Once the champagne bottles are popped and the excitement of signing a multi-million-dollar pro-ball contract sets in, athletes have traditionally been left to their own devices to manage their money, often when they’re fresh out of college with little or no financial literacy or expertise to back them up.

The results can be devastating. Take former NBA star Antoine Walker, who learned about the perils of lavish spending the hard way, running through the $108 million he had earned during his 12-year professional career in just two years after he retired.

“I never understood the value of a dollar,” the former Boston Celtic told the “I Am Athlete” podcast, blaming his desire to live like rapper Jay-Z for his out-of-control spending, which included legendary gambling and the purchase of homes and luxury autos. He declared bankruptcy in 2010.

He isn’t alone. A stark 78% of pro athletes go broke after just three years of retirement, according to business management firm NKSFB.

Walker, who regained his financial footing in 2013 as a TV basketball analyst, credits Edyoucore, a company that focuses on teaching financial literacy to pro athletes, with helping him hold on to and grow his wealth this time around.

The brainchild of former veteran Morgan Stanley advisor Drew Hawkins, Edyoucore works at the team level to coach new players at the start of their first year so they can avoid Walker's missteps, including overspending and investment mistakes.  

Hawkins, who launched and ran Morgan Stanley's global sports and entertainment division during his three decades at the firm, said his experience made him realize how much financial trouble professional athletes get into due to their lack of basic financial savvy. 

“Pro athletes squander billions of dollars each year. I wanted to come up with a meaningful solution to provide education we could offer to teams and individual athletes,” said Hawkins, who launched Edyoucore in 2019.

In five short years, the general managers of many NBA teams and a growing number of NFL franchises have hired Edyoucore to teach their incoming rookies and more seasoned players comprehensive financial literacy.

That includes "making their wealth outlast what can be a short pro career,” said Hawkins, whose clients include the Baltimore Ravens, the Washington Wizards, the Washington Mystics, the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Pistons, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Portland Trail Blazers.

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