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Building a legacy, one hoop at a time
On the court, Glenn Robinson III is known for his standing vertical jumps. It’s something he’s worked on since high school when he bought special shoes that promised to give him an edge and slept with weights around his ankles.
For the former Sacramento Kings small forward and shooting guard, basketball is clearly his life’s passion. But he knew that to play his best, it’s not just what happens on the court that matters. Robinson started working with a private wealth advisor for BMO Wealth Management to help him define his goals and help manage his finances effectively.
Off the court
If the name Glenn Robinson sounds familiar, it’s because Glenn III is the oldest son of Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson Jr. Glenn Jr., former NBA All-Star who signed a 10-year, $68 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1994, a record at the time.
Glenn Jr. was busy playing for the Bucks and later the Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers and San Antonio Spurs. Because of the demands of his father’s career, Glenn III was primarily raised by his mother Shantelle Clay and grandmother in Gary, Indiana. The first time his father saw him play was in high school.
Nonetheless, father and son did forge a relationship, and basketball was a big part of it. By the time Glenn III entered the NBA, he had some ideas about how a professional basketball player should manage his money.
“I would see him drive his cars and go to his house,” he says. “I was able to learn from him, but my situation was different and I had to learn it on my own.”
Even basketball players have to budget
At the University of Michigan as a Wolverine, Robinson took a personal finance course through the school’s sports management department. Huddling in Professor Len Middleton’s office with another teammate, Robinson learned about budgeting, saving and investing.
“[Middleton] gave me a piece of paper that said, here’s how much you’ll make if you’re the 40th draft pick with a minimum contract of $580,000,” Robinson recalls. “He had me write down everything I thought I had to pay. Then he showed me what I would actually be paying, like insurance and taxes, and I didn’t have any of those things down. I realized I would only be receiving half the money I thought I would.”
As circumstance would have it, Robinson was the 40th draft pick in 2014. Instead of the million dollar-plus contract he had been dreaming of, his career started off much more modestly.
Budgeting continues to be the cornerstone of Robinson’s finances — something his private wealth advisor has helped him hone. His current budget balances his spending, which includes supporting his daughter, Ariana, and maintaining homes in Sacramento and Indianapolis.
Robinson has also had to learn bigger money lessons, like saying no to friends and family who wanted to cash in on his success.
“At the end of the day, you can’t take care of everyone,” he says. “I have a family I need to provide for.”
CEO of his own team
Robinson knows that success depends on the contributions of multiple players, and he applies the same philosophy to his money.
Along with his private wealth advisor, who oversees Robinson’s portfolio of investments, budgeting and helps him evaluate business ventures and investment opportunities, he also works with his agent, accountant and lawyer.
Though Robinson has a team of professionals to help guide him, he’s the one that ultimately makes his own decisions. “I am my own CEO,” he shares.
Free from worry
Prior to working with a private wealth advisor, money was a constant source of unnecessary concern. Bills didn’t always get paid on time and Robinson worried about making poor financial decisions. In 2019-2020 season, Robinson averaged 11.7 points in 28.8 minutes per game and shot 39.1% from the three-point line.
A lasting legacy
After playing for seven years in the NBA, Robinson is looking to the future. “You have to be really smart about how you manage your money.”
Robinson dreams of owning 300 acres in the Michigan woods where he can hunt and fish in solitude. While he’s wistful about that future, he’s not nearly as starry eyed about his desire to create a legacy. Generational wealth has often eluded Black Americans. Robinson is determined that his family will be different.
He wants to make a broader impact, too. Robinson started the Ari Foundation, named after his daughter, which stands for Angels Are Real Indeed. The nonprofit works on empowering fathers and strengthening families through events and mentorship.
Robinson is also dipping his toe into business ventures that align with his health and fitness brand. He made an investment in Human Improvement, a protein company, as well as an organic sports drink. He is also interested in commercial real estate and finding other ways to generate cash flow.
It’s all about empowerment for himself and his family.
“One of the most powerful things is passing on generational wealth, and I set out to do that,” he says. “It’s not just about my daughter, it’s about really changing my family and my community.”
Even off the court, Robinson is aware that the work he puts in now will pay off in the future. As the CEO of his team, he’s driving the vision forward. He finally has the right team in place to make it a reality.
Glenn Robinson III is a client of BMO Harris Bank N.A.
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