Money and insurance

Marcio Lassiter talks financial planning for professional athletes

While the PBA superstar strives to achieve greatness on the hard court, he’s wasting no time investing in life after basketball

by FWD PBA Contet Team, 1 June 2017

In the world of professional sports, there’s nothing worse than an athlete—promising rookies, all-star players, MVPs, hall of famers—struck down by an injury. Sports injuries, however, are an unfortunate part of an industry that requires and expects from people inexorable amount of athleticism, endurance, resilience, and energy. In PBA history, there have been several athletes whose once bright or already flourishing careers were derailed by a torn ACL, a pulled hamstring, or a fractured shoulder. Aggravating the blow is the toll such injuries take on the lives of their families, those whose futures could possibly be put on hold the moment an athlete is brought home on a stretcher.

But that doesn’t always have to be the case. Life’s unfortunate setbacks, including career-threatening injuries, could be easily planned for. So long as you have the foresight and propensity to prepare for it.

San Miguel Beermen’s Marcio Lassiter is no stranger to sitting out and missing games due to injuries. In the past, he had endured a hurt back as well as injuries in the knee, groin, and hamstring.

“Just being hurt is never fun,” Lassiter tells FWD Life Philippines. “It’s painful. It’s scary. And you can’t help your team out. That’s the worst feeling because, as much as possible, you want to help your team. So when you get hurt, you aim to get better and play again.”

But certain injuries take longer. Certain injuries can risk your basketball career. “I had a few of those and for a while, I thought I wasn’t going to play again. It was really that serious. I really had to, in a sense, think about how these injuries were going to impact my future, how these would impact my family, the career I’m going to have or whatever is left of it,” he says.

Basketball is everything to Lassiter. He has been playing the sport his whole life. He has won several championships, played for the national team, and met and played with some of the greatest names in PBA today. Being at a point where he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to play again really scared him. Because you can never know when accidents happen, when tragedies unexpectedly strike.

“It can just happen in the blink of an eye. So you always have to be prepared. I think of life as a chess game. You have to be a couple of steps ahead and have different options planned out so you don’t end up completely losing the game when the time comes.”

This is why Lassiter strongly believes that basketball players—and every kind of athlete for that matter— should learn financial management before going pro. They should be able to understand the importance of saving and investing as much as they can and protecting their families and planning their finances. “We’re given so much money at one time and it’s normal to feel like, ‘What can I do with this? I can do this and that…’ to buy whatever you want. But it’s never a bad idea to save and invest. Put the money in life insurance, bonds, or stocks. Take some time off on a weekend to get some help and educate yourself. Because basketball won’t always be there,” he says.

That fact alone has got the basketball star mapping out other goals for his and his family’s future. A Kinesiology major from Cal State Fullerton in California, he plans to start a physical therapy practice in Manila and try to fill the need that clinics and hospitals here are not filling.

“After basketball, I think I could be a great coach. If not that, I could get my Master’s and establish a career in another area of the sport—helping other athletes get back up on their feet, get better. I also have a food business now, Vampire Penguin, a shaved ice dessert place that originated in California, which I hope to grow and expand here in Manila,” he ends.

Lassiter has a lot of things to look forward to after basketball, a lot of backup plans that slowly builds his safety financial nets, protecting him for whatever the future holds. Planning for the worst never hurt anyone. Getting on the game unprepared often does.