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CJ McCollum clarifies remarks about NBA players living paycheck to paycheck

CJ McCollum raised some eyebrows this week when he suggested that an alarming number of NBA players are currently struggling financially amid the league’s ongoing hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Portland Trail Blazers star has since attempted to clarify his eye-opening remarks.

Appearing on the recent virtual edition of “The Boardroom” hosted by former NBA player Jay Williams, McCollum estimated that “out of 450 players … 150 probably are living paycheck to paycheck.”

The notion that players in a league where the median salary is $2,905,800, the average salary is $6,936,154 and the minimum salary stands at $893,000 per year not surprisingly received some pushback. Recognizing as much, McCollum attempted to lend some perspective to his sobering and arguably difficult-to-believe observation.

“I think there’s a lot of players — based on what I’ve seen, what I’ve experienced, the research I’ve done — that either mismanage money or aren’t in a position to make the right decisions financially because they’re the first generation wealth,” McCollum told NBC Sports Northwest. “It’s hard to manage money when you’ve never had it before and everyone around you has never had it before.”

McCollum went on to make it clear that he’s not asking for any sympathy on behalf of NBA players from those who obviously are being much more severely impacted financially by the pandemic.

“It’s not like me saying ‘feel sorry for us.’ We make millions of dollars,” McCollum added. “It’s not saying that I’m struggling. It’s saying that a lot of players — especially years two through four — are still trying to figure themselves out. They’ve either hired a financial adviser or are in the process of hiring someone. They’re figuring out their budget. And I think a work stoppage affects everybody — whether you have money or not — it affects people around you and it affects you directly.”

McCollum currently is playing on a five year, $100 million contract, and he is utilizing his considerable wealth to assist COVID-19 outbreak relief efforts by donating $170,000 total to the communities of Portland and his hometown of Canton, Ohio.