Hustle Mindset

Former NBA Player Jalen Rose Reveals How He Spent His Rookie Check — ‘Almost Everyone Spends It All’


For players who come from humble beginnings, earning big bucks in the NBA can be accompanied with financial shock that ultimately leads to tough lessons. This was the case for former basketball player Jalen Rose, who splurged with his rookie check.

Growing up, Rose lived in the west side of Detroit, MI, with four siblings, who were supported by a single parent.

“I knew that we needed each dime, each nickel, each penny to survive,” Rose said during an interview for UNINTERRUPTED’s “Kneading Dough.”

Rose credits sports for giving him direction in life.

In college, he played for the Michigan Wolverines from 1991 to 1994. He was a part of the University of Michigan’s iconic “Fab 5” which also included Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson.


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Rose was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1994, and received $2.2 million in salary during his first two years playing in the league. His focus at this time was to “lift” his family and give back to his community.

“I wanted to take care of my mother,” Rose explained during “Kneading Dough.” “The other thing I wanted to do is I wanted to move out of the hood. I was like, if I get a chance, like I’m gonna lift my family, I’m gonna change the dynamic. I’m gonna change the game. Like I’m gonna leave the hood and be able to give back to it.”

Rose also admits he was looking to elevate his appearance.

He added, “The other thing is I wanted to be fresh. Of course, people used to be teasing me. You go to school with patches in your pants, holes in your socks. Those were my main things that motivated me more than actually the love of the game and chasing my dream, of course, and all of that type of stuff.”

Rose wasn’t taught financial literacy during his upbringing. So, his entry into the league led to him blowing through his rookie checks, spending on what he calls “stupid motivations.”

“Your first contract, you spend it all,” Rose told CNBC Make It. “Almost everyone spends it all.”

Rose recollects cutting into his earnings to purchase a $15,000 luxury Vertu phone. According to the product’s website, each phone comes with 24/7 butler service and is handmade in England by a single craftsman, boasting “the finest materials” such as sapphire crystals.

Rose was attracted to the design as well as the benefits of concierge service.

However, the conventions of the phone, which may sound impressive, were never put to use by Rose.

“I paid $15,000 for a phone that I never used,” he said, according to CNBC Make It. “That’s a dumb purchase.”

He also used some of his earnings to support his family.

“Let me tell you the responsible part about buying things for the first time,” Rose detailed in the “Kneading Dough” interview. “You’re trying to take care of your mom that did so much for you, your siblings trying to help them out, trying to help out your family and friends because it’s one thing for you to be paid, but it don’t mean as much if everybody else broke.”

By his second contract, Rose had learned from the mistakes of his initial year. Understanding he was the breadwinner of his family, he wanted to be more financially responsible.

“I remember thinking, when I get this, I ain’t giving nobody nothing,” Rose said.

He added that he was saving his money “to change the dynamics of my family, to try to have a legacy of me growing up in the city and my kids growing up in the suburbs.”

Rose earned more than $100 million during his NBA career, according to data from Spotrac.

Today, he has has a net worth valued at $50 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.

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