Chris Paul: NBA Players Don't Talk Money in Locker Rooms, It's 'Uncomfortable'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 10: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets looks on prior to a game against the Golden State Warriors before Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 10, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

The tradability, or lack thereof, of Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul, based on his contract, has been a major point of conversation this offseason.

The 34-year-old is set to make a total of $124 million over the next three seasons, a huge number that may be tough for the Thunder to trade this year without giving up significant assets in return.

One place that conversation likely won't be happening, however, is in locker rooms around the NBA. As Paul told Clevis Murray of The Athletic, players don't routinely talk finances in that setting:

"I think the reason why I'm so passionate about this is because I'm finishing up my 14th year in the NBA, and I've been around long enough to realize that guys in our league, we talk about everything in the locker room except for finance, except for money. Nobody talks about money, because it's one of those uncomfortable things."

That makes sense. It might be a bit awkward for someone like Paul, who is set to make $35.6 million this season, to discuss his financial situation with Hamidou Diallo, who is making $1.4 million this year. The two would naturally have different perspectives on finances.

But Paul is hoping to change that dynamic within the locker room, primarily to help educate younger players about how to manage their finances and therefore prevent more cautionary tales of athletes who went broke after their playing careers.

Even helping young players understand the various responsibilities and financial commitments that come with being an adult is important to Paul:

"I've heard so many stories. That's why I try to talk to guys because it happens. This is a short career. In the grand scheme of life, this is a short career. You try to maximize it as much as possible. There's the rookie transition program and all these different people that try and help you. But when you come in the NBA at 18 years old, you're just thinking about basketball, basketball, basketball. You don't even understand what health insurance is."

One idea Paul has advocated for is having team governors speak to the players about finances, since those governors have acquired the wealth needed to purchase an NBA team. While he was with the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer took Paul up on his idea.

"I'll tell you one thing, when Ballmer sat down there, everyone was all ears," he told Murray. "My hope is that's something we can keep implementing in our league and just try to continue that dialogue. I think guys would definitely listen to the owners and CEOs of their teams who've dealt with that type of money."

Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, has a net worth of around $50.4 billion. His voice will carry weight for players when it comes to finances. But for Paul, getting those same players to discuss finances and help one another to avoid the pitfalls of bad business decisions or exploitative financial advisors is an important step as well.

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