Man of The Year 2010

Control your Cash NOT our man of the year

Won't send us a pic? Then you get a police sketch.

Picking a Man of the Year before the year is over is senseless, but that doesn’t stop every media outlet from doing it. At Control Your Cash, we can buck convention while remaining literal. We don’t give an award for Man of The First 11 Months of 2010 and Maybe December of 2009 If Anyone Can Remember Back That Far. Nominations opened on January 1 and closed Friday.

Here’s our winner: Brandon of Indiana. He lives what appears to be an upper-middle class life on a barely middle-class income, and isn’t incurring debt in the process. We devoted 3 posts to him last year, which is even more than we devoted to the stupidity of receiving income tax refunds. Read his captivating and inspiring story, CYC’s first trilogy.

Awarding the prize was a tough decision. The incumbent, Bob from Las Vegas, did nothing to disgrace himself. Nor did runner-up Brandon Jennings, one of the most underpaid players in the NBA but a guy who knows the value of a buck. Brandon of Indiana didn’t accept our interview request, and we didn’t bother trying to reach Jennings, but since he’s a public figure we can at least assemble the workings of his profile.

Young Money tattoo

He's not kidding

Jennings was born in Compton, CA to unmarried parents and never went to college, making him the kind of person whom the media hopes develops a crack habit so they can make an example of and pity him. But Jennings doesn’t need your pity. He’s too busy enjoying self-determination.

In 2006, under pressure from major colleges, the NBA initiated a shortsighted rule that prohibits high school players from immediately jumping to the league. The colleges, after all, provide most of the raw material that the NBA turns into slick entertainment. This rule made sense, because the league was being overrun by underachieving, fundamentally unsound, lazy, immature, obscure players who’d never gone to college and would never win anything or craft any kind of legacy in the pros. You know, losers like Kobe Bryant (Lower Merion HS, Philadelphia, ’96), Kevin Garnett (Farragut Academy, Chicago, ’95), LeBron James (St. Vincent-St. Mary, Akron, ’03), Jermaine O’Neal (I’m getting tired of looking up their high school names), Tracy McGrady (ditto)…you get the idea. Carpenters and auto technicians don’t need to go to college, nor do baseball and hockey players, but it’s the End of the Republic if basketball players don’t. Because Division I college athletic programs are all about enriching students’ minds, and not about exploiting those students for as much revenue as possible while paying them the laughable pittance of room and board.

The NBA rule stipulates that incoming players be at least 19 and a year removed from high school. So Brandon Jennings, like every other high schooler who’d chosen basketball as a profession and spent his teenage years dedicating himself to that goal, was stuck in the position of not being able to find an apprenticeship that paid him as much as possible. Until he found a loophole.

While the rule says you have to be out of high school for a year, it doesn’t say what continent you have to live on. Jennings moved to Italy and played professionally there. He returned to the United States a year later, was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, and in a refreshing display of iconoclasm, became the first highly-drafted player in history to skip the nonsense of the draft ceremony itself. No video exists of him sitting in the audience, sweating, waiting for his name to get called, hugging his extended family, putting on a baseball cap and showing fake affection to the NBA commissioner. Instead, he strolled in several picks after the Bucks had drafted him.

The result? First-team all rookie, the youngest player in history to score 50 points in a game, and now, at 21, he’s driving a $26,000 car. It’s that combination of irreverence, excellence, self-determination and frugality that makes us proud to call Brandon Jennings our Control Your Cash Man of the Year runner-up.

**This post is featured in the Carnival of Wealth #20**

**Also feature in the Carnival of Personal Finance #292**

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Greg McFarlane. Greg McFarlane said: Thanks for your submissions. The Control Your Cash 2010 Man of the Year is http://controlyourcash.com/2011/01/03/man-of-the-year-2010/ […]

  2. […] you may want to consider this new year to make your life better.”Control your Cash presents Man of The Year 2010 posted at Control Your Cash, saying, “Read the captivating and inspiring story of Control […]

  3. […] year we choose an honoree who embodies the Control Your Cash principles. For instance, here’s last year’s. The award itself is nothing physical, just a commendation here on CYC. Winning doesn’t even […]

  4. […] mindset. Previous Control Your Cash Men of the Year have included a presidential candidate, a guy whom we never met yet who managed to lead an interesting and productive life despite making little money, and a CYC […]