in the desert, establishing himself as an all-around player, before entering into the 2004 NBA draft.

The Philadelphia 76ers snagged the forward with the seventh overall pick and immediately slotted him into the starting lineup. Playing alongside Allen Iverson, Iguodala developed into a legitimate NBA player; once the original AI left town, however, he took over as the team’s leading man.

After eight seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, Iguodala was traded to the Denver Nuggets; he spent one campaign there before joining the Golden State Warriors in 2013. That move would change the forward’s career forever.

In Golden State, Iguodala proved to be an invaluable piece of the Warriors dynasty. Primarily serving as the sixth-man, he did a little bit of everything; his pure counting numbers might have dropped, but the forward was able to provide clutch defense, scoring, and rebounding in the biggest moments. He helped the club claim three NBA titles and took home the NBA Finals MVP award in 2015.

In July 2019, however, the Warriors shipped Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies. He never suited up for the team, though, and joined the Miami Heat in February; he’s since slotted back into his familiar role acting as a veteran presence and contributor off the bench.

Spending ‘two or three grand’ on Jordans

During his 16 NBA seasons, Andre Iguodala has earned just over $166 million. The veteran, however, hasn’t forgotten the feeling of receiving his first professional paycheck.

“My first contract was for four years, $9 million. I think the fourth year was a team option, so if you don’t improve over the first three years, then they can cut you—so, really, three years, $7 million,” he explained to WealthSimple. “You get an advance over the summer, and just before the draft, you get an advance for trading cards and an advance for a shoe contract. I remember a loan agency floating me until I got the advances. They sent me a cheque for $25,000.”

That’s a good sum of money for anyone, especially for someone just entering the workforce, so Iguodala decided to splash out. As a basketball player, the logical choice seemed to be buying some new sneakers.

“I think I just went to Niketown and bought a whole bunch of pairs of Jordans,” he continued. “I spent like two or three grand, and it felt like I spent a million dollars. I didn’t know how to spend money.”

These days, Andre Iguodala is in a strong financial position

While that trip to Niketown might not have been the best financial decision, Andre Iguodala is in a much better place today. Not only does he have an estimated net worth of $50 million, but the forward is putting that money to good use.

What started as a simple E-Trade account with business partner Rudy Cline-Thomas developed into a fully-fledged investment portfolio, including stakes in Facebook, Twitter, Tesla, and Zoom.

“I’d say we’re invested in at least 25 startups right now,” Cline-Tomas explained in the pair’s WealthSimple interview. “We don’t do clichéd investments. We’re not going to do an investment because it’s sports, or where Andre’s going to be a pitchman. I think initially everyone thought, “Oh, we’re invested in something that should be a little basketball-ish.” But those are investments that usually don’t scale. We invest in financial businesses, tech businesses, enterprise businesses. Initially, people don’t think that you understand that or that you care about that stuff. We’ve had to break that mold.”