When it comes to the NBA, the players themselves are among the highest-earning athletes in the world. Not only do they receive insane salaries due to the high salary cap, they also have the opportunity to sign any different endorsement deals with a range of companies, as advertising is a big deal in the NBA, with products such as clothes, food, sports drink and especially shoes hiring NBA talent to be the face of their brand.
Despite these ridiculous earnings, however, if you want to stay rich well after you've retired, you have to be smart with your money, and there are a few players in the league who live by this, maybe to a fault. Not only do they save money on unnecessary purchases, they also save every dollar they can on life's basic necessities. Here are 10 of the most frugal players in the NBA.
10. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard is one of the most humble players in the league today, a refreshing personality when it comes to the big egos of the NBA elite. That humbleness also carries over into Leonard's spending habits as well, as up until 2016, well after Kawhi had become an NBA star and even Finals MVP, the small forward was still driving a 1997 Chevy Tahoe that he had owned since high school, valued at around $5000 -- 0.03% of this $16 million contract back in 2016.
The reason for Kawhi holding onto it for so long? “It runs and it’s paid off."
Leonard thankfully has bought a Porsche since then, but it reportedly took a lot of convincing from his Spurs teammates.
9. Matt Bonner
Ever wondered where sharpshooter Matt Bonner got his 'Red Rocket' nickname from?
Yes, it partly has to do with his ginger-colored hair, but there's another reason as well, and it has to do with Matt's spending habits.
While playing for the Raptors between 2005 and 2006, Bonner used to take public transport to Raptor's home games. The nickname of Toronto's Public Transport system? Red Rocket.
8. Carmelo Anthony
With all the contracts and talk of Carmelo Anthony 'being in it only for the money', you may be surprised to see Melo on this list, but Anthony is also a frugal NBA player.
Back in 2011, while playing for the Denver Nuggets, in an interview with Denver’s CBS 4, Anthony said: “I go to the supermarket, make sure I get the newspaper and tear the coupons out; save a dollar or two.”
For a man that has earned well over $100 million over his career, that seems like a lot of effort to save a dollar or two.
7. Matt Bonner
The Red Rocket makes another appearance on this list, which means he must be one of the cheapest NBA players of all-time, and who can blame him? It's not like Bonner was demanding multi-million dollar contracts year-in and year-out, the man played in New Balances for crying out loud.
In another case of frugalness, after his move to San Antonio, Bonner needed a car to get to home games as apparently their public transport wasn't up to scratch. The big man went to extreme lengths to save money on the vehicle, making his way from Texas all the way up the east coast to New Hampshire to avoid paying Texas' sales tax on a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix. With the amount of gas he would've used on the 2000+ mile journey, it's a wonder he saved any money at all.
6. DeShawn Stevenson
Back in 2012 while playing for the Nets, Stevenson posted a picture of himself on Twitter. Pretty normal right? Well, DeShawn was standing next to an ATM inside his own house.
"What's cheap about that?" you may ask. Well, have you seen those huge ATM fees? We all know DeShawn was trying to save a few dollars by having his own personal ATM inside his home.
Stevenson explained the image by saying “I like doing things that aren’t normal and it’s cool to have," but we all know the real reason.
5. Trey Burke
Trey Burke is probably one of the most 'sensibly' cheap players on this list, as the only thing he does to save money is limit his spending to $5000 a month, which comes out to $60,000 a year. For any middle-class family, that is a reasonable budget, but when you're an NBA player making millions of dollars a year, it seems a little less reasonable.
4. Matthew Dellavedova
Matthew Dellavedova has hardly been a big earner in the NBA since he came into the league, his rookie salary only equaling a measly $650,000 a year. Because of this, you may not be surprised to find out that during his rookie campaign with the Cavs, the Aussie would go into the media room before games and eat all the free food which was out on display.
Thankfully for Delly, he is now earning almost $10 million a year with the Milwaukee Bucks.
3. John Stockton
Back when John Stockton was just a rookie in 1985, being in the NBA wasn't as profitable as it is today. Stockton was on a pretty small salary, only earning $150,000 a year based on where he was drafted. Still, Stockton was an NBA player, and they can definitely afford to not live like a squatter when they enter the league.
Being new to Utah, the assist king had to find a place to live, and found a basement apartment that was worth only $125 a month! Not only that, but Thurl Bailey, one of Stockton's teammates, had to come over and convince John to turn the heat on in January!
2. LeBron James
LeBron James has earned a lot in the NBA, like a lot. Not only does he demand $30 million contracts when he hits free agency, his lifetime deal with Nike was reportedly worth a whopping $1 billion.
Despite these earnings, LeBron is as frugal as they come in the league. For starters, when James was playing for Miami, Wade ratted on him in an interview and said that LeBron doesn't use his mobile data when out of the house, only using the internet on his phone if he has access to WiFi.
To add to that, many Cavalier teammates of James have come out and said James is too cheap to pay for Spotify premium, as when LBJ plugs his phone in the speakers in the team locker room, every song is interrupted with ads. C'mon LeBron!
1. Michael Jordan
No NBA list would be complete without the undisputed GOAT at the number one spot, and this list is no different.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated back in 2014, former MJ rival Charles Barkley described just how cheap Michael would be when out and about.
“There’s nobody cheaper than Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan,” Barkley said. “Oh yeah, [Jordan is] cheap. I always give homeless people money and he will always slap my hand [and tell me], ‘If they can ask you for spare change, they can say, ‘Welcome to McDonald’s, can I help you, please?'”
He also talked about Jordan’s tipping habits. “I think that’s why [Woods and Jordan are] rich,” Barkley quipped. “They don’t tip. That’s their secret to being rich, they don’t tip.”