The Caw: The Day Haloti Ngata Became A Millionaire

Ngata made more money in salary and bonuses than any other team-sport athlete, says Forbes.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 11:08 am | Categories: Ryan Mink, The Caw

Forbes says Haloti Ngata made more money in salary and bonuses than any other athlete playing a team sport in the past calendar year.

$37.1 miiiiiiillion dollars. That’s the figure the magazine has Ngata raking in after a large signing bonus and front-loaded five-year, $61 million contract. I’m usually not in the business of talking salaries, but since Forbes brought it up…

I was in the room when Ngata signed that contract. We chatted about it while the papers were being prepared in Ozzie Newsome’s office, and I’ll share the exchange we had.

I was asking Ngata how he felt about becoming a very rich man, but he turned it around on me.

I told him my mind was blown that I was only three months younger and still an intern while he probably wouldn’t ever have to worry about money again.

With a little smirk, but very genuinely, Ngata asked, “How’s that make you feel?”

I told him I wished I was also 6-foot-4, 330 pounds. Ngata chuckled.

The rest of the chat showed me more about the three-time Pro Bowler. He’s not all about the money.

One thing that blew me away was how nonchalant he was. You seriously couldn’t tell it was much different from any other hot September day. Look at the picture I took. The guy barely cracked a smile.

I, on the other hand, would have been jumping up and down on the table.

Ngata was just happy to provide for his family.

Remember, Ngata didn’t have a lot of money growing up. He also lost his mother to complications from diabetes and father in a truck-driving accident. So this was Ngata’s chance to help take care of his brothers, his wife and their baby son, Solomone.

I asked Haloti if he was going to make any big, immediate purchases. He shook his head and said he was planning to take his wife out for a nice dinner.

I guess the point of this is to show that dollar figures are just numbers. It didn’t change him that day, and it hasn’t since. Haloti Ngata is a real good person who just happens to be really rich … and crazy athletically gifted.

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