Andre Iguodala on Living in the Present

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Three-time NBA champion, investor and newly published author of the memoir “The Sixth Man,” Andre Iguodala covered a wide range of topics in his Talks at GS conversation with Nicole Pullen-Ross, head of the firm’s Sports and Entertainment Solutions division earlier this summer.

They touched on everything from the values his mother instilled in him, to being a black man in America; from working through crisis situations, to the prickly issue of whether or not student-athletes should get a piece of the revenue they help generate for the NCAA. 

Below, we’ve highlighted two other topics Iguodala covered: workplace environments, and athletes and finances. 

Iguodala on the importance of a good work environment

Let's go back to the summer of 2013. Iguodala was testing NBA free agency for the first time in his career. Initial talks with the Golden State Warriors were beginning. But that’s all he thought the discussions would amount to: just talk. 

It seemed the organization, after all, didn’t have the money to sign him. 

"And I said if there was any one place that I could work where I knew I would just enjoy the environment, nothing to do with money, that was the place.”

But because of the domino effect that can happen during NBA free agency – where one star player’s decision can affect a dozen subsequent free-agent decisions and transactions – Iguodala suddenly found himself with the opportunity to sign with the Warriors after all. 

But there was catch – Andre Iguodala’s contract would give him less money than he’d find elsewhere. 

For Iguodala, it ultimately came down to what he valued most from an employer.

“The one thing you want to do is enjoy working somewhere,” he said. “Like, wherever you go, you want to enjoy working there. And I said if there was any one place that I could work where I knew I would just enjoy the environment, nothing to do with money, that was the place.”  

Iguodala on finances, investing and surrounding yourself with the right people

It's a well-worn tale in sports media. After years earning an unimaginable sum of money, some athletes can go broke. 

"...it’s so easy for people to take advantage of guys who have no financial education and they have no family history of financial education."

Iguodala had heard stories about this his entire career, and he can’t help but empathize. 

“So I’ve paid attention in a lot of the meetings and all I heard was, ‘Don’t spend your money, don’t get robbed, don’t spend your money, don’t get robbed,’” he said. “And that sounds so simple but it’s so easy for people to take advantage of guys who have no financial education and they have no family history of financial education. So how do we learn something that we’ve never known?” 

The numbers are sobering. According to Ernst & Young, athletes claimed losses from fraud amounting to nearly $500 million between 2004 and 2017.

Iguodala’s answer has been to surround himself with what he says are the right people. His friend and business partner, Rudy Cline-Thomas, has been “the brains behind our operation,”  Iguodala said. It all started with a brokerage account they opened one year that made them “a lot of money” from investing in the tech sector. 

“He knew I had the wherewithal to attain information and he knew I had an interest in [it] and I can apply it to anything,” Iguodala said. “And he said, ‘We can make ourselves a lane in this tech space. You know, I told you invest and you love Apple products and you love this and that and you’re already doing it. You just continue to apply yourself more to it.’” 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.