In today's over-dramatic society all the stories that are put into the media are the negative ones of millionaire athletes spending their money and going broke. However that is not true of all athletes! Many others spend their money wisely and do not buy into all the fame and fortune that professional sports brings. The athletes on this list make it because they are penny pinchers when it comes to the way they get around town. Their vehicles do not match the million dollar salaries that they bring home each season. Most of the players on this list have cars that look like they would more likely be driven by a fan than a famous athlete. Others make the list because they use other forms of transportation like public trains or even riding a bicycle to get where they need to go.
People think every professional athlete is set financially for the rest of their lives, but in some cases that is not true. Yet for most of the athletes on this list they could easily purchase a more luxurious means of transportation with their huge contracts. For some players a flashy car does not fit their personality or they have a bigger picture in mind when it comes to their money. The stars on this list will shock you as they are some of the most highly paid players in their sport. An NBA owner even makes the list at number 12 and you will not believe who they are.
15 Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins is the first quarterback in NFL history to play on the franchise tag for back-to-back seasons. The franchise tag means that a player is on a one-year deal and usually one of the highest paid players at his position as a result. Due to Cousins’ solid play as a starter throughout his career, he will cash in on a big contract this offseason as well. However, that does not mean he lives a lavish lifestyle off the field.
Cousins drives a dented up GMC Savana passenger van that he bought from his grandmother for $5,000. He even lives in his parents basement with his wife in the offseason. Due to quarterbacks being valued more than ever Cousins will be in high demand to sign a big contract. The Redskins are going to have to decide once and for all if they want to pay the former fourth round pick the big money after this season.
14 Daniel Norris
Norris is the only player on the list that actually lives in the vehicle that he drives. Even though he signed a contract with a $2 million signing bonus he elects to drive and live in a 1978 Volkswagon van. He told ESPN that he bought the van to get away from the pressure and daily grind of Major League Baseball. For only $10,000 he has a place where he can escape, relax and even take a drive if he wants too.
Norris now pitches for the Detroit Tigers and struggled this season going 5-8 with a 5.31 ERA. At 24 he still has a long pitching career ahead of him and the 86 strikeouts he had this season are a positive sign going forward. Either way Norris will have plenty of money in the bank if his playing days don't last that long because he has relatively few living expenses.
13 Alfred Morris
Millionaire running back for the Dallas Cowboys Alfred Morris still drives the car that he bought for $2 dollars from a pastor when he was a college junior. He even has a name for his car ("Bentley”) even though it is a 1991 Mazda sedan and nowhere near being a Bentley. Another thing he has said is that he will drive the car until it dies, and who knows when that will be. The motive behind driving this beat up old car is questionable and he might just be doing it out of pride at his point.
More recently, Morris has been seen riding his bike to work as well. Which begs the question: has Bentley died? Morris is now backing up Ezekiel Elliot in Dallas for the Cowboys and his starter days are long behind him. So he was smart to save all that money when he was playing on his rookie contract for the Redskins.
12 Ron Artest (Metta World Peace)
Artest made millions of dollars during his long career in the NBA. However, he still drives a car that he did not even purchase. He drives a Hyundai Genesis that was given to him by the famous comedian George Lopez. That car is normally only worth about $35,000 which is manageable for most fans. But considering George Lopez gave it to him and it is painted in custom purple and gold Laker colours it is probably worth way more.
Artest, now known as Metta World Peace has always been known for his off the wall behaviour so it is no surprise that he is on this list. He was once known for being the biggest thug in the NBA after the Malice in the Palace incident when he went in the stands and fought fans. But since then he has changed his image and is loved by fans. Artest has calmed down since his younger playing days and it seems like he has become wiser with his money as well.
11 Steve Balmer
Even though he is not a player, the current owner of the Los Angles Clippers has to be included on this list. One of the wealthiest people on the entire planet is known to be cheap when it comes to his automobile purchases. He has been known to drive normal low cost sedans. He is currently worth over $21 billion, but he drives a ford fusion hybrid. That car is only worth $40,000 even if he got it fully loaded with all the bells and whistles.
Maybe everyone can learn a lesson from Balmer. Even though he can afford any car that he wants he still chooses to buy one of the more efficient cars on the market. It is not only good for his wallet, but it is good for the environment as well. Seeing how cheap Balmer is with his cars it is easy to see why he is one of the richest people on the planet.
10 James Harrison
Harrison is seen as one of the toughest players in the NFL and he drives a car he can barely even fit inside. What is it with big NFL linebackers and smart cars? Harrison has been a pro bowl linebacker for the better part of the past decade, so he is not hurting for cash. Maybe Harrison wants to just save money and save the environment at the same time. Either way it is pretty hilarious to see a guy who can hip thrust 675 pounds drive a smart car.
It is amazing that Harrison is still playing in the NFL and at the age of 39 he is making a little over a million dollars a year to play one of the toughest sports in the world. Harrison was a key member of the Steelers teams that won championships in the 2000s and he is still a vital member of the squad now. If the Steelers go on to win their seventh championship in franchise history this season, Harrison will be one of the biggest reasons why, even though he drives the smallest car on the team.
9 Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard is probably the most humble superstar the NBA has seen since Tim Duncan who coincidentally also played for the Spurs. It is still a surprise that one of the best players in the entire league drives a Chevy Tahoe. The truck was apparently just sitting in Leonard's grandmother's garage until he decided to fix it. In an article in Sports Illustrated he said his reasoning behind the vehicle choice is because "it runs and it is paid off." That truck is probably worth barely over $1,000 on the open market and Kawhi's contract is worth $90 million. His modest attitude could not be a better symbol of the way Kawhi is as a player as well. Kawhi just does not like the glitz and glamour of the NBA lifestyle, he spends his summers in a two-bedroom apartment in San Diego unlike most superstars who are seen vacationing all around the globe.
8 Mitchell Trubisky
If you are drafted in the top 5 picks of the NFL draft you are guaranteed to have a huge contract coming your way and a hefty signing bonus as well. That did not stop Trubisky from driving to Bears training camp in an ugly beige 1997 Toyota Camry. The car was actually given to him by his grandmother, so he does not want to give up on it until he has too. His car caught the attention of Bears GM when he drove it to a meeting before the draft. He told Trubisky to drive the car to Chicago if they drafted him and proving to be a man of his word, Trubisky did just that. Many Bears fans were shocked when their team took Trubisky with the number 3 pick in the draft considering they just signed Mike Glennon in free agency. However, Trubisky looked great in Preseason and has already taken over as the starting quarterback for the Bears.
7 Ryan Kerrigan
Kerrigan is one of the best pass rushers on the Redskins and signed a 5 year, $57.5 million contract in 2015. With all that dough Kerrigan could buy any car he wants, but he opts for a inexpensive Chevy Tahoe according to the Wall Street Journal. Kerrigan also lives the rest of his life inexpensively as well. He shares an apartment with one of his childhood friends and he makes most of his meals himself.
Kerrigan makes way more than the average American at just above $8 million a year. He already has 3.5 sacks and one interception returned for a touchdown this season. The Redskins have surprised many people around the league playing well and being in the playoff discussion. Kerrigan is one of the reasons why his team is playing so well.
6 Brandon Jennings
Brandon Jennings elected not to go to college and instead went overseas to play professional basketball after he graduated high school. During Jennings rookie season he had many highlights and even scored 55 points which is still his career high. Also one of the surprising stories about him during that year was that he drove a modest Ford Edge and lived in a three-bedroom house with his cousin that was close to the team facility. A Ford Edge is something you would see a normal person of Jennings’ age purchase because it is at most $30,000. Since his rookie year Jennings has bounced around the league and has never quite lived up to his lottery draft status. So it was smart for Jennings to save money from the start of his career because his contracts got dramatically smaller as his career went on as a back up.
5 LeBron James
One new thing LeBron does to save his money and the environment is that he rides his bike to practices and to games. James started doing this when he played for the Heat to avoid the terrible Miami traffic. LeBron even got into full biking spandex and had a custom made bike for his commute.
LeBron James is one of the wealthiest athletes in the world today because he has a growing media empire and made smart investments throughout his career. His annual contract is worth $33 million dollars a year, but his net worth is up to an estimated $400 million. If LeBron makes another trip to the finals this season, which is likely because of the roster he has around him. Then he will be the first player since the days of Bill Russell to go to 8 straight NBA finals.
4 Ben Zobrist
Another avid bicyclist on the list is outfielder for the Chicago Cubs Ben Zobrist. He lives in the Wrigleyville neighborhood that surrounds Wrigley Field, so it is easy for him to ride his bike to games. He even rides his bike in his full Cubs uniform because his house is only one mile away from the stadium. Fans can count on seeing a smiling Zobrist ride his bike to every game that is played in Chicago as a tradition.
Zobrist became a fan favourite in Chicago when he played a vital role on the team that broke the 108 year championship drought. He came up with clutch hit after clutch hit down the stretch and they might not have won the World Series last year without him. He signed a four year $56 million contract back in 2015 as a free agent, so he can definitely afford a car to drive to work.
3 Marshawn Lynch
Lynch makes the list because of the most recent incident he had on Thursday night football against the Kansas City Chiefs. After being ejected from the game, Lynch sat in the stands and watched the rest of the game with the fans. What Lynch did next is what put him on this list. He rode the BART train home in Oakland with Marcus Peters. Peters (who is Lynch's close friend) was the player he was fighting with when he got ejected. Lynch has been one of the NFL’s biggest goofball personalities over the last decade, so it is easy to see why he finds himself on the list. He is known for being close with the fans and community in Oakland and that is why he was viewed as being a great fit for the Raiders.
2 Antonio Garay
It is bad enough that a big man like Antonio Garay is driving a smart car, but what is worse is that it is painted like he is Hello Kitty's number one fan. Petite teenage girls are more likely to purchase this car than a 300 pound defensive lineman. Garay was known for driving around the streets of San Diego and catching weird stares driving this outrageous car. He could not have chosen a better colour scheme to get attention with his car being bright red.
It is probably smart that Garay elected to drive a smart car because he did not have one of the biggest salaries when he played in the NFL. He was a sixth round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2003 and eventually ended up retiring in 2013 after being on the Jets practice squad for a year. Being frugal comes in handy when your professional playing career lasts ten years and you were a lower level player.
1 Giovanni Bernard
Even though Gio has been a versatile offensive weapon for the Bengals during his career, he has been on record saying he drives a borrowed minivan and lives in a modest Cincinnati apartment near the Bengals stadium. At just over $1.5 million dollars a year, Bernard is paid well for a back that shares carries. He has plenty of money to live above his current means, but Bernard has the sense to save his money.
In an NFL where the running back position is now devalued, he is smart to save everything he can because running backs have such short careers. Virtually every backfield in the league is going towards a running back by committee approach, including the Cincinnati Bengals. Since Bernard has been on the Bengals they have drafted both Jeremy Hill and Joe Mixon. Maybe that is why he is saving his money, as he won't see the ball as much and his numbers will go down.