This week, I’m part of the 2015 Sports Financial Advisor Association’s Conference at the McCormick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. It’s the first event of its kind, and it’s exciting to be in a place filled with energy, ideas and most importantly, the desire to see things done more equitably and ethically. It’s a business where sometimes that’s the exception rather than the rule.
(I should mention that the reason I missed out on War Story Wednesday was my travel getting here. My apologies!)
The event’s run by Jonathan Miller, a CPA in nearby Paradise Valley whose vision it is to educate and prepare athletes to make smart financial decisions and protect them from the leeches that hang around the game.
The event’s moderator/presenter is Nick Lowery, a Hall of Fame placekicker who had a great run with some Kansas City Chiefs teams that weren’t always world-beaters. It was during the Chiefs’ down cycle in the mid-80s when Lowery was having one of his best seasons. At one point during the season, he had hit 22 of 23 kicks. This was something he was quite proud of; he “felt like (he) was doing (his) job,” he said Thursday.
It was during this season that he had to make a quick stop at a convenience store to pick up breakfast food — milk, eggs, etc. It was while the cashier was running up his total when, suddenly, a look of recognition came across her face.
“Hey, I know you!” she said. “You’re that kicker. You’re Nick Lowery.”
He acknowledged that he was who she said he was, expecting the praise that comes from being a pro athlete having an exceptional season.
“You missed that kick,” he got instead. “I remember you. I could have made that kick with my left foot. What’s wrong with you?”
I heard another story today that perfectly illustrates why people inside the game say that “NFL” stands for “Not For Long.”
Among the panelists here is Michael Stone, who had a seven-year NFL career as a defensive back with the Texans, Cardinals, Patriots, Rams and, finally, the Giants, the team he “retired” from in 2007. Of course, no one gave him a gold watch or a plaque.
Michael told the story of his abrupt exit from the league. It was during the preseason in ’07, and he was experiencing pain in his hip. He went to the team doctor, who told him he had a torn labrum. Alarmed, he left to seek out a second opinion from an outside doctor, who confirmed the diagnosis. It was during his drive back from the doctor that his agent called to tell him he’d just been cut.
Stories like this are the reason so many people are here to talk about how athletes can make smart choices and don’t wind up in a 30 for 30 episode.
More stories and my thoughts from Scottsdale later.