The Rock's 10 Cardinal Rules For Living Large, As Told By 'Ballers'

by Julian Sonny

If there's one thing the first season of HBO's "Ballers" taught us, it's life in and around the NFL is too lit.

But living in the fast lane and putting your trust and, most importantly, your money into the wrong hands will leave you flat on your ass.

That's when a guy like Spencer Strasmore (played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) comes in handy by telling you exactly what to do.

Adjusting to life after a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, Spence is still trying figure things out for himself all while transitioning into his new career as a financial advisor for some of the same guys he used to line up next to on Sundays. And he learns it's not so easy.

The parallels between the show and real life are raw, authentic and definitely the realest depictions of life in the league there's ever been on television. If you pay attention, you might just learn something, too.

1. "If it drives, flies, floats or f*cks -- lease it!"

In the very first episode of the season, Strasmore dropped some real knowledge on real-life NFL stars DeSean Jackson and Antonio Brown.

With 80 percent of NFL players going broke after retirement, he cannot stress enough you should never buy anything that loses value. The Rock's character said, "Never buy a depreciating asset."

That means leasing you cars, planes, boats and even women.

The financial lessons throughout the course of the show are direct reflections of real-life sports stars and show the inner workings of how they are handled, or mismanaged.

2. You wanna take care of the people closest to you, but take care of you first.

Spencer's marquee client, Vernon Littlefield, is a defensive tackle with a lot of talent and an even bigger heart.

One of his biggest faults, however, is entrusting his childhood best friend, Reggie, to help manage some of his business affairs.

While Vernon makes it a point to take care of everyone around him, he forgets about the most important thing: himself.

Because of that, he puts trust in people who are just trying to take advantage of him. It's that type of sh*t that, over time, could lead to his demise.

3. Provide that respect, or learn to protect your neck.

In business, sometimes you need to flex your muscle -- especially when it comes to dealing with a self-entitled f*ckboy like Reggie.

If someone is ever going to be disrespectful, he or she better damn well be ready to deal with the consequences that come with dealing with a real one.

Business is politics, and if you get stepped over once, it's going to happen again. Don't let it happen the first time.

4. There's nothing wrong with flirting; it's healthy. Just make sure it's not with a teammate's mom.

Another one of Spence's clients and good friends, Ricky Jerret, is an equally talented as he is flashy receiver who's always in trouble during the offseason.

That includes getting into fights and messing around with girls when he has a faithful woman who's already putting up with his bullsh*t.

There's nothing wrong with flirting with other women, but getting caught smashing a groupie in a bathroom or having an affair with your teammate's mother is going overboard.

That's the type of sh*t that affects your personal life and interferes with your professional life.

5. Face your problems and chew your medicine like a man.

While dealing with the problems of his new clients, Spencer Strasmore is trying to cope with his.

One of the biggest issues forever haunting him in his post-career is the possibility of a life-threatening head injury that leaves him with headaches and night terrors.

For a good while, he'd hide the pain and take medication (chewing on his pills like an animal) until finally he decided to put his health over any other problem he was having.

In the end, he had an MRI and was completely fine, which was a giant weight lifted off his shoulders, but Spence still probably chews on those pills like Flintstones Vitamins.

6. Start taking your life seriously before it's too late.

In the very opening scene of "Ballers," Spencer's old teammate and good friend, Rodney, lost his life after living too fast and having it finally catch up to him.

Pro athletes, especially, can get jaded with the lifestyle and begin to surround themselves with the wrong people just for the sake of partying. It's not until sh*t goes down, however, when they realize it's too late.

All the good times have a way of making a man feel invincible. But when that invincibility runs out, where will you be?

7. Monetize your friendships, and build with people you believe in.

Business is all about using your network to increase your net worth.

For that reason alone, Spencer Strasmore is thrusted into the world of financial advising, targeting his high-profile friends as clientele.

By monetizing his friendships, he makes the investors happy, rakes in more deals and, because he already has a connection with his clients, he's truly looking out for their best interests.

8. It's never too late to chase your passions.

One of Spence's best friends is recently retired Super Bowl champion Charles Greane, who has the itch to get back on the field throughout the entire season.

While adjusting to life after your prime isn't always easy, if you know you have some unfinished business and can perform at a high level, nothing should stop you. Especially if you used to be great.

9. No matter how much you give, they never stop asking for more.

The life brings in all types of people who weren't there before, and they'll fill your head with all types of fake sh*t.

But no matter how generous you are, as in the case of Vernon Littlefield, it'll never be enough to satiate their hunger for your success and everything that comes with it.

For most pro athletes, it's a part of their everyday lives, and how much they decide to give up dictates how much they actually lose.

10. Be the last one anybody, especially your friends, can count on.


While Dwayne Johnson's character has his own difficulties in his life, he realizes no one's there to feel sorry for him.

It's up to him to create a legacy, even after football, and ensure success for his own sake.

By financially advising his old friends, he has a sense of pride in actually looking for their best interests and making sure they avoid mistakes he once made.

Spencer Strasmore is the type of character to put himself before others, but he has the vision to understand what he's doing will pay off in the end.