Irrational confidence is something that all pro athletes have, as it’s a necessity for anyone that makes it to that level of play. But, sometimes, “betting on yourself” can lead to bankruptcy — just ask Latrell Sprewell.
The free agency period has made me think about Sprewell, as I’ve watched Dennis Schröder’s situation play out, while Terry Rozier just signed a deal close to what Schröder reportedly turned down.
Here’s how it’s all connected.
In 2004, Sprewell was making $14.6 million on the last year of his deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The team tried to re-sign him on a three-year, $21 million contract. Sprewell scoffed at the deal and thought he was worth more. He wanted to bet on himself and “feed his family.”
“Why would I want to help them win a title? They’re not doing anything for me. I’m at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I got my family to feed. Anything could happen,” he infamously said.
Despite being a four-time All-Star and one of the best guards of the 90s, Sprewell’s play is often overlooked due to two notorious incidents. The first being the quote about feeding his family — as that season wound up being his last in the league before financial troubles derailed his life after basketball. The second was when he choked his former coach, P.J. Carlesimo, during practice.
The two incidents became a lesson for athletes. Don’t choke out your coach, and don’t miss out on millions.
Schröder didn’t get the full memo.
According to reports, last season the former Lakers point guard turned down a four-year, $84 million deal from the team. Rumors swirled that Schröder was looking to “bet on himself” and cash in on a deal that was somewhere between $100 to $120 million. Schröder wound up missing time late in the season after contracting Covid and didn’t play well down the stretch in the playoffs. It was clear his value had dropped, but we didn’t know just how much until free agency started
Last week, Schröder signed a one-year deal with the Celtics for $5.9 million – $15.1 million less than his yearly salary would have been if he took the deal from the Lakers.
On Thursday, Hornets point guard Terry Rozier – who many would say is on the same level as Schröder – agreed to a deal to stay in Charlotte that was almost similar to the one that Schröder turned down in Los Angeles, as Rozier will get $97 million over the next four years.
Somebody needs to check on Schröder.
History always finds a way to repeat itself. We’ve seen that, as Dennis Schröder didn’t learn from Latrell Sprewell, only to watch Terry Rozier cash in on the kind of money that could have been his.
There’s a lesson here, kids.
Just because you think you’re worth something, it doesn’t actually mean that it’s true. And, oh yeah, listen to your agent.