You might assume the world of the football star is glamorous and flowing in Gs, but in reality a lot of these athletes end up in just as much bad shape as the regular students who end up having to pay off six-figure loans. Why? Because a lot more people are ready to prey upon the unsuspecting young and naive high school stud and offer them free stuff like cars and houses...only to realize that there's money that needs to be paid back at the end of the line.
DeSean Jackson was nearly one of those who got suckered in. He didn't have a car before arriving to Cal, and one seedy character in his hometown at Long Beach was happy to give up his car for free. But thankfully, his parents understood the perils of such investment, and went and talked to the right people. NFL legend Jim Brown was more than happy to talk to them and inform DeSean of what he would be getting into. Tim McManus of the Philly Sports Daily has more on the story.
According to Ladge, Brown told Jackson: "OK you can take the car if you want it, but you’ve got to think – if it is ever found out that the car was bought with drug money, are you willing to throw away your college career over a vehicle?"
Jackson ended up riding his bicycle around Berkeley that fall.
"It was hard growing up in a gang-proven town and it was even harder to stay away from that environment," said Jackson. "It was more difficult to make it to the NFL. Lucky for me I had a strong mom and dad to keep me grounded and focused. I’m successful because I was able to stay away from that environment and work hard to make my dreams come true."
Jackson was able to make it out of Cal clean and debt free. And even without the big pay day to date, he is more than comfortable financially thanks in large part to the guidance of Ladge and Compass Management (More on them later).
Keep stories like this in mind the next time you judge a pro athlete for being in financial trouble. With a potential lockout looming, you could see more and more stories like this one pop up, and they won't go as favorably as Jackson's.