Five Athletes You Didn’t Know Were Minimalists

Athletes are known for making millions upon millions in the big leagues. In the NFL, players make an average of $2.7 million as of 2017, though the NFL Players’ Association reports that the minimum income for a salaried player is $408,000.

In EU club football, the money can be just as staggering for leagues like Spain’s La Liga and England’s Premier League. Tennis stars competing in the WTA and ATP see similar annual salaries, along with the twenty elite F1 drivers selected each season.

Accordingly, athletes aren’t often associated with austere lifestyles. Big money often equates to major assets, from private jets to four-story homes. From a fan’s perspective, wealth is just as enviable as athletic prowess and fame.

Though most athletes compete for passion, a big paycheck is an added plus—especially when the pressure is high. Their performance will directly affect their team’s odds from groups like Unibet sports, as well as pundit analyses and predictions.

Meanwhile, press conferences also add pressure for athletes to endear themselves to the public. Add in social and familial responsibilities, high-travel schedules, and their physical health, then it becomes clear why some athletes splurge at every turn.

Others, however, have strived for minimal lifestyles in order to cut out the noise that distracts from their gameplay. Let’s take a look at five players in the big leagues who live well below their means on purpose.

Daniel Norris, MLB

He doesn’t live in a van down by the river; he lives in a van behind the local Wal-Mart. Daniel Norris, a pitcher in the MLB, was made a millionaire when he signed a contract with the Detroit Tigers back in 2011. So why does Norris live in a van on less than $1,000 a month?

Norris told an ESPN reporter that he prefers life in the back of his 1978 Westfalia camper van because it’s similar to how he’s always lived. He prefers seclusion and freedom, no added frills, anxiety, or stress. It’s really that minimal.

Ryan Broyles, NFL

Ryan Broyles, a wide receiver in the NFL, chose to live on $60,000 a year throughout his career. The decision was financially motivated, as many pro athletes (especially from the NFL) end up going broke following their retirement.

Broyles’ decision to live within his means to secure his future involved quite a few minimalist tricks, including cutting out cable, cooking from home, and paying off debts every month.

Andrew Chafin, MLB

Similar to Norris, this MLB pitcher opted for a camper instead of a fixed home. His Keystone Fuzion RV is outfitted to keep Chafin out in nature—just where he prefers to be. Like other minimalists, he prefers the experience of the outdoors to the hustle and bustle of city life.

Giovani Bernard, NFL

This running back made headlines for driving his girlfriend’s mom’s beat-up minivan during his rookie season. Despite signing a big contract with the Bengals after he was drafted in 2013, Chafin has kept his focus on the gridiron.

To save his earnings and better manage his future outside the NFL, Chafin relied on minimalism, choosing to share his living space with a colleague and a car with his girlfriend (and her mom).

Jordy Nelson, NFL

Jordy Nelson is known for being a solid wide receiver who worked in tandem with the Packers’ star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, for years. Many fans would be surprised to learn that Nelson actually identifies as a farmer more than a football player… especially after signing a $39 million extension back in 2014.

Each summer, Nelson heads home to his family’s farm in Kansas. His favorite duties are driving and rounding up cattle… which takes about 12 hours each day.

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