Professional athletes are known for splurging on the finer things in life, especially when they get their first big paycheck.
Former NBA player Shaquille O'Neal admitted that after signing his first professional contract, he went on an expensive shopping spree and blew through $1 million in an hour. Philadelphia 76ers player Ben Simmons said on a recent episode of "Kneading Dough, " that after becoming a millionaire he regretfully spent $10,000 on two Savannah Cats.
But one athlete who took a more conservative route with his first big check is former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. In a recent interview with Uninterrupted, Cruz admitted that he put his first big paycheck into savings and didn't spend a dime.
In 2010, Cruz signed a three-year $1.215 million contract with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent. In 2013, he signed a five-year contract with the team worth $43 million.
"That first check was probably the largest check I've ever seen with my own eyes at that time," he said. "So I saved it. I wanted to make sure that this isn't the last check that I receive. I wanted to make sure every check from here on out I saved and multiplied."
He tells CNN Money that it was the early advice he received from Giants staffer Charles Way for helping him to stay on track financially throughout his career.
"He was like, 'Man, make sure you understand what your money is doing and understand what's happening with your money. Don't just give it to some accountant and just let him do whatever he wants with it,'" said Cruz.
After a Super Bowl win, a few injuries and a seven-year run in the league, Cruz's NFL career came to an end when he was released by the Giants in February 2017. Since receiving that first paycheck, Cruz says he's always thought about the future and how he can make his money last.
"It's not about the right now. It's about the longevity and making sure that your finances are taking care of you not just right now, but forever," he says. "And making that money last for yourself, for your family and for the people that you care about."
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