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Four-time NBA champ John Salley says you shouldn't 'let money rule you'

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Four-time NBA Champ John Salley says you shouldn't 'let money rule you'

Former NBA champion-turned-entrepreneur John Salley has one important money rule to live by: Don't let it guide what you want to do in life.

"Go for success, figure out how to do something that will make you happy while doing it, and the caveat is money comes along with it," he said. "Don't let money rule you."

Salley has indeed found success, and the money that comes along with it.

The one money lesson I learned when I was in the NBA is that you should not spend it on things that depreciate.
John Salley
former NBA champ

He first followed his dream of becoming a pro basketball player, ultimately playing with the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. He retired from the game in 2000 after playing on his fourth NBA championship team and is now an entrepreneur and an advocate for wellness.

He was also an original investor in Beyond Meat, which has seen its shares surge after going public earlier this month. Salley invested $5,000 with the maker of plant-based meat substitutes and recently told CNBC he plans to let his investment "ride."

Ethan Brown, founder and chief executive officer of Beyond Meat Inc., left, and John Salley, a former professional basketball player with the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Los Angeles Lakers, stand for a photograph during Beyond Meat's initial public offering (IPO) at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York, U.S., on Thursday, May 2, 2019.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

It's a long way from his early beginnings in Brooklyn, New York, where his parents worked two jobs to make ends meet.

"We talked about money," Salley said. "We talked about why there was so little of it."

He said he asked his mother why she and his father worked those two jobs each. "So there was a lot of conversation about money."

Salley's first job was at a dry cleaner, where he pressed clothing. He played basketball in high school and ultimately earned a scholarship to Georgia Tech, where he played for head coach Bobby Cremins.

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Once he landed in the NBA, he had to learn how to manage his newfound wealth.

"The one money lesson I learned when I was in the NBA is that you should not spend it on things that depreciate," he said. "You should only build it into things that appreciate or that are assets."

These days, Salley thinks of money as a way to help open doors to new opportunities.

"It literally is a key," he said. "It's not the only key, but it's a key to make people or make things move further."

Check out I Made $,1000 by Taking Pictures with This Easy Side Hustle via Grow with Acorns+CNBC.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.