Ex-WNBA player Ashley Battle recently spoke with EBONY about money and the NBA’s Basketball Operations Associate Program, which is designed to help former players transition into diverse careers after they retire from the court.
“In recent years, the NBA has started a Crossover Program, established for former WNBA and NBA players to come and really learn the business side of basketball,” Battle said of the initiative. “[It] mixes [the] talents we’ve had on the court, knowledge we had there and all of the different cogs that go into making the league run.”
After playing in the WNBA for six years starting in 2005, Battle used the knowledge she gained as a marketing and economics major at the University of Connecticut to work in wealth management and retail banking.
She decided to leave the world of finance and join the Basket Operations Associate Program with the hope of learning the skills required to get a job in a front office of an NBA team.
With experience in both retail banking and financial management, which are “completely different, Battle spoke about the factors that sometimes lead athletes to mismanage money, including business ventures that don’t pan out.
“Athletes, in general, have to be more cognizant of their funds and really involved in what’s happening,” the former Fifth Third Bank branch manager urged. “You can’t just blindly trust someone to do anything; there have to be checks and balances.”
She added, “As a player, you have to be aware of the pitfalls a lot of athletes have had prior to you. Hopefully, you have people surrounding you that are educated enough that could educate you enough to help you through these situations.”
Battle currently works in player programming and development with the NBA, which offers a financial seminar to the players. One of the biggest things she said can help athletes with is learning to say no to various projects.
Watch the full interview above.