“Who Else Lives in LeBron’s (James) Community?”: Players Need to Stop Looking at Lakers Star’s Wealth as a Blueprint, Claims Controversial Former NBA Star

Published 02/06/2024, 8:00 AM EST

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When Sebastian Telfair played with LeBron James, their locker room conversations probably didn’t touch hedge funds. Now that King James is the only active NBA pro in the exclusive billionaire athletes club, his former teammate cautions against imitating him. Telfair explored all themes, including the good, bad, and the ugly during his appearance on VladTV. He also didn’t mince words about some players holding unrealistic aspirations.

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There’s not real wealth around the NBA,” Telfair, whose net worth is around $4 million, said. “Because soon as I say that someone’s gonna say they’re gonna bring up the richest dudes, they’re gonna say LeBron got a billion dollars.” 

They’re missing the point according to the former Cleveland Cavaliers player. “That’s one dude. Nobody lives in the community with him.” He’s referring to James’ sizable real estate portfolio with residences in gated communities in Ohio, Florida, and California. “Who else lives in Lebron’s community and they don’t play basketball?” 

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Like a lot of veteran NBA stars including Shaquille O’Neal and John Salley, Telfair advocates for financial literacy among the current class of NBA players. He says that most are drawn to the “perception of real wealth,” and therefore want to play in the NBA.

But about 450 players play in the league in a season and the chances of everyone reaching King James’ benchmark is very poor. As Shaq learned the hard way, salaries vary but so do state tax laws. Therefore, aspiring to be like LeBron is impractical without proper financial decisions.

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Bulls Legend explains Sebastian Telfair’s perspective

Sebastian Telfair admitted he fell prey to that mindset. He admitted on VLadTV that his decisions took a toll on his finances. VladTV followed up with Chicago Bulls legend, John Salley who also explained Telfair’s case.

Telfair was as hyped as rookie LeBron in the early ’00s. Salley says Telfair was encouraged to flaunt his NBA wealth. Telfair also said he toned down the flashy display later on. But to his point, Salley said that it becomes hard for NBA players to focus on investments when they live and breathe their sports. Saying that it’s really hard to be the best in your field like Michael Jordan and Shaq, he explained, “But you’re working really hard at being good at that, when do you have time to be good at finance?

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That’s why Telfair previously mentioned that NBA players leave most of the financial decisions to a handful of agents who manage multiple athletes. That’s why teammates don’t often discuss finances. They are like-minded in the opinion that investing as teammates has advantages. Do you agree?

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Written by:

Caroline John

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I was 7 when I saw 'Space Jam' but didn't know till the third rewatch the lead actor is actually a living basketball legend. It was while studying journalism that my friend would go on about the Warriors from Golden State. Keen on athletes' personas outside their arenas, it was Stephen Curry's confidence and philanthropy that drew me to follow the news on NBA pros and explore sports media.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph

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