June 21, 2018 / 4:13 PM / 6 months ago

NBA draft prospect Bridges inks investment firm endorsement

Villanova Wildcats guard Mikal Bridges takes a shot against Alabama Crimson Tide forward Galin Smith in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena, Mar 17, 2018. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Villanova guard Mikal Bridges, who is expected to be among the first 10 players selected in Thursday’s National Basketball Association draft, has entered an endorsement deal that will pay him with an investment portfolio, the firm behind the deal told Reuters.

Wealthsimple, a digital investment service for millennials, will give the 21-year-old a $50,000 ETF portfolio, which it said could be worth a quarter of a million dollars in 30 years, as part of its effort to highlight the importance of long-term financial planning.

The projected value of the portfolio is based on a 5.5 percent average annual rate of return, the company said on Wednesday, although its value could also drop if the market declines.

In return, Bridges will create a video for the company’s “Money Diaries” series, which features athletes like Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala and Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin discussing money management.

While athlete endorsements from shoe and sports drink companies are common, the Toronto-based financial firm said it wanted to enter the fray to help athletes navigate their unique financial challenges.

“Professional athletes face an extreme version of the financial uncertainty everyone faces to some extent,” Rudy Adler, co-founder of Wealthsimple, told Reuters.

“A rookie NBA player like Mikal can’t know for sure how much money he’ll make or how long his career will be, but he can make smart decisions now to take care of himself later.”

Bridges did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Dan Grebler

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