The NBA lockout is sure to have an effect on all of the players, but none will probably feel it more than the rookies who were drafted in June.
Veteran players have the luxury of tightening the belt and relying on the savings they have hopefully built over the years. NBA rookies haven’t collected their first paychecks and aren’t eligible to be paid during the work stoppage.
So for players like Reggie Jackson, the 24th pick of the Oklahoma City Thunder, securing a loan and living modestly will have to do for now, as there is no clear end in sight for the month-old lockout.
“I'm trying to pay back as little as I can and just get through the times right now,” Jackson said to the Oklahoman.
“I've grown up not being super wealthy,” he said. “I went to college being broke and found a way to manage through that. So I'm just getting by. Basketball's never been about money and never will be. I'm living comfortably enough to where I'm satisfied. But I'm also not out there buying a big house and a big car. I'm not trying to do that. I'm OK with settling for less fancy things.”
Jackson, a point guard out of Boston College, is living in a modest apartment in Los Angeles and driving a rental car.
But some rookies probably have a little more room to splurge despite not collecting an NBA paycheck yet. Often agents, family members or close friends can secure substantial loans for high draft picks, but even those come with risks.
The greatest risk right now is the uncertainty of how long the lockout could last. There is always the chance the differences can be worked out in the off-season, but there is a belief that the differences between the NBA owners and players this time around are so great that the entire 2011-12 season could be lost. That could be devastating financially for players like Jackson.
So far, Jackson has been able to turn to veterans Trevor Ariza and Danny Granger for support, while he has also been in touch with some of the other rookies, according to the Oklahoman story.
“It's something different,” he said to the Oklahoman. “For a lot of us, it's our first lockout. But they're helping me through the experience. It's tough, but it's life, so I understand.”
(Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)