After one basketball season at Duke University, Jayson Tatum declared for the 2017 NBA draft when he was just 19. The teen was selected No. 3 overall by the Boston Celtics and signed a lucrative contract: $30.1 million, to be distributed over four years.
This season, Tatum will earn a base salary of $7.83 million — and every penny will go straight to the bank.
"All the money I get from the Celtics, I put it in a savings account," he told Maverick Carter on an episode of Uninterrupted's "Kneading Dough." To this day, he hasn't touched a dime of his NBA money and lives off endorsement deals, which have included Gatorade, Imo's Pizza and Honey Dew Donuts.
"When I picked my agent, I told him I want to do as much off-the-court stuff as I can," Tatum told the Boston Globe. "Right now I'm young, so I try to do everything as much as possible. … Tomorrow is not promised. You're not promised the next contract. You want to save all the money you can."
He's not the only high earner with a savings-first mentality. Comedian Jay Leno and former NFL player Rob Gronkowski both set aside 100% of their primary form of income. Leno saved his "Tonight Show" money and lived off earnings from comedy gigs he did on the side, while Gronkowski saved his NFL salary and lived off endorsements.
Tatum, now 21, didn't grow up with money. He and his mom lived "check to check," he told Carter, "but as I got older and started understanding that the NBA was coming to reality, she started talking to me about the importance of balancing all of this money." She still helps him out today, acting as his financial and business advisor.
While he's careful with his cash, "I didn't make all this money to save it all," said Tatum. After he got drafted, he bought an Escalade for his mom and a Range Rover for himself.
Plus, he has a favorite splurge: "The thing I spend most of my extra, extra money on is, I like wearing nice clothes."
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