Michael Carter-Williams is proving he’s not your average NBA rookie on and off the court. He holds the top spot on the NBA’s Rookie Ladder, won the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Award for November, and has placed his salary from the Philadelphia 76ers in a trust.
The entire salary. Carter-Williams, commonly known as MCW, is only 22 years old. He will earn $4.5 million over his first two seasons with the Sixers, who selected him as the eleventh overall pick of the 2013 draft. If he stays with the Sixers in the final two years of his contract, he’ll make $10 million for his first four NBA seasons. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the trust, being managed by MCW’s mother, Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, and her best friend, Tracie Tracy. He cannot touch the money in the trust for three years. Instead, he is living off endorsements from Nike and Panini trading cards.
During the 2013-2014 season, the average salary of NBA players is $4.25 million, the median is $2.39 million. The players are praised for their physical prowess, but rarely lauded for fiscal awareness. In 2009, Sports Illustrated discussed how, and why, professional athletes end up blowing through their earnings. It estimated that within five years of an NBA career ending, 60 percent of players are broke. ESPN picked up the thread of the story in Broke as part of its 30 for 30 series. After years of living a flashy lifestyle, players are confronted with cold, hard, economic truths. They have medical bills and free-loaders to contend with. Suddenly, the money appears to evaporate.
Carter-Williams’ choice is unusual. Not only because he is removing temptation by putting his money in a trust, but because of his parents helping him establish the trust. Kelly Phillips Erb, an attorney and tax expert told ABC that when anyone is not longer a minor, “it’s difficult for your parents to control your wealth. It’s not theirs. It’s his, no matter the intentions or if he’s living in their house.”
Carter-Zegarowski provided the outlet with a statement on the trust. She explained that the family wants to help Carter-Williams so that he has financial stability in the future. ”Right now, the focus is not only to save as much as possible, but also to use his unique position to serve as a role model and give back to the communities that continue to support him and his career.” The 6-6 point guard could always earn more in endorsements as well, especially if he continues to play at the level he started his career at. In his first game against the Miami Heat, he helped the Sixers win 114-110. He had 22 points, 12 assists, and nine steals. Former players took notice.
I just got done watching the guy I think will be the Rookie of The Year, Michael Carter-Williams of the 76ers.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) October 31, 2013
More recently, he posted historic stats in the Sixers 126-125 win over the Orlando Magic. During the game he and his fellow rookie player Victor Oladipo each reached a triple-double. The NBA says this is the first time opposing rookies have had triple-doubles. ”Clearly, there’s a competitive side to it,” MCW said, describing the rookie face-off. “But this is a team game. It’s not me versus Oladipo. It’s Sixers versus Orlando.