NBA, NFL Athletes Score Big Win With Financial Literacy For Kids

by | 07/07/14 | Commentary, News, Uncategorized

As Washington Wizards power forward Drew Gooden spoke to kids last week at the Santa Maria School in New York as part of a financial literacy workshop run by PricewaterhouseCoopers, it was clear why many call him a Wizard not only on the basketball court, but also with his personal banking and money management expertise. Gooden is just the latest of many NBA, NFL and other professional athletes who are devoting substantial time, energy and resources to teaching kids about the importance of financial education.

Professional athletes are continuing to spark great interest in financial education among students, as they leverage their celebrity status to serve as role models in emphasizing the extent to which greater financial literacy can lead to a more successful life. The NBA has immersed itself in partnerships and affiliations with corporate, government and non-profit organizations to heighten the effectiveness of financial literacy programs and services throughout the U.S. In another recent example, NBA Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler and other NBA stars helped roll out the joint venture between NBA Cares and BBVA Compass to deliver financial education programs to 25,000 students throughout the U.S. this year.

The NFL also has been very focused on financial education, with iconic football greats teaching personal financial skills in schools. The NFL has teamed up with Visa in offering the Financial Football program, which is a fast-paced, interactive game that engages students while teaching them money management skills. Teams compete by answering financial questions to earn yardage and score touchdowns. In connection with this initiative, students are being turned on to important financial concepts by some of their longtime heroes, such as New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees, who showcased Financial Football in New York during Super Bowl Week, Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler, who played Financial Football with kids in Montana and Wyoming, and Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and running back DeAngelo Williams, who recently have been working with state government officials in North Carolina to enhance financial literacy in a comprehensive statewide initiative.

The involvement of professional athletes in highlighting the importance of financial education to young people parallels a similar trend among other celebrities who are linking their philanthropic efforts with the fast-growing economic, social, political and cultural movement supporting greater financial literacy among kids. Along these lines, many financial literacy advocates are hailing Money XLive, a concert style financial education program that brings together celebrities, sport stars and entertainers to share their personal financial lessons as part of this financial education initiative. The program's MXL event resembles an MTV award show and is fully choreographed to make picking up money skills fun while being aligned with national financial education standards. One recent Money XLive event in California, which drew over 1,000 attendees, was headlined by American actor and television personality Wilmer Valderrama.

It has long been known that professional athletes and celebrities can serve as key role models for young people and there’s no better role for them than serving to spark interest among kids in critically important financial concepts that will empower youth to understand personal financial matters and to be more equipped to manage their financial affairs as they get closer to their college years and beyond. And as financial literacy continues to grow as a major economic, social and political theme, we can expect to see more athletes and celebrities involved with financial education, which will further drive its success in the years ahead.

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