Chris Bosh Made $239 Million in the NBA but Spent Hours as a Kid Picking Pecans for Money: ‘That Was Like Free Money Falling off the Trees’

Every superhero has an origin story, and the same goes with athletes. We all know about LeBron James and his upbringing in Akron, Ohio, or how Kobe Bryant spent time growing up in Italy. But one background tale that hasn’t received nearly as much attention is the one about Chris Bosh.

The NBA legend and two-time champ earned millions as an NBA player, but had much less than that growing up. Prior to living the high life as a hoops star, Bosh picked pecans for money.

Chris Bosh had humble beginnings before becoming an NBA star on the Raptors and Heat

Former Raptors and Heat star Chris Bosh during his Heat jersey retirement ceremony in 2019.
Former Miami Heat player Chris Bosh during his jersey retirement ceremony on March 26, 2019. | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Before he became a superstar on the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat, Chris Bosh grew up in Hutchins, Texas. He and his little brother, Joel, shared a bed until the younger Bosh was six years old.

“Humble beginnings, man,” Joel said, per NBA.com.  “We weren’t spoiled with all the … Jordans, basketball jerseys, and all of that. That just kept us realistic about working hard because we were never really given anything. Even just getting good grades, you knew you had to work for those, and all of that played a huge role in who Chris is.”

The brothers learned the value of hard work by cutting grass, and by washing their grandmother’s car for $5 and a meal.

That wasn’t the only way they made cash, though.

The 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer picked pecans as a kid

In addition to the chores above, Chris and Joel spent hours picking pecans as kids. They would then sell them at a market to make money.

“I remember my dad, he had us outside picking pecans for, like, four hours,” Chris said, per The Palm Beach Post. “He’d make us work two hours, take a 15-minute break and we had to make our own lunch, then go back out there. But the money that we got from cashing them, he let us keep.”

Chris continued: “We had pecan trees in the backyard. They were all over the place, all over Hutchins. That was like free money falling off the trees. He taught us the value of hard work.”

That work ethic translated to the basketball court for Chris as he eventually grew to 6 feet, 11 inches and became a star at Lincoln High School in Dallas. The big man then became a top NBA prospect at Georgia Tech before entering the league and earning significantly more money than he did picking pecans.

Chris Bosh earned $239 million as an NBA superstar

Chris Bosh entered the NBA in 2003 as the fourth overall pick with the Raptors. He went off the board after LeBron James (No. 1) and Carmelo Anthony (No. 3) but before Dwyane Wade (No. 5).

Bosh then quickly became a superstar for Toronto, earning an All-Star selection by his third season before making four more consecutively in the following years. In 2010-11, though, the eventual 13-year vet joined Wade and James on the Heat, where he not only continued playing at an All-Star level, but he helped lead Miami to four consecutive NBA Finals and two championships.

Bosh’s final season in the league came in 2015-16, as his career ended prematurely due to blood clot issues. But he still went out with a legendary resume that included 11 All-Star selections and a career stat line of 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

That stellar play helped Bosh eventually earn a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame 2021 class, but it also made him a wealthy man. He made around $56.34 million with the Raptors before making about $182.7 million on the Heat, which led to an estimated career earnings total of $239 million, per Spotrac. The 2006-07 All-NBA honoree is worth an estimated $110 million.

That’s a significant pay raise from what he made picking pecans and washing his grandma’s car.

Chris Bosh eventually became a wealthy NBA star who some kids likely even saw as a superhero. His origin story, though, consisted of picking pecans to not only make some money but to also teach him the hard work he needed to inherit all his powers.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference; Net Worth courtesy of Celebrity Net Worth

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