Lakers’ Anthony Davis Opens up About Saving Money, Life After Basketball, New Endorsement
LOS ANGELES -- The scene at The Theatre at Ace Hotel was fit for a Broadway premiere, albeit with a certain Hollywood flair. Celebrities and athletes—including former NFL star Shannon Sharpe, Los Angeles Lakers legends James Worthy, Kurt Rambis, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry and Rick Fox, and seemingly every current Laker save for LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma—streamed past posters promoting “a high flying musical from the mind of Anthony Davis” entitled Anthony Davis & The High Flying Blocks.
That turned out to be a bit of a conceit. Yes, AD would be taking center stage, but not for the purposes of song and dance. Instead, the seven-time NBA All-Star was there to unveil his and the Lakers’ new sponsorship with First Entertainment Credit Union. The 26-year-old Chicago native will serve as the financial institution’s first-ever brand ambassador, his signature brow set to splash across billboards and commercials. This summer, he will also help to initiate a financial literacy program for school-aged kids throughout LA.
While celebrating his latest endorsement, Anthony sat down with Amondo Redmond, First Entertainment’s chief marketing officer, to talk about the partnership, how AD saves his money and his soft spot for Lamborghini trucks.
(The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.)
From left to right: First Entertainment Credit Union CMO Amondo Redmond, Anthony Davis and five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for First Entertainment)
Adjusting to life in LA …
Anthony Davis: I had to get adjusted to the LA time, sat in traffic about 16 hours a day. That's definitely the biggest adjustment. But nah, I live here in the summertimes, so I was already accustomed to the LA lifestyle. When I came to the team, especially Bron, other players, they just made it feel like home. It's been a great time so far.
His reaction to interest from First Entertainment ...
AD: Can I be honest? I had no idea. I wasn't gonna take it. I was, like, "Credit union? That doesn't fit the AD brand." Once I learned more about First Entertainment and what you guys stood for, I thought, It fits perfectly with what I'm trying to do in the community as well. Coming into the NBA at a young age, 19, getting millions of dollars, you kind of figure out how to save money and how to budget, how to spend. That's what FIrst Entertainment is about, so it was a no-brainer to me after I kind of got the backdrop of it.
His thought process when considering brand affiliations ...
AD: It's all about the AD brand. I think when I'm looking at partnerships or endorsements or deals, I want them to fit me and my brand. I don't want to do anything, no matter what it is, for the amount of money or just if it's going to be a national thing. I want it to fit me, and I want to feel comfortable doing it because if it fits me and I'm comfortable doing it, I can get more into it if I'm passionate about it. So I don't want to do anything just because.
Maybe five years ago, I did this one commercial that I kind of regret. I had a wig on. From that day, I would never do anything that I don't want to do again. It paid well, but after it came out, it was, like, I got a lot of heat on it. It was bad. So I have to look at it and I see, does this fit with what I'm trying to identify as my brand? If it does, I look more into it. And if I'm really passionate about it, then it's right.
Anthony's partnership with First Entertainment will include a financial literacy initiative for school-aged kids across the Los Angeles area. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for First Entertainment)
How he takes care of his money ...
AD: Well, I have a good team around me. The first thing I did was get a financial advisor. My parents do a great job of telling me or giving their opinion of what I should or shouldn't buy. I'm a big car guy. I love cars. My mom really don't care. Get her excited, oh have fun, spend your money, it's your life. Fathers, on the other hand ... I'm, like, "I wanna get that new car, I'm about to get this Lamborghini truck." And he's, like, “Aaah no. You have seven cars already.” I'm, like, “I've got enough money, I'm gonna buy a car.”
But that's when you have a great team around you that's, like, “Nah, let's pump the brakes.” I think cars have been the thing that I've spent a lot of money on. But like I said, my parents, my financial advisor, my family has kind of been there and been that anchor, like, let's pull back, you don't need that. And if you don't have people like that in your life, you can kind of go crazy and spend millions of dollars on unnecessary things.
Where he saves ...
AD: Everything else. If it's not a car, I'm, like, nah. Because my thing I look at is life after basketball. You're not gonna play this game for a long time. I wanna be able to put myself in a position for my future where I can sit around and maybe do nothing for the rest of my career. When you finish when you're 35, 40 years old, you got another 40, 50 years to live. Now what are you gonna do with this time if you don't save your money? So everything else, I save, I don't spend at all.
His own financial advice ...
AD: The biggest thing for me that I had to learn is to say no. The first time I told my mom no, the first time I told her no, I looked at her face. It was staggering for me, but she got over it after a couple hours. I was, like, Oh she's good. Now, it's easy. Now she's, like, "Hey, son," and I'm, like, "No." I know she'll get over it. The thing is, you have to say no. And it's tough, especially with your family. You come in and you think of all the people that helped you along the way.
And when they come to you about a business proposal, they wanna start this company or go into business, this, that and the third, you think about those things. And so it's kind of harder for you to say no. And for me, when I told my mom no, anybody else, I'm not even worried. I don't care how you feel. I think that's the biggest thing. Once you learn how to say no to people and feel good about it, and know it's in the best interest for you, then you'll be fine.
AD's announcement was attended by Lakers past and present, including Hall of Famer James Worthy. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for First Entertainment)
How his partnership with First Entertainment fits with his off-the-court portfolio ...
AD: It fits perfectly. What you guys stand for and trying to have a lot of people who might not have the resources to learn about financial literacy, I'm trying to do the same thing. I've been blessed to be in a position to make a lot of money at a young age. But if I didn't have the NBA and my family and my friends and my financial advisor to tell me the things I needed to know about money, I could've probably bought 50 Lamborghini trucks by now. So being able to have those people in place and partner with First Entertainment, who's on the same path and doing the same things that I'm trying to do in the community, and reach people who don't really know a lot about financial literacy, it was easy for me to partner and do that.
His ad campaign with First Entertainment ...
AD: When I saw the creative, I knew it was going to be pretty dope. My team and my agency talked to me about, and you guys kind of gave us a lot of leeway and stuff to, like, let this be you. You guys were filming it, but we don't wanna have too much say with the creative. This is the idea that we want, but we want you to be yourself, to make it as authentic as possible. And I appreciate that. I get to show my personality, my side. And the whole time we were filming, it was me. I could be myself and not wear wigs and all that. The whole time felt it was dope, and I knew it was going to come out great and be very, very perfect.