LAS VEGAS — Former Arizona basketball player Joe McLean is the senior advisor for an investment firm called True Capital Management, but he thinks of himself more as a much needed life coach to young athletes and veterans alike who require help with their finances.
His hair is a premature gray, similar to his coach at Arizona, Lute Olson. McLean believes he is as vital to a player’s development off the court like Olson was to him when he played for the Wildcats from 1992-96.
“I’ve been doing this (serving as an investment advisor) for 13 years, but I just started concentrating on sports three years ago.” McLean told me at the NBA Summer League at Thomas & Mack Arena on Tuesday night.
“There’s a huge need for what I do. You read about the bad statistics about professional athletes being broke. It doesn’t have to be that way.”
Sports Illustrated estimated in a 2009 article that 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or facing serious financial stress within two years of ending their playing careers and that 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retiring from the game.
Some of the more famous athletes who have suffered financial distress include Terrell Owens, Lawrence Taylor, Michael Vick, Deuce McAllister and Bernie Kosar in football, and Allen Iverson, Scottie Pippen, Latrell Sprewell and Antoine Walker in basketball. These athletes and others have been tempted to spend their money after receiving a sudden windfall. They also believe they are invincible because they made it to the top of their profession.
McLean and True Capital play an important role in establishing a focus for athletes to get a grip on their finances. The firm has approximately 150 clients from various sports including basketball, NASCAR and golf. McLean is at the NBA Summer League communicating with young prospects about the necessary “steps”, as he calls them, toward protecting their assets.
He sat briefly with Houston rookie Terrence Jones’ mother, Linda Mashia-Jones, at Thomas & Mack while watching former Arizona standout Derrick Williams play a game with the Minnesota Timberwolves.