DALLAS – A report conducted by www.wyattresearch.com revealed that 78 percent of National Football League players and 60 percent of National Basketball Association players filed for bankruptcy within five years after retiring from their respective sport.
Former San Antonio Spurs guard Bruce Bowen feels if those players were able to learn about financial responsibility at an earlier age, those numbers would have dwindled significantly.
In conjunction with NBA Cares and BBVA Compass Bank, Bowen was among a group of former and current NBA and WNBA players who taught some financial education to over 600 kids Thursday afternoon at Bayles Elementary School in East Dallas. The teachings, Bowen believes, could help shape the lives of those kids as they grow older.
"If those athletes had this opportunity and they make all that money, maybe they’re not making some of the decisions that they’ve made as far as, ‘You know what, this is a one-time opportunity,’ ‘’ Bowen said. "They’ll start thinking about those ‘wants’ and ‘needs,’ because here, they talk about is this something that you need right now or is that something that you want.’’
Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons, Texas Legends coach Eduardo Najera, former WNBA players Ashley Robinson, Kiesha Brown and Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Bowen and a host of representatives from BBVA Compass Bank were on hand to share their financial expertise with the kids from Bayles. All were hopeful that the two-hour stay at the school would be impactful.
"I really feel like BBVA is lights-out with this,’’ Bowen said. "They’re not just talking about, ‘Hey, let’s do something in the community.’
"They’re showing the kids how necessary it is to develop good (financial) habits early on.’’
Bowen believes those NBA and NFL players who wound up broke shortly after their playing days were over could have learned from what was taught to the Bayles kids. That’s why it was important for them to plant some seeds Thursday while giving back to the community.
"We’re not talking about kids that may have tons of money right now,’’ Bowen said. "But as they start to accumulate money, it doesn’t matter how much, but it’s the lessons that they get in it as far as ‘let me put some away.’
"Is this something that I truly need, or is it a ‘want.’ ‘’
The players and BBVA Compass Bank employees who were at Bayles on Thursday wanted to make sure they walked away after showing the children how to be smart with their money.
"I think so many times there’s people that say, ‘Oh, that kid doesn’t understand that,’ ‘’ Bowen said. "But the next thing you know, they do.
"So if we can start them out at an earlier age as far as understanding to respect money, then we don’t have so many situations where they say if a kid makes it to the NBA he’s spending frivolously because he hasn’t had an example of how to take care of things.’’