Despite appearances, Chad Johnson wasn’t all about the glitz and glam. He transitioned into fame and fortune by thinking smarter, not harder.
The former star NFL wide receiver admitted he saved money by flying Spirit Airlines and wearing fake jewelry from Claire’s early in his career.
“Fly private? I ain’t flying private,” he said on a Shannon Sharpe’s “Club Shay Shay” podcast. “Put me on Spirit. Exit row. Window seat. That’s all I need,” Johnson explained. “As long as I get from point A to point B. I don’t need private.”
Johnson estimated he saved 83% of his salary in making shrewd moves, like living at the Bengals facility as a rookie, among other things.
“I never brought real anything when I was playing. Never,” he said. “What was the point? I went to Claire’s. For what? What am I doing it for? The women are going to deal with you anyway, because of who you are, and then the other women, who are really doing their homework done Googled how much you making already. Why am I buying a $50,000 watch, $80,000 dollar watch?”
Johnson, 45, who was a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro in his 11-year NFL career, says he wasn’t perfect, and told Sharpe that he didn’t get caught up in material things.
“If you can get to a point in your career where your name becomes bigger than anything you can purchase, there’s your value,” Johnson, who once changed his surname to “Ochocinco,” told Sharpe.
Instead, Johnson became somewhat known for giving generous tips to waiters and waitresses and engaging fans in video games.
“Everybody is caught up in image and looking a certain way and being rich. It’s me. It’s pointless,” he said with a shrug. “You know how hard it’s to live like that all the time, consistently, and be fly every day?”
Johnson primarily spent his career in Cincinnati with one year in New England. He finished his career with 766 catches for 11,059 yards and 67 receiving touchdowns.
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