When football star Alfred Morris makes his way into work this fall for games against other teams, looking for a parking spot among what I imagine will be luxury SUVs, chauffeur driven limousines, and perhaps a solid gold train, he will likely be driving the same 1991 Mazda 626 he bought halfway through college from his pastor for almost nothing.
A quick check shows the car would have a Kelley Blue Book Value of around $1,000.
It’s not what you would expect from the National Football League’s second leading rusher in 2012 — behind only the inimitable Adrian Peterson — but everything about this young man is so different from the image of the spoiled, bad boy athlete we hear about way too often. When asked in a recent Washington Post article why he didn’t get something nicer now that he’s doing very well at football, Morris said:
‘Why would I waste money on another car? My needs are met.’
His teammates verify that he drives the car to work everyday when it’s running, and take it as a sign that he really is something special. Instead, what does he use the hundreds of thousands — soon to be millions — of dollars that he makes?
He could afford another car, but prefers to save and help his family.
It was tough to discern the source of this much frugality and humility until I found an older Post article in which he credits it to his upbringing:
‘I look at my mom with seven boys, raising us,’ said Morris, the fourth boy in a family with no girls. ‘She went back and got her AA and her Bachelors, and it took about seven years to do that, and she took another couple years to get her Masters in special education. So, it just let me know that, all the things she had on top of the school work, it’s nothing too hard. If you really want it, just go out there and reach it.
‘And just watching my dad,’ he continued. ‘He was his siblings’ parents for various reasons. He was working construction and going to school, doing stuff like this, buying his brothers and sisters school supplies and school clothes. Just that hard work was instilled in us when we were growing up. I’m just trying to go out there and make them proud no matter what I do. I’m just thankful for them. They’re the fuel for my fire.’
Incredible. Just another great reminder that parents’ examples are still a big key to their children’s success.
Unlike a lot of other professional athletes I wonder about, I think Alfred Morris is going to be just fine.
Jones, Mike. The Washington Post. “Redskins’ Alfred Morris: An unlikely star now driving in the fast lane,” October 6, 2012. http://wapo.st/SDg61b
Jones, Mike. The Washington Post. “Redskins RB Alfred Morris: Parents’ example is key to his success,” September 4, 2012. http://wapo.st/RH9QPR