Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly taken its toll on Americans and people all over the world.  

It’s certainly a scary time right now as we continue to navigate through these unchartered waters, while also continuing our efforts to flatten the curve.

With so much uncertainty out there, so many are already hurting financially around the country.

But, could this really be affecting some NBA players’ finances?

With the NBA remaining in suspension to help limit the spread of COVID-19, tough decisions about the rest of the season are being discussed, which includes a significant reduction in pay for NBA players.

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum joined former NBA player Jay Williams on the digital show The Boardroom, which is aimed at what's really changing the game. 

McCollum shared his opinions on how he believes 150 NBA players of the 450 are currently living paycheck to paycheck.  

“I would say there are some guys in the league that are hurting right now because obviously a work stoppage is in place, there could be a pay stoppage. We are on pace to lose about 23.5 percent of income of this season,” McCollum told Williams.

The median salary of an NBA player as of 2017 was $2.5 million, according to Basketball Reference, while the average salary of an NBA player was $6,936,154. 


So, some people out there may ask, but how is this possible for players to be living paycheck to paycheck?

The minimum NBA salary, in 2019-20, for a player with no prior NBA experience was eligible for an $893,310 minimum salary with the minimum set at 90 percent of the salary cap.

Obviously there’s a bit of discrepancy in the lower paid players to the highest paid, but there’s more to it than that goes into relying on the next paycheck as McCollum explained.  

I think a lot of guys are going to be hurting especially people on minimums or people that didn’t just budget correctly and didn’t expect this to happen. Maybe they loaned money or paid money to family. Maybe they’re taking care of multiple people and now there’s a work stoppage and for a lot of people in America. -- CJ McCollum said on ‘The Boardroom’   

“I would say out of 450 players… 150 probably are living paycheck to paycheck,” McCollum added.   

Between players being taxed at the highest rate and not budgeting properly while trying to live up to a certain NBA lifestyle and supporting family and friends, now facing a pay cut-- there is a lot that goes into nearly a third of the NBA living paycheck to paycheck. 

McCollum has long talked about investing and having a back-up plan. 

“I have been strategically investing,” McCollum said. “Diversifying my portfolio. Learning more about other ventures and things of interest to where I am stable even though the market has been terrible. I’ve diversified enough where it doesn’t really hurt me. Other people need to be forward thinkers. Not just basketball players. Not just people in the sports world. But people in general. Life happens fast. You have to have a Plan B, a backup plan and really figure out a way to have different avenues of income and just avenues of happiness. That is what is really important, being at peace and having that happiness.”