The 2022 NBA Draft isn't until next week, but Purdue star Jaden Ivey is already mapping out his future in the league.
Ivey, a first-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-American selection this past season, is one of five draft hopefuls participating in the iShares Future Baller$. The venture, which was announced by BlackRock this morning, is designed to help athletes "achieve long-term financial well-being."
"With this program, I think I can set up my future successfully and invest my money in the right ways," Ivey told The Spun during a recent interview. "I think that's the most important thing.
"I know once I get in the league, I'm going to have money, but I'm not going to play in the NBA forever. Investing my money in the right ways, so that when I'm done playing I can have generational wealth to support my family, I think that's the most important thing."
Along with Ivey, Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin, Ohio State's E.J. Liddell, Memphis' Jalen Duren and Jaden Hardy of G League Ignite are also taking part in the iShares Future Baller$ program.
Eventually, the initiative might be expanded to other sports, but for now, it is being tailored for these incoming NBA rookies.
"We're empowering them to invest however they want," iShares Future Baller$ coach and personal finance expert Lauren Simmons told The Spun last week. "I am coming on as a financial coach to help guide them, be their soundboard, talk them through whatever they want when it comes to investing and financing and try to paint a picture of what it is they're looking for long-term but also get an idea of what their relationship was to money growing up and what they're looking to create."
When we chatted with Ivey, we also touched base on a number of topics outside of his new financial endeavor, including his approach to the NBA Draft process, what teams he might fit best with and more.
Let's get started...
The Spun: All of the mock drafts have you as a lottery pick, so the draft process for you hasn't really been about convincing teams you're good enough for the league. It's more about proving you're worthy of a high pick. What was your approach to the draft process?
Jaden Ivey: Obviously, I have the highest ceiling of confidence in myself. I put a ton of work in. I think my game stands out. Obviously, I wanna go No. 1, but in reality, it's about the right fit. Whatever team thinks I'm the right fit for them, I'm just going to go with it.
I've dreamed of getting drafted my whole life, but another thing is you've got to put forth on the court. You've got to go hard and help an organization out. That's why they picked you.
The Spun: Are there any specific teams that you think you might end up going to or any places that might seem like a really good fit?
JI: I would love to go anywhere, but Detroit, my mom [Notre Dame head women's basketball coach Niele Ivey] played for the Detroit Shock in the WNBA. I've lived in the area and I know what it's like. Detroit [which picks fifth overall] could be an option.
The Pacers [who pick sixth], my mom played with the Indiana Fever. I'm kind of familiar with that organization. If they pick me on draft night it would be an honor. Just being from Indiana and living there my whole life, that would be amazing.
The Spun: Speaking of your mom and the draft process, how much has having a mom who has been a professional athlete and coaches at the Division I level helped you prepare for everything?
JI: I think the biggest thing is my mom is just a stress reliever. I can talk to her about anything I'm going through. She's going to tell me what I need to hear. I can always go back to her.
Growing up, it was always me and my mom. She's a single parent and what she's done to help me get to this point, I can't thank her enough.
The Spun: When you hear about the NFL Combine and the draft process there, there's always stories about teams asking prospects weird questions. Did you get any of that while you were preparing for the NBA Draft?
JI: I didn't really get any weird questions. I practiced for them, but I didn't get any ones that stood out.
The Spun: When you were growing up and even now, who are some guys that you modeled your game after?
JI: I would say I try to emulate Ja Morant's style of play. A little bit of Russell Westbrook. And I've been working on my midrange this summer and think I could really step up in that role as a good midrange shooter, like areas of Dwyane Wade and Michael Jordan. I feel like if I keep constantly improving that throughout my career, I could be one of those type of players.
The Spun: Who are the guys you're most looking forward to going up and testing yourself against in the NBA?
JI: Definitely Ja Morant, LeBron, some of the great players today. Steph Curry, Jayson Tatum, Paul George, all those guys. Honestly, I could name a lot that I've looked up to and watched. I'm looking forward to competing against all of them.
The Spun: You've been living and training out in California the last few months. How much of a difference has that been from what you're used to?
JI: It's been amazing. I've been living in Indiana my whole life and it's cold in Indiana a lot. Being in Cali is amazing. It's warm weather. Plus I get to wake up at 7 a.m. and get to work on basketball and do what I love to do.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.