Audio Description

At 19 years old, NBA star Brandan Wright received his first professional contract. How did he handle the influx of money, grow his wealth, and use his platform to start a foundation?


00:09 - 00:40

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the Big Stage podcast, where we talk to athletes, artists, and entertainers of all kinds about their lives. I'm your host, Adam Sansiveri, Bernstein Managing Director and Co-head of Sports and Entertainment. Did you know that every year 10,000 high school and college basketball players hope to be drafted into the NBA, but the stats show that only 0.3% will ever make it? Let me put that into perspective for you. That means out of 10,000 athletes, only three will ever walk on to an NBA court.

00:41 - 01:15

Well, our guest today was in that 0.3%. And his name is Brandan Wright. He was the eighth overall NBA pick in 2007 and went on to play for 12 years for teams like the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and others. Last but certainly not least, he is a proud fellow Nashville native. Also joining me today is Bernstein associate, former junior economist to the White House, and close friend of Brandan's Blake Connolly. Brandon, Blake, thanks so much for joining me today on the Big Stage. Thanks for having us.

01:15 - 01:25

Excited. So it sounds like the start of a good joke. An economist and a basketball player walk into a bar. One could say it's an odd combination.

01:25 - 01:55

But, Blake, why don't you tell us how you guys met? So Drake actually has a famous line about sports and music being synonymous because athletes want to be rappers and rappers want to be athletes. I'm not sure the same holds for economists and athletes, but there's a little more overlap than you may think, especially with the emergence of big data and statistics in sports. But specifically to us, how we met. It was about five years ago through one of my good friends in high school who happens to be Brandan's brother-in-law.

01:55 - 02:08

We ultimately bonded over our irrational love for sports and specifically fantasy football. I love it. Tell us a little bit about your time at the White House and how you went from the Hill to working in the world of sports and entertainment. Yeah.

02:08 - 02:34

So as you mentioned, I was previously a research economist at the Council of Economic Advisors, which is a group within the White House that's tasked with providing the president with objective analysis on a wide variety of public policies. Now, while this role wasn't at all directly involved with sports outside of a small project we did on the Olympics, it really contained a lot of the things that I love about sports, and that's the statistics and the data aspect. So there's a natural sort of love there.

02:35 - 02:58

And then after joining Bernstein and realizing that my managing director, you, who was the head of the Sports Entertainment Group, I knew it was going to be a perfect fit. So I'm excited to work with all of the entertainers and athletes that we have as clients. And it's a perfect match because it's something I have always loved and find, as someone who is not a professional athlete, find just all-inspiring.

02:59 - 03:04

I thought you were the basketball player here, Blake. I'm not the seven footer.

03:04 - 03:29

I'm maybe only a shade past five. So, Brandon, I want to ask you, when you hear that statistic that I mentioned a few minutes ago, 0.3%, and even though now it's, of course, years later, what comes to mind to you? Oh, I mean, it's kind of reality, because I've had so many guys I grew up with and even guys that I play with, younger in my career, they just come and go.

03:29 - 04:04

They just wash out. So for me to have a 12-year career and still have an aspiration to continue to play once I get over these injuries is just a blessing in disguise. I mean, a lot of guys, they work really, really hard, but everyone doesn't have the same opportunities to go farther in their careers. And, you know, I'm just, just one of the few to make it through and stick around. And that's why you got to be really, really smart with your money. And when you do get the opportunity, us athletes, we make so much money in such a short amount of time in our careers. It's only a small piece of our lives, you know, and we retire.

04:04 - 04:30

We're still young men, so we have to do something with it. But we're definitely going to get into that specific topic in a minute. But I'm curious what it was in your mind that really caused you to have that success, right. You were a high school All-American, clearly one of the best players in the country. But you can tell our listeners, if you can, what set you apart from all the other All-Americans and thousands of great athletes that didn't realize their NBA dreams.

04:30 - 04:46

I mean, as simple as hard work and dedication and, you know, people believing in you, you know, you giving them the opportunity to believe in you always is a huge obstacle and overcoming what you need to overcome and get to where you want to go.

04:46 - 05:17

But to take it back, you know, I was about 13, 14 years old, and I went out to Santa Barbara, California, and participated in the Michael Jordan camp. You know, he has a camp where he invites all the top college and a select few high school prospects out to work as camp, and we work to camp and at night and in the morning we work out. And I'm working out with these guys that, you know, at the time, you know, I'm watching them on TV, ESPN, Fox, whatever.

05:18 - 05:42

I see these guys play, you know, I'm playing against these guys. I'm working out with these guys. They are encouraging me. They're telling me, oh, you definitely going to be a big time player in a couple of years. So that kind of gave me a little confidence. Lo and behold, a lot of those guys that were in that camp with me, they ended up being first round picks. So that's, that kind of gave me like a big jolt of confidence that I know I was going to be successful and had opportunities to do big things. That's great.

05:42 - 06:16

You know, I wasn't going to ask you this question, but since you brought up Michael Jordan, what did you think of The Last Dance? I haven't watched the whole thing yet. I kind of want to record, I kind of wanted to be separated from all the hoopla and Twitter and the back and forth. To digest everything on your own and not be impacted by media and stuff like that. Yeah, yeah. I kind of want to binge it, like, I've started the first two. I haven't finished second one yet, but I want to watch it all the way through so I can just digest. But now I know all those stories mostly. You just relive it again. You know, I was a young, a young boy at the time

06:16 - 06:40

all this stuff was going on. You know, I know most of these stories, just being a professional athlete and having no close ties and knowing guys that really know Mike really, really well. I was going to North Carolina. So some of the stuff was redundant, but some of the stuff was really cool. I think it really show people how dedicated he was to winning and what he was willing to do to actually win. You know, and, you know, some people didn't like it, but, you know, it's just the way it is. Yeah.

06:40 - 07:12

It's a very interesting perspective that you'll have after watching it that the rest of us perhaps don't. So I'll have to follow up with you after you finish it. So getting back to the comment you made about the very big and maybe sporadic lump sum payments that athletes can make, I want to ask you both a question on this topic. So, Blake, for the athletes that succeed in turning their career earnings into lifetime earnings or transition successfully into a second career, as many do, what commonalities or key decisions are you seeing them make?

07:13 - 07:24

Yeah, that's a very good question. And the point within the question that I want to focus on is that there are commonalities between those that are really successful within their first and second career as a transition.

07:25 - 07:51

The first and perhaps most important thing is to start investing early. We're all familiar with the positive effects that compounding returns can have on a portfolio. And like Brandan mentioned earlier, a lot of these athletes are really young when they come into this first lump sum of money in their twenties. And even when they do retire, it's not past maybe thirty-five unless you're Tom Brady and play till you're fifty. But being able to invest early and let those earnings grow.

07:51 - 08:12

And part of the process is robust planning and setting goals and meeting those goals based on what you're spending needs are, how much money you plan to make over your career, what you plan to do after your career, etc. And then the second thing, and this should actually feel pretty natural to most athletes, is, is building a team around them, like, that's what they've done their entire career.

08:12 - 08:42

Basically, everyone knows their role. It's not enough to have one person, whether it be a business manager, advisor, agent, do everything. And this is something that we really focus here on at Bernstein. It's having mentors and those that can help with the transition out of the league. Yeah, thanks, Blake. I agree with you. I think the players that have that ecosystem around them are the ones that really thrive. So Brandan, kind of the same question. And also just really how you thought about those big earnings as a young player.

08:42 - 08:58

And did your view of money change as your career went on? You know, I'm nineteen years old and now I get a huge advance. I get a six-figure advance. That's the most money I ever seen on a piece of paper in my life. That was kind of crazy, especially my first contract, which was four years.

08:58 - 09:19

My goal was to not spend anything and I really didn't spend any money at all. Unfortunately, I was in California, so I was getting hit with that fifty two percent off top. So but I really spent like no money in my first four years of my career in that kind of spring- boarded me to, you know, have opportunities to invest more.

09:19 - 09:50

And I could get into more things and made more money, you know, and it's put me in a position where I'm at right now. But I was so, I was pretty cheap, from like age 19, till about 24. I really didn't spend much money at all outside of my living situation, food and just stuff that had to do with basketball. Well, that's to me surprising in the sense that it's probably the opposite of what you usually hear in stories. So where did that come from? I mean, was that something your parents taught you or did you figure it out yourself? You know, and it kind of goes back to the career thing.

09:50 - 10:24

You know, I was kind of scared that I could be one contract and done. You know, you never know if you get hurt. You know, maybe you're not good enough. Like I said, you know, fortunately, I was, I've been able to play for 12 years, but, you know, that was kind of my thinking, like, OK, this, if I only get these four years, I got to maximize, I got to maximize my savings and have something to show for it, if this is it, or if I get an injury or get hurt. You know, that was kind of my thinking as far as save as much as I can and, you know, just put away a good amount and springboard myself into being a young man.

10:24 - 10:45

You know, I go into my second contract. I'm 23 years old. You know, we did have a lockout around that time. So that kind of, that kind of hurt guys a little bit as far as earnings. So, you know, guys will prepare. Most guys were prepared. And we have some sad stories about how guys weren't prepared for that and how they lost a lot of money and how they were living kind of check to check.

10:45 - 11:18

But I wasn't in that situation. So I've got a question then. Being a rookie and going into your first deal and being around veterans that make, you know, maybe five times as much as you or etc., how does that make you feel in the locker room and hanging out with them? Because it's got to be a little bit daunting to be around guys that may not be saving as much money as you and are spending a lot of money when you're trying to save and going out and do things. Yeah, I mean, it can be tough on, you know, it can be tough on a young guy. You can be persuaded pretty easy.

11:18 - 11:52

You know, you want to go get two or three cars, whatever. You can afford it, you can do it. But, you know, I bought a car my rookie year and I kept that car for six years. Wow. That's kind of my, my high hosrror tory as far as like, you know, staying strong. Almost bought a car at my fourth year, but I waited two more years and then switch cars, but that's kind of my high horror story. But, you know, it can be tough, man, but I had a lot of good vets around me, veteran NBA players that, you know, told me, you'll be fine, save your money right now. You'll make more money eventually.

11:52 - 12:25

Your time is coming. This is out. It's what everyone goes through. You know, you've got to be smart about it. The big paydays are coming. Yeah. So did that mentality and thinking ever change or do you feel like you still keep that mentality today? Nah, I definitely keep that mentality today. You know, priorities are different though. So maybe now three daughters so priority is a little bit different. You know, you want to put a little bit more money into the home, you know, make sure the girls are taken care of. So naturally, you spend a little bit more. You have a family instead of only worrying about one person, I'm worried about five now.

12:25 - 12:46

So expenses go up. But like I said, those first four years, those first six years really prepared me for where I'm at right now. And you got to make sure that they have a nice, nice nanny and tutor, high school teacher, all the essentials. My wife, Adam. Yeah, it's an inside joke. They're listeners.

12:47 - 13:18

So, Brandan, the thing about your career that I think is amazing is that it's almost three times as long as the average career, once again beating the odds, right. So did you ever consider the fact that your career might only last that 5 years, 4.8 year average, or was there a sense of invincibility when you started at that young age? I mean, you always have those doubts, especially when you're young and you don't know what's going on. You don't know what to expect.

13:18 - 13:44

Now, I got drafted on a team that was that was already pretty good, that was traded to Golden State and they were coming off of a playoff season. So my first year, I really didn't play that much until like around game 45-50, and started to play well, then I had some injuries, which kind of set them back a little bit and then that kind of hurt my second contract a little bit. And when I got to Dallas, that's when I really took off in my career and able to get better contracts and stuff like that.

13:44 - 14:14

But, you know, I was still young at the time. When I got to Dallas, I was 23 years old. You know, I was still a young guy. I was still... You were one and done at UNC. So you were, what, 19 when you entered the league? Yeah, I played one year in North Carolina. Got drafted at 19 years old. You know, all this money, you know, the Nike contract, NBA contract, all this stuff going on, now you get, you get hit in the face with it, but at the same time you got to take a deep breath and tell yourself that, you know, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

14:14 - 14:40

Let's make the best of it. You mentioned that, you know, you were obviously a saver and pretty conservative. But I'm curious if there was something fun or special that you did with that first NBA paycheck besides save it all? Oh, I don't have a story like that. And a lot of people ask me that. I wasn't, I really didn't go out and get anything, or give my parents anything, they told me to save my money.

14:40 - 14:53

But first, my first contract, I was probably more into, like, Apple products and stuff like that. That was probably my biggest expenses, you know. Which one? You know, compared to what we were making, it wasn't, you know, huge expenses.

14:53 - 15:18

But that was kind of my advice at the time. I'll go get a new computer or a new iPad or whatever. Was the iPhone even out there? The iPhone came out that summer when I got drafted. No, seriously, it did. Yeah, that is. So I got drafted. I went through the whole process. I'm doing all these team workouts, all the stuff like that. And then I get home to take a break. I got like a month left before I got to go back to Oakland to get ready for training camp.

15:18 - 15:37

And I just go up to AT&T and buy me an Apple... that was my first Apple iPhone, that was my storyboard. And still to this day, Apple, I think, takes a piece of all of our earnings. So, yeah, let's fast forward to today. So all these years later, have you been planning for a transition out of basketball? Yeah, it's a couple of things I'm working on.

15:37 - 15:45

I can't really speak about it, to be honest. I wish I could disclose it. But the biggest thing I got going on is my foundation. It's called Team Brandan, right.

15:45 - 16:20

We have girls basketball, which is our focus. It's girls basketball. And the reason why I chose girls basketball is, a lot of people ask me this and why didn't I do boys basketball? Because the resources on both sides are not the same. Men's basketball programs, they have huge budgets. You know, they're able to travel where they need to go. There's no you know, they can go overseas and recruit a guy they need to. With women is a little bit different. And you want to get these young girls the opportunity to be showcased. So, you know, we started this program.

16:20 - 16:53

You know, we go around the country to these big tournaments and the goal is to get these girls scholarships. Get these girls in school, whether's D1, D2, D3, NAIA, whatever. We want to get these girls in school and give them the opportunity to get a free education because everyone knows about college, that is no good. You don't want that, leaving, graduating college. You know, so our goal is to get these girls in school, give them the opportunity to do something they love and get a free education. And whatever happens after that, they've been put in a great position to succeed. That's great.

16:53 - 17:13

So where can people go to learn more and get involved with team Brandan Wright? We just go on Twitter and that's the handle—Team Brandan Wright, we have our Instagram also. That's like the new thing these days. I don't really, I don't really run the accounts. My senior manager guy, he kind of runs them, but that's the way to get in contact with people these days.

17:13 - 17:43

But we had a lot of partnerships with a lot of local places. You know, we had Chick-fil-A partnership, Dick's Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, a couple of small companies that you wouldn't know of, that have donated to our program, Essential Water, a lot of teaming up and a lot of things to provide for our foundation. And so it helps to see the girls grow and, you know, we actually give them back also, as far as like, we'll go to Boys and Girls clubs and participate in learning seminars. We're doing a lot of big things with Microsoft right now.

17:43 - 17:49

I mean, it's growing every day. And, you know, we're excited. You know, we just want to see where this thing goes, you know. That's wonderful.

17:49 - 18:22

I mean, the philanthropic nature of many of the guests that we have on this show is one of the most inspiring things that we get to talk about. So I appreciate you sharing that. I'm going to definitely check it out and look more into the work you're doing. But it's also one of the things that inspires me about this city that we both call home. You're originally from Nashville, is that correct? Yeah. I am. Yeah, that's great. You know, you've played basketball all over the country and you, of course, made the great decision to move back to Nashville beyond it being the IT city right now.

18:22 - 18:26

It's also the new home of AllianceBernstein’s new headquarters, global headquarters.

18:26 - 18:50

So I may be a little bit biased, but can you tell us why you chose to come back here with your wife and three daughters? I mean, I technically didn't really leave. If, you know, if, I mean, I've been in a lot of places. You know, I always came back in the off season and trained and hung out and enjoyed my time around my family and stuff like that. So, you know, I didn't technically leave, but I could have went to LA based out of there.

18:50 - 19:24

Or went down to Florida and based out of there. But Nashville's grown so much since I was a little kid, you know, I've seen this thing come from the ground up and all the opportunities here. Now, companies like you guys coming here, you know, Amazon got all the big things going on in Nashville. Like you said, Nashville is the IT city, everyone wants to live here. I always meet people around town, and they're not from here, you know, which is, which is kind of weird. Yeah, it's crazy. And I tell people I'm from Nashville, they get really excited, is looking at it like I want to be there, too. So it's a it's a cool place.

19:24 - 19:45

Have a residence here. Probably never will give it up. Yeah, I was going to say, I grew up here as well and I moved to DC for a few years and nobody in DC is from DC. So you meet people from literally every state in the United States. Ten years ago in Nashville, anyone you'd meet would be from Nashville.

19:45 - 19:58

And now the growth and expansion has just been ridiculous. And so there actually are more people that you're meeting on a daily basis that are from all over the country. It's kind of unique. It's such a great thing to be a part of.

19:58 - 20:15

So I want to talk about some lessons here that perhaps you both can shed some light on for us. And Blake, I want to start with you because of your unique professional relationship between economics and sports. Is there anything you wish more athletes knew going into or out of their sport?

20:16 - 20:41

Oh, yeah, a lot of things, I think the first one that comes to mind is just sort of having a broad understanding of financial markets and different firms. It's important to understand the difference between like what a bank is and what a money management firm is and what they do with the services that they provide are. And then another thing that comes to mind is understanding how supply and demand, because that's obviously a huge, huge topic in economics.

20:41 - 21:16

That's what drives market forces, is understanding how supply and demand of different asset classes affects prices and returns. These sort of things can be can be jumpstarted by just simply asking the right questions. We have Bernstein. We actually have a detailed slide of all the important questions that athletes should be asking whatever they're first getting into investing or have basically received that first contract. And even when their exit opportunity comes and they ultimately retire and move on to the second phase of their career. And then one final thing as a monetary policy lever, I can't answer this question without touching on inflation.

21:16 - 21:42

And if athletes had a better understanding of the benefits of being invested versus letting money just sit in cash and that cash is losing its value because of interest rates and inflation, then they'd be better set up for their future. Now, I love that supply and demand answer because that could be trickled down all the way to the price of the ticket that a fan is paying to go see a game that they're playing all the way to do their investment.

21:42 - 22:16

So, Brandan, ask you the same question. Is there anything you wish you knew going into the NBA that you think a player should know? I think Blake kind of touched on it. And it's really simple. You need to ask questions. Keep it simple. Don't be dumb about a situation. You know, actually ask questions. You don't know what you don't know. And that's what one of my coaches used to always tell us at practice. And now we're trying to execute or we're trying to learn something. You don't know what you don't know. So if you don't know, what do you do? You ask questions. You ask questions to the right people.

22:16 - 22:25

I think that's the biggest, maybe the biggest downfall of athletes. We've done so much in our career. We're successful people. We've made a lot of money.

22:25 - 22:55

We don't seek advice like we should. We kind of think we can take it all in our own hands. And that's the biggest thing I've learned over these years, is I'm always willing to listen to someone else or get another man's opinion, another woman's opinion. I always want to learn, learn something that that they know that I don't know if it's helped me grow as a person, as a as a husband, as a father, as a businessman. You know, it's helped me continue to expand my horizons.

22:55 - 23:17

Really the last thing is, people want to work with us, use your platform. It's easy to use your platform when whether you're active, retired, played three years. You know, people love to see that on a resume. You can have all these things on a piece of paper. And if it says NBA player, that's the only thing they remember, you know, so use your platform to your advantage.

23:17 - 23:40

Yep. So I got to ask, is it difficult to sort of trust people whenever you are that young and you've made this much money, it's like to trust their motives and their intentions? Was that ever a problem with you or do you see that within sports? Oh, it's a huge problem. A lot of athletes, a lot of entertainers, people who obtain a lot of wealth in a short amount of time, they struggle with their families and their friends.

23:40 - 24:07

And, you know, people have been close to where they grew up with, you know, telling them, no, you know, sometimes you got to turn a cold shoulder, you know, you've got to let them know that I don't want to do it. And it hurts sometimes. You know, people you know, you have a close relationship with, family, whatever, telling them no. And because they've done so much for you, probably on the way up, you know, telling them they can't borrow all this money or you can't do this, you can't do that. You know, that hurts sometimes and that strains relationships.

24:07 - 24:16

But, you know, you got to protect yourself. You know, ten years ago, I didn't know I was I'll be have a wife and three kids, you know, you got to, you got to be prepared for those type of things. Yeah.

24:16 - 24:42

The reason I ask is just because I feel like athletes have put so much trust in themselves and have grown throughout their training and have gotten to the point that they get to in professional sports, sort of, not by themselves, but with limited help from others. And so I think the thought sometimes can be, I don't want to have to go outside and ask people questions that I don't necessarily trust or have a great relationship with prior to making it big.

24:42 - 25:15

So I'll figure it out on my own. Is that something that you see that's always huge? You know, one of the common things with athletes is they always ask an expert, could you have done what I've done? And 99.9% of the time is no. You know, why should I listen to you? Why should I trust you? Right. Why should I do this for you? You know, so you kind of got to break yourself down and be a little bit more humble. Yeah. Because, you know, all in all, you know, professional athletes, big time entertainers, you've done something that not a lot of people can do. You know, you  got to kinda find a way to

25:16 - 25:34

To humble yourself, take a step back, breathe, and be able to take those opinions and take that advice from certain people. That's some great advice. Let's pivot to one of my favorite parts of our show where we ask a few questions about our guests' financial style. And so I want to start by asking you, what would you say your style is?

25:34 - 26:06

Are you a risk taker these days or are you risk averse? OK, we can break it down into two parts—from 2007 to about 2012, 13-ish, I didn't take any risk at all. But now from that time, by 2013-14 and now I'll get a little riskier every now and then. But, you know, it's all in the family. I'm a gambler at heart. I like to gamble a little bit. Nothing. Yeah, nothing. Nothing crazy. But I like to... nothing like Jordan or anything like that.

26:06 - 26:37

But I like to gamble so so that those are my strategies over my professional career. I don't think that's necessarily out of the ordinary because as guys get more in tune with financial markets and have a better understanding, they typically tend to take out a little bit more risk as they are they're more suitable. Yeah, I agree 100 percent. I've gained more knowledge over the years, so I think I'm willing to do a little bit more than what I was willing to do back in 09. Yeah, that's a good way to put it. At the end of the day, it's all about comfort and education.

26:37 - 26:40

So we see that too, with many of our clients.

26:41 - 27:15

How about where do you get your financial news and how do you follow the markets in general? In a perfect world, I'll have three, three or four screens in front of me just watching the markets all day in a perfect world, but, you know, married with kids and all that stuff like that. So that's not practical. But I'm a Bloomberg guy, I usually read all articles on there and I follow the market on there. It's pretty easy. I mean, I've been following those guys for years, so any time someone else has something new, I always check it out, though. I always trying to find different type of information. I read a lot of stuff, so I'm always trying to learn, learn something new. That's great.

27:15 - 27:39

Well, I know Blake's got three screens in front of him at all times, so you can always text out there. How about any other business areas you've been focused on lately or you want to focus on when you retire? You know, obviously we, we had this great partnership with Microsoft right now, and I'm really focused on coding. I'm trying to learn how to code more because it really is the future. I didn't even know that Blake does this.

27:39 - 27:59

But we're working on projects right now, where we're able to go into facilities, meaning some cyber enrichment center, kids, schools, elementary, high school, we're working on a college opportunity where we can go into a class and teach them coding, but it's all partnered with Microsoft. So that's kind of what I'm working on right now.

27:59 - 28:26

And we'll see where it takes off to. But that's kind of my next passion. Yeah, it's a really valuable skill. And the younger that you start, the easier it actually is to pick up on. I had to learn a program called STATA for all of my economics training to do a kind of metrics and analysis. And it's something that I wish I would have started in high school just because the ramp up period is really steep. But the longer you have to spend on learning it, the better.

28:27 - 29:00

Yeah, we did a workshop last week with Microsoft and myself and this 10-year-old girl is is taking us through layers and layers and layers of code on Minecraft. You heard the game Minecraft? Yeah. So we're creating a level, we build in the fish tanks and land and islands and boats and actual animals. It was a pretty strong idea. So I'm catching up. But, you know, hopefully in a year from now I'll be better than what I am now. It's probably not typical for you to be losing to a 10-year-old girl and many things.

29:02 - 29:32

Yes, it's a little humbling, but I'm all in right now. We’re working on some programs and this is going to be fun. We'll be able to get back on and talk about where we are at; like a year now, year or two. Absolutely. So when you're not training, because I know you're still training, trying to get back in the NBA and you train daily, when you're not training and thinking about your future and all of this coding stuff—what are you doing to relax and how do you have fun besides losing to me in fantasy football every year? Not right now, but I wish I would go to a vacation.

29:32 - 29:57

Yeah, we like to go to the beach. We like to go to Hawaii. We like to go Virgin Islands, Bahamas, wherever, anywhere the sun shines bright and temperature is not as hot as here. Now that's what I like to do, but just mostly just chasing the girls around and playing with them. The oldest is six, so she's kind of muscled through a new threshold of life. But the 3-year-old twins, they're still running around crazy and having fun and always smiling.

29:57 - 30:21

That's how I really occupy my time the most. But I mean, he hit the nail on the head, it's workout, the girls, vacation every now and then, these workshops, team Brandan Wright. I mean, that's the schedule. I mean, you know, Adam, these athletes, we're real regimented. So, you know, I stick to the schedule, I don't I don't really switch it up. I think you missed a popular vacation spot that, if your wife was listening, she would smack you for it.

30:22 - 30:40

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, that's the that's like that's like that's annually. That's a yearly thing. Disney, Adam, we go to Disney every year. I go once a year they probably go three to five times on average a year. Well, I'm thinking, now I'm thinking Disney, because some other news that I just heard recently. That's right. Yeah. Yeah.

30:40 - 30:41

Maybe you can talk about a little bit of that.

30:41 - 31:16

Whatever saw Woj tweeted out the potential playoff start up coming up. Yeah, that's the best case scenario. It was bad to bring all teams back. It was bad to play 72 games because I think a couple teams had like four games left. And then I think San Antonio had like 10 games left, 10 games to get to 72. So this is the best case scenario you give it. It seems that they really don't have anything to play for. You know, I was even hearing rumors that those teams at the bottom, they were just going to shut their main guys down and sign a bunch of 10-day guys, and that's not going to do anything. So this is a good solution. I just pray that all the guys are healthy and, you know, they don't get any injuries.

31:16 - 31:48

But I think it's wide open now because, you know, you take that much time off. It was abbreviated off-season, basically. Right. And you got to start from fresh. So, you know, if you get a young team that's got a lot of juice, maybe they make a run and get to the conference finals where, you know, in a normal year they wouldn't do that. Yeah, I think that's a good way of thinking about things. A lot of times when people have these plans to restart, they don't think about all the different aspects of it. And then from an athlete's perspective, you offer obviously a different and more accurate sort of take on it.

31:48 - 32:17

We'll take a little step back to your vacation talks here. And you mentioned going to the beach. You have any fun vacation stories you can share with us? I know you've got a deep sea fishing escapade that you might want to touch on here. This highlights the pros of being a professional athlete, being built and strong because not many people could have done what you did in the sense of, yeah, this is this is and I have video of it and I have pictures of it. This was a crazy story.

32:18 - 32:52

Like when I woke up that morning, we had planned a trip to go deep sea fishing or whatever, but I didn't plan on it being like this. So me and my trainer, we just took a long weekend and went down to South Florida, stay down in Fort Lauderdale area. And, you know, we're just hanging out. We aren't doing anything. It was just me and him. So it was a really low key trip. And we decided, we'll get a boat. Let's get a boat. Let's get a captain. Let's go. Let's go catch some fish or whatever. So, you know, we we get the boat. We go out there and decide to do a little fishing.

32:52 - 33:25

And we caught a couple of small things. I forgot the names of them, but, you know, just good fun, whatever. I've been fishing since I was five years old, so this is nothing new to me. And the captain says, you know, he didn't really do this. He said you didn't do it really often because it depends on the type of group he has. You say you want to try to catch a shark? We're like, sure, let's do it. So we catch... we use our bait on the boat to catch a bigger fish, to use that fish as bait to catch a shark.

33:25 - 33:57

Yeah. So we catch something is pretty big. I mean, big, like, you know, like three or four feet, you know, and then we kind of cut them. They get a little blood going. So the sharks, they obviously they like blood. No, we hook that and we throw it out and we wait about twenty minutes or so and all of a sudden the line gets hit like really hard. And the captain said, I think we might have one, so now I take over the reel and he was like, he confirmed because he's seen the fin at the water. It was a shark.

33:58 - 34:23

So he kind of, we kind of stopped, I held the reel, he's like, all right, look, it usually takes about an hour and a half, two hours to get these bad boys in. And I was like, really? And he was like, yeah, it takes a long time because sharks are very strong in the water and it is just a big ball of muscle, pretty much. So I was like, forget that. You know, that's not gonna happen today. I'm going to get this thing in quick. So all of a sudden I go to the...

34:23 - 34:54

I give him the reel, I go inside of the boat, I take my shirt off because it's really hot. It is South Florida and, you know, and June is 90, 90 plus degrees. What, you had to intimidate the shark a little bit too. No, it wasn't even about that. It was about because I was it was it was really hot, like it was like a clear day. Sun is bright. It was one of those days I wouldn't take my shirt off and I just started reeling away. Reeling away. Reeling away. He's like, you are doing a good job. You know, keep going.

34:54 - 35:18

Keep pushing and keep pushing. You take a break. Take a break. I was like, no, let's get this thing in. So I get the shark in in 20 minutes, Adam. 20, 20 minutes. So we get it. We get it up. We look at it. Obviously you can't keep it because it's the law, whatever. We take pictures of it. He said we get we put this thing in the boat. We can all get hurt. So we take pictures of it.

35:18 - 35:36

You know, I get kind of close to do a little video or whatever, and we cut it and let him go. You know, all of a sudden it just hit me. I had to go back inside of the boat and lay down like I was like mentally, physically exhausted, like I was, like, done. It was it was probably hard and like playing an actual game, like a triple overtime game.

35:36 - 36:03

That's how my body felt. And from fighting and wrestling that shot because, you know, you reel, reel, reel, reel, reel, you know, and then they run out another 50 yards. That's how they do. So  I reel, reel, reel. I'm not stopping reeling at all because I want to get him all the way into the boat. So this is me against the shark. He's in his element, you know, he's in the water. So he's able to do what he does to get away. But it was a successful day for me.

36:03 - 36:33

But you want to know how big it was, Adam? How big? It was seven and a half feet. Three hundred and fifty pounds. Yes. Wow. Well, there's definitely a metaphor in that story for all athletes and people in general who are trying to accomplish what they have to in life. You know, it's not it's going to be a struggle. I could elaborate on that metaphor, but I doubt I have to for our listeners. That's great. Yeah, it was tough. And the crazy thing about it is my trainer, he caught one, too. He caught one about six feet, two hundred fifty pound.

36:34 - 36:58

And after that, the captain we get. He asks if we want to do  any more fishing, we are like, No, because we both almost died. We have to go. We, we get back to the dock and he was like, he brought us in, he's like, guys, you know, to be honest, I kinda catch one shark every four months. We caught two sharks in one day. Man, that's great. He told me if I was on the boat, I would have died. Yeah, you probably would have died. That shark would have pulled your head up like.

36:59 - 37:34

All right, before we call it a day, I'd got one more question for you, Brandan. So as in a successful investor, professional athlete, businessman, what is one thing that you're watching closely today, given all the uncertainty that's going on in the world? I mean, I am watching more than one thing, to be honest. You know, I can always say I'm watching my money and stuff like that, but you're always watching your money and your finances and, you know, stuff like that and, you know, protecting your family. But the biggest thing in the watching is the inequality and stuff going on in the country.

37:34 - 37:58

You know, how do we get that settled? Can we come to some type of agreement where all parties are treated with respect? Can we get the police and the people on the same page? Can we get African Americans and the government on the same page? That's what I'm really watching the most right now. And that and that's why we do what we do in our foundation, because we know that...

38:00 - 38:25

particularly the African American girls, you have such a small opportunity, a chance to be successful in the way that America is structured right now. We want to give them all the tools and opportunities to be successful moving down the line. So that's the biggest thing in our, you know, with me and then our foundation. You know, we want to provide opportunity to people that they otherwise wouldn't have had.

38:25 - 38:36

That's great. And I can't think of a better place to end our conversation than on that high note. So, Brandan, Blake, thanks so much for joining me on The Big Stage. Appreciate it. Thank you very much. It was a great talk.

38:37 - 39:01

And I also want to thank our listeners and let them know that we also have a podcast in endowments and foundations with our host, Claire Golla, called Inspired Investing. And you can listen wherever you currently listen to your podcasts. So until next time. Thanks so much. Bernstein—Making money meaningful for individuals, families and foundations for over 50 years. Visit us at

Adam Sansiveri
Senior Managing Director

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