The First Big Pay Day: Ivica Zubac Finds His Place In The League
There are a couple of big moments an NBA player never forgets: the moment they were drafted, their best game ever, the moment they won a championship, and their first big pay day.
For many NBA players, the moment they receive their first big pay day is the biggest moment of relief in their life. Yes, that same relieving feeling comes during the draft, but there's no guarantee a player will have a place in the league just because they're drafted.
This is a new series analyzing that pivotal experience in an NBA player's life. What was their reaction to their first big pay day? Who did they immediately contact? What was the first thing they purchased?
During this first analysis, we'll be taking a look at a player who just received their first big pay check - Ivica Zubac.The Contract: 4-years, $28 million. Previous cumulative income: $3,892,427 over 3 years 319.52% increase from last season this season
The first thing that entered Zubac's mind with a pay increase like this was family, both his future and present.
'It was crazy. I thought to myself that I'm finally going to take care of me and my family for the rest of our lives. When you look at it better, it's not as simple as that.' - Ivica Zubac
The reason why it wasn't as simple as Zubac thought, is because LA is an expensive city. That immediate thought made him want to work even harder. Despite that, the biggest feeling Zubac felt was relief.
'A year ago I didn't know if I was going to be in the league, because I didn't play much. I didn't know what was going to happen with my career. Knowing that I was going to get this amount of money, and that I was going to be in the NBA this many years, it was a sign of relief.' - Ivica Zubac
Throughout his entire contract negotiation process, Zubac kept his family involved. He told them all of the numbers that were being thrown around, the length of the contract, and when it would all happen.
'My family couldn't even imagine that when I started playing basketball, I'd be signing a $28 million deal. To them, it was about whatever made me happy. They were happy with my rookie deal, all of this was just a bonus to them.' - Ivica Zubac
Surprisingly, there weren't any tears streaming during the contract signing from the Croatian seven footer - the only tears came from his fiance. 'I signed it in my house,' Zubac said. 'It was a person from the Clippers that I never met before, but I didn't even care who it was. I was just happy to sign the contract.'
'I was just like 'damn, I was dreaming about this since I was little.' I signed a 4 year deal and am going to be a big key for one of the best teams in the NBA. I thought to myself, 'I made it.' ' - Ivica Zubac
The first thing Zubac wanted to buy with his new contract? A house. The next thing that Zubac wanted to buy with his pay day? A nice watch. There aren't any crazy expenditures he plans on splurging on, other than wanting a new a car.
While it's not the case for most NBA players, Zubac was fortunate that his family back home has mostly taken care of themselves. He didn't have to buy them a house, but he plans on making sure they live comfortably. As is the case for every NBA player, he did have some random cousins suddenly come out of the woodwork. 'That's always a part of it,' Zubac said. 'I didn't have that happen much, just a few times. There's nothing you can do about that.'
The rest of the NBA season is an open canvas for Ivica Zubac. He's playing on one of the best teams in the league, with more responsibility than he's ever had before. No matter what though, the moment he signed his first big pay day, will always be remembered as the moment 'he made it.'