Travis Kelce did more than $70 million throughout his National Football League career, but he still remembers spending his first paycheck.
“I had my eye on a pair of Nike Air MAG ‘Marty McFlys’ in size 13 – the coolest shoes I’ve ever seen in my life,” Kelce said in his weekly New Heights Podcast in May. “As soon as I received my check, I immediately went online and got them.”
Kelce says he spent around $10,000 on the limited-edition sneakers, which are replicas of the futuristic shoes worn by Michael J. Fox in “Back to the Future Part II.” Only 1,500 Couples were ever released.
“I’ve always been a big Nike guy and then, you know, watching ‘Back to the Future’ so many times – damn, that was sweet,” Kelce said on the podcast, co-hosted with his brother and Philadelphia Eagles -Center Jason Kelce.
As today, the sneakers proved to be a good investment typically sell for $20,000 to $30,000 on reseller and auction websites.
Still, Kelce said he was reckless with money in his rookie year. “I spent way too much money in clubs and avoided the landlady,” he said. All he can show in his first season as a pro are “some of my favorite shoes.”
It wasn’t like that for long. After a five-year, $46 million contract extension in 2016, Kelce signed another four-year contract extension in 2020. worth just over $57 million. He also earns an estimated $3 million per year outside of football. Forbes reports. As of fall 2023, Kelce has an estimated net worth of $30 million. according to Insider.
Kelce isn’t the only athlete who remembers his first big payday. Here’s a look at how other top athletes spent their first paychecks.
Shaquille O’Neal bought cars for his parents
When he was 20, Shaquille O’Neal blew $1 million within hours of receiving a check for his first million-dollar trading card deal.
He bought a $150,000 Mercedes-Benz for himself, then another for his father, followed by a smaller $100,000 Mercedes-Benz for his mother. The rest of the money went toward paying off his mother’s house and doing “what all homeboys do – buying rings, diamonds, earrings and this and that.” he told Business Insider in 2017.
At the time, he didn’t really understand how taxes worked, and he didn’t carefully track how much he was spending. A bank manager had to tell him that he was about $50,000 “in the hole.”
“After that I said, ‘You know what? I need a general manager,” O’Neal said.
Klay Thompson splurged at a pool table
Klay Thompson, National Basketball Association champion currently earns $43.2 million per yearbut when he entered the league in 2011, his first paycheck was $35,000.
The first thing he bought: a pool table. “I still do to this day,” Thompson said.
Thompson said his “taste wasn’t that extravagant,” although he made “mistakes” with his money during his rookie season — including buying a closet full of clothes he never wore.
“It’s not that the money made me happier,” he told Carter. During his freshman year at Washington State University, he lived a “great life” on a scholarship of $1,100 per month.
“I could get as much Taco Del Mar as I wanted. I could go to Target and have a field day,” he told Carter. Later in his career, Thompson took off an organisation to support children in the United States and the Bahamas through fitness and education.
Ultimately, “wealth is a state of mind,” he said. “When you have relationships and experiences around you, they are invaluable. This is better than any car or big house you can get.”
Serena Williams put her first paycheck into savings
Tennis star Serena Williams didn’t actually spend her first paycheck.
“I never touched it [the money] — just put it on the bench,” she told Carter on an episode of Uninterrupted “Knead dough.” “I remember walking through the drive-thru to deposit my check and then they said, ‘I think you have to come by for that.'”
She said she always played for the love of the game, to the point that she forgot to collect the paychecks she earned from tournaments.
“When I first turned pro, you had to pick up your check,” Williams told Carter. “I never, ever picked it up, so at the end of the year the tournament directors literally handed me the check because I was never going to pick it up.”
Williams said she never felt broke growing up. That’s why she never felt the need to spend money when she started making money as a professional tennis player.
This attitude has paid off. Williams retired from tennis in 2022 but has an estimated net worth of $290 million. according to Forbes.
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