While NBA players may seem like superheroes on the court, they’re real people with real lives away from the hardwood. Trevor Ariza is currently reminding sports fans of that reality. While the Portland Trail Blazers forward is making more than $6 million this year, he won’t be heading to Orlando for the conclusion of the NBA season.
Rather than joining up with his teammates and trying to sneak into the playoffs, Ariza will be spending time with his son. Some things are more important than a paycheck, no matter how big it might be.
Trevor Ariza’s NBA career
While the NBA may be a star-driven league, there’s always room for a quality role player. During his basketball career, Trevor Ariza has been exactly that.
Ariza made a name for himself as a high school player in Los Angeles and committed to UCLA. He spent one season with the Bruins, averaging 11.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per outing before entering into the 2004 NBA draft. The New York Knicks ended up selecting the forward in the second round.
Ariza only spent a season and a half in the Big Apple, though, before being shipped to the Orlando Magic as part of a package deal for Steve Francis. After 89 games in Florida, the forward found himself on the move again, this time heading to Los Angeles; he joined the Lakers and won an NBA title during his time in Hollywood.
Ariza hit free agency in the summer of 2009 and inked a sizable contract with the Houston Rockets. He didn’t last long in Texas, though, and spent time with the Hornets and Wizards before rejoining the Rockets. He’s since continued to bounce around the league, suiting up for the Suns, Wizards, Kings, and Trail Blazers.
Earning a nice salary as an NBA role player
While it’s tempting to look at that track record and write Trevor Ariza off as a journeyman, he’s a solid NBA role player. That might not sound as impressive as being a perennial all-star, but it’s still an essential job.
During the forward’s 16 professional seasons, he’s averaged 10.5 points, 4,8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per outing. “His role on the team was similar to the one Shane Battier had on the Rockets last season,” Vikram Dimba wrote for Bleacher Report in 2009. “To play defense, make highly intelligent plays, and knock down open jumpers from dribble penetration.”
That reality has also helped make Ariza a wealthy man. According to Spotrac’s financial data, the forward has earned more than $100 million during his time in the pros, including a $6.2 million salary this season. CelebrityNetWorth also estimates his fortune at approximately $20 million.
Trevor Ariza is leaving at least $1 million on the table to see his son
As things currently stand, the NBA season is set to restart at the end of July. While the Portland Trail Blazers will be in Florida trying to secure a playoff berth, Trevor Ariza won’t be joining up with his squad.
As reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Blazers forward has something more important to worry about: being a dad. “Ariza, a starter, has been involved in a custody case over his 12-year-old son, and the mother’s decision to grant a court-ordered, one-month visitation period during the league’s quarantine of teams in Orlando, Florida, led Ariza to choose his parenting responsibilities over competing with the Blazers in the 22-team restart,” Woj’s story explained.
That decision, however, will come at a literal price. As previously reported by Ramona Shelburne and Wojnarowski on ESPN.com, players who don’t report for the restart “will not be penalized by teams, but they will lose payment on games missed.” The insider estimates that Ariza could lose between $1 and $1.8 million in salary, depending on if the Blazers make the playoffs or not.
In the world of pro sports, it’s easy to criticize players, whether rightly or wrongly, for only caring about their bottom line. Trevor Ariza, however, will be doing the opposite this summer.