NBA Journeyman, Spencer Dinwiddie, who seems to have finally found stability with the Brooklyn Nets has been a long term advocate for Bitcoin. In fact, Dinwiddie was one of the first professional athletes to cash in on the 2017 hype surrounding digital currencies by buying Bitcoin when it was still trading for around $3,000.
However, Dinwiddie still has his regrets when it comes to Bitcoin because he now feels like “he should have gone all in, when he had the chance”.
All through the 2016-2017 season, Dinwiddie kept a close watch on his budding altcoin portfolio, even tracking his financial progress right before games. While other players would be trying their best to ”get in the zone”, Dinwiddie would anxiously track his Crypto assets on Coinbase and watch the ticker fluctuate wildly each and every day.
Trevor Booker, who was signed to the Nets a couple of years back, says it had come to a point where he had become “tired of Dinwiddie talking about crypto all the time”. “He would let me know how it was performing every day,” said Booker.
For some time, the alt-currency sector was slow to gain traction but once the winter season set in, Crypto caught fire like a few other things have in the history of finance. Within days, prices began to scale and touch new heights, with Bitcoin even touching it's all-time-high of $20K around that period.
Dinwiddie: “If I knew I was going to make a trade and it would intersect with practice, I would set a super-strict sell stop”
Dinwiddie’s passion for crypto sometimes overlapped with his NBA duties, with many of his peak trade hours clashing with film sessions and run-throughs. However, in the midst of all this, Dinwiddie used different ‘auto-trade mechanisms’ to help him stay in the loop even as he was trying to secure his next NBA-contract (before having his breakout season with the Brooklyn Nets last year, Spencer played on various teams for a near-minimum contract).
Being the enigma that Bitcoin still is, Dinwiddie tried to convince fellow teammates and friends to invest in the booming asset. Booker, who also runs his own VC firm, gave it a serious thought but ultimately decided against it because he thought “crypto was too volatile and that he didn't know enough about it (at the time).”
When one thinks of NBA’s leading businessmen, it's usually names like Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala that come up. However, Durant and James earn salaries where even if they lose tens of millions of dollars, they can easily look ahead and ignore their losses but but Dinwiddie being a journeyman, has been on an NBA ride that is quite unique — since an investment of a million dollars for him means a large chunk of his annual contract.
Another point worth noting is that in 2017 when Dinwiddie first entered the crypto market, he was just a second round draft pick whose future prospects were quite shaky, especially since he had already torn his ACL once by that time.
Dinwiddie, a native of the LA area, was brought up in a family full of intellectuals. On one side, he had his mother, Stephanie, who served as a professor at the University of Southern California for decades. On the other side was his dad, Malcolm, who was a real-estate agent.
In terms of Dinwiddie's amazing intellectual acumen, his college coach, Tad Boyle said:
“He probably got a lot of his business skills from his parents. They're very intelligent, and they raised Spencer and Taylor to follow suit. He could have been an Academic All-American if he put his mind to it. He's a smart guy. I told Spencer when he left here, ‘If you have the career you want to have, you have the capacity to be an NBA general manager.' He's smart enough. He understands the market, and there's so many guys that don't.”
During the start of his tenure with the Net’s, Dinwiddie first started to take real notice of Bitcoin as the price of the premier asset starting rising by hundreds of dollars with each passing day. By the end of the year, not only had Spencer secured a long-term role with the Nets, but he had also set up his Coinbase account.
As the 2017-18 NBA season progressed, the returns started to flow in for Dinwiddie (with Bitcoin clearing new economic thresholds with each passing day). For example, one day BTC would be trading at $5K and within a few months time, the currency would end up breaking the $10K-$15K barrier.
Then on the basis of his Bitcoin experience, Dinwiddie saw a burgeoning opportunity with Tron (TRX) — another cryptocurrency that is backed by the investments of wealthy businessmen. Upon buying some TRX tokens, its prices too shot up and Dinwiddie found success with another cryptocurrency.
Around this time period, Spencer was also beginning to find a lot of success on the court , with him logging his career high of 25 points in a win against Utah.
Dinwiddie’s form through the 2017-2018 season was impressive to say the least. Even though he started just 58 games, Dinwiddie finished 3rd in the voting for Most Improved Player. Not only that, Spencer also finished second behind MVP James Harden (in the clutch player category) last year with 103 clutch time points.
By the end of the 2018-2019 season, Dinwiddie will become an unrestricted free agent, thus immediately giving him a chance to increase his NBA status from that of a “minimum salary type player” to a mid-level exception-type guy (roughly $8.5 million annually).
As for as his crypto holdings, Dinwiddie says he ended up selling all of his BTC when the asset hit the $15,000 price point. And even though the currency then went on to rise further, today it is only worth $6,200.
As a result of Dinwiddie's newfound success within the alt-currency space, many other NBA players have also now started exploring this nascent financial terrain. For example, Wilson Chandler of the 76ers too has made it a point to educate himself about crypto and how it can be used as a means for procuring healthy returns in a timely fashion.
In this regard, Chandler added:
“Once I learned about bitcoin, I started to learn about the alternative coins, and I started doing the research on the companies and the tech behind it. I day-traded a few of the coins, got my feet wet. I was using Coinbase like everyone, then using different, bigger platforms so I could do more trading.”
Similarly, Pat Connaughton of the Bucks too is an avid investor who has dabbled in Bitcoin in recent times. However, in a modest tone he admitted, “I only dabble in the digital currency field. I'm not an expert or know if it's going to boom or bust. But being a business guy, I try to diversify a little bit.”
In addition to a few players taking a liking towards cryptocurrency, there are also franchises such as the Sacramento Kings who now allow fans to pay for their tickets in Bitcoin. Not only that, earlier this year, the team also installed a crypto-mining rig inside their arena in an effort to increase their yearly profit yields.
Similarly, the Dallas Mavericks also tried a similar thing sometime back by allowing patrons to buy tickets via Bitcoin (However the venture never took off as expected and thus Mark Cuban was forced to scrap the offering).
While the crypto fever hasn't spread through the NBA like in other sporting domains, there are people like Dinwiddie who have embraced the concept of digital currencies with open arms.
“I look at this whole time as like a big-ass reinvestment period. Why would I take $25,000 from Nike, which is $14,000 after taxes. If you're smart with what you do contract-wise, why wouldn't you try to make more?,” Dinwiddie says.
Whatever the critics may have against Bitcoin, one has to admit, the currency truly has made its mark across a wide array of investment circles.