Video transcript: The Gronk is having fun—and giving back

[progressive music playing]

Welcome, everyone to this live recording of Kneading Dough today presented by Uninterrupted in partnership with JPMorgan Chase. About to get started here in a few minutes, but before we do, just a few housekeeping notes. Since this is live, we ask if everyone can please silence their cellphones. Also, because this presentation won’t air for several months, we ask if everyone can please refrain from posting anything or tweeting out any material discussed today. And before we introduce the host and our guest for today, I’d like to introduce head of corporate partner marketing at JPMorgan Chase, Lois Backon.

[APPLAUSE]

LOIS BACKON:

Thank you, Matt. Hello, everybody. I just wanted to start off with some thank-yous first to the LA Forum. The partnership with them is just incredible and they have worked so nicely with us to build out the set and have all of you here today. So, thank you, LA Forum. Then, of course the Uninterrupted and robot teams who we have been partnering on the entire Kneading Dough series. And then you, my valued colleagues and our valued customers at JPMorgan Chase. Thank you so much for being here. At JPMorgan Chase, we like to say that we are not customer-focused, we are customer-obsessed.

LOIS BACKON:

And we also have a brand promise, which is that we want to have our clients make the most of their money. At about a year and a half ago, Maverick Carter, who you’ll meet in a minute, and I were talking, and we really felt like athletes have an unbelievable story to tell. And they also seem to have the attention of, not only us older consumers, but a lot of the younger consumers. So, we came up with this idea of having a series called Kneading Dough. Unbeknownst to me and my old age, Kneading Dough are lyrics from one of Jay-Z’s songs called Dead Presidents and dead presidents are on dollar bills, and I guess a lot of high school athletes need dough, N-E-E-D, and then when they make it to the big time, they are kneading their dough.

LOIS BACKON:

So, we thought that it would be really interesting to take that kind of concept and have open and honest conversations with athletes about money. And as we looked a little bit further, we have an institute at JPMorgan Chase, we found that the-- the vast majority of people do not like talking to their friends or family about money. They find it’s almost a taboo subject, something that you get judged upon, and here we are having these intimate, candid conversations with athletes

LOIS BACKON:

And what we’re trying to do with this from JPMorgan Chase’s perspective is translate these conversations into topics that these athletes have spoken about into financial education for the mass consumer. And it’s really been working. We’ve had great reception to the content. In season one, which was last year, we conducted five interviews with the likes of Draymond Green, LeBron James, Serena Williams. All you have to do is google Kneading Dough Uninterrupted or KneadingDough@Chase.com and you could see all of these interviews. They’re hour-long interviews, so you know, get comfortable. And there’s beverages outside afterwards. And please don’t go to the bathroom or do it very quietly.

LOIS BACKON:

attend all of those interviews last year and found that they were just extraordinarily insightful, and intimate, and really powerful, as, as we move to season two, we decided with the Uninterrupted team, let’s open it up to live audiences. And this is our third live audience taping. Our first one was in October. We interviewed Lindsey Vonn and the interview was released today so you could check it out. It’s already you know, getting coverage with CNBC and Business Insider and all these other great publications. Our next interview was with the Bennett brothers, Michael and Martellus.

LOIS BACKON:

One plays for the Patriots, the other plays for the Seattle Seahawks. They consider football their side hustle. hey both have you know, really interesting business on the side and we did that at Sundance with a live audience, and here we are for our third. Live interview, that is. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce first my partner and friend, Mav Carter, who is the CEO of Uninterrupted and SpringHill Entertainment. LeBron James and Mav-- hey, Mav.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Hello, hello, hello, hello. Hello.

[APPLAUSE]

LOIS BACKON:

Mav and LeBron formed SpringHill Entertainment and Uninterrupted in 2008, and Uninterrupted is just growing like, wildly. And now, for our very, very, very special guest-- is he there? There he is. I’d like to introduce Rob Gronkowski from the New England Patriots tight end.

[APPLAUSE]

LOIS BACKON:

Listen, a little bit about Rob before Mav and Rob start their conversation. I, I googled you, so I know you’re a Taurus. And I’m a Taurus too. We’re about two days apart in our birthdays. 28 years old. Went to Arizona. One of five children, all boys. All five kids went into professional sports, four into the NFL and one into baseball. I wanna meet your dad. And your dad’s the one who needs to write a book on how you do this with like, five incredible boys. A two-time Super Bowl champion. A five-time Pro-Bowler. In 2014, he was named the comeback player of the year due to an injury. Had a couple of injuries.

LOIS BACKON:

I’m really psyched that you got to play in the Super Bowl this year. A number of endorsements with Nike, Monster, Tide, Dunkin’ Donuts, and has a company with his family called Gronk Fitness, and a number of other businesses. One of the really interesting things that I think is just a, a highlight as to why this is going to be such an interesting conversation, not only that Mav is a great interviewer, but in 2015, Rob wrote a book called It’s Good to be a Gronk. And in that book, in that book he says to this day - that was in 2015 so I’m sure we’ll find out a little more about this - he hadn’t touched one dime of his signing bonus or his money from the NFL.

LOIS BACKON:

So, this is gonna be a really interesting conversation about money. And I turn it over to Mav and Rob.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Thank you, Lois. Obviously, thank you the Chase team. Thank you, guys for all being here to watch an episode of Kneading Dough. On Kneading Dough, we really try and make it a conversation, so what you’ll be observing is basically a conversation that Rob and I may have had in our home but you guys get to tune in and watch, and then the people who will watch later get to watch. Happy to have Rob here as a guest. Rob and I have known each other quite a long time and he is a very, very special and interesting guy. As Lois was saying, Rob, you have a great family. I’ve met, I think all of your brothers.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I think you have.

MAVERICK CARTER:

I think I’ve met them all and I know Mr. Gronk very well, who is the most interesting Gronk to me. (LAUGHS) He is. I hope that when I am his age, I have the energy and look and feel like him. But obviously, you guys grew up all boys. Take me back to what it was like being in Buffalo in the Gronk family when you were a kid.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes. I got four brothers, three older, one younger. And growing up in our household was just mayhem. It was mayhem. It was mayhem 24/7, right when we woke up to right when we were going to bed. And it was competition. There was competition 24/7 too. I mean, yes, we are having fun with each other. We all support each other. We all had each other’s backs. We go out to the corner street, go and see our neighbors, play with our neighbors, but we, we were a pack. Like, if someone messed with one of our brothers, it was a pack. You’re messing with us. But inside the house, you’re messing with a brother, you’re on your own. [LAUGHTER]

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Even our parents let it go. We eventually fought so much and had so many battles, that my mom used to just sit there. And she had her friends over, and we would start brawling and my, my mom’s friends would be like, “Are you gonna do anything about it?” and my mom would be like, “Nope. I just let them beat the crap out of each other, and then they settle it themselves.” So, that’s how, that’s how we figured things out, because my mom just let it go eventually and it was just mayhem all the time.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And did your dad encourage the competition?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

At first, he always, you know-- he, he’ll always encourage you, definitely. He loved the competition. He loved seeing us play mini sticks, basketball in the backyard. My favorite was backyard baseball, you know, the-- in the base. We had a perfect amount of field with a nice fence for the home runs, but he always encouraged the competition, but he had one rule.

MAVERICK CARTER:

What was the rule?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

The one rule was never-- you can never, ever-- no matter what happened, you can never, ever throw a punch in the face or throw a punch at the nuts. [OVERLAPPING]

MAVERICK CARTER:

You can throw a punch to the body and slam (You can-- yes.), just no punches to the face.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

No face, and to the nuts. So, every-- everything else went.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Everything else went. That, that’s actually a good rule because everything else is fair.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, everything else is fair.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And, and what does your dad - I met your dad and spent some time with him - what did he do, do for a living?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

He started at fitness equipment about 25 years ago. And so, it was high-end fitness equipment to commercial and retail throughout the, the region around Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, a couple of other ones, Pennsylvania. And he’s doing great. He has 25 stores, about 20 to 25 stores. He’s on his 25th year. And since then, ’92, he’s always sold high-end fitness equipment, high-end treadmills like Precor, all that good stuff, and then we’ve branched off ever since I got to the League and my brothers got to the League, we branched off and we started-- well, throughout his company, we started Gronk Fitness too, where we sell accessories throughout his company too. So, it was quite—[OVERLAPPING]

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] It was, it was funny when I met you, I’m from Akron, Ohio, of course. And I knew G&G Fitness because there was one not far from my house growing up, but then to find out it was your dad’s, who did it. What, he started himself, or he had a partner, right?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

His partner was his brother. (Got it.) named Glenn. That’s how it started, Gordy and Glenn, so G&G Fitness. And some, somewhere along, his brother found something else to do and he just took it over, and they just made a mutual agreement. I’m not really sure the exact story what happened, but then my dad took it all over, but they started from scratch right from the very beginning. I think it was like one little square-foot room that they rented out on one of the main busy streets, and that’s where they started.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

That’s unbelievable, did your dad as a kid teach you guys - obviously, he was teaching you to be competitors, but did he also teach you guys about money and finance and business? Did he talk to you guys much about that?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes. I mean, it wasn’t too much to an extent, but my parents were always great. They were always there, just supporting us, not just supporting us through athletics, but they hounded us on the schooling. My mom, my father, they hounded us on the schooling. And what’s one big thing is, you’re never gonna make it unless if you can get through the school, unless if you put that first. So, they kind of helped path, paved that way so we can obviously do what we had to do in order so you can compete every single time. Because I see many, many athletes, they have the most athletic ability out there, but they drop out in college, they drop out in high school and it’s like, yo, man, you don’t understand.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Like, you’re the best player. You just have to get, get a B in class (A C, yeah) get a D and they’re gonna pass you, but you’re not eligible because of that. So, my parents definitely strived that into us which helped us out throughout our life.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Yeah. And your dad has talked about-- his dream was to get all, all the brothers, all his kids, scholarships. And you guys, you did that. All of you got scholarships, right?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes. Yes, we did. My oldest brother, who started it off, he actually walked on. He was the first, he, he was the first one.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Oh, Gordy walked on as a baseball player.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

He walked on as a baseball player, and after his first year, they gave him a full scholarship. (Unbelievable) So, he did hit.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And I think it unbelievable thing was also, not only did you guys all get scholarships but you’ve all played professional.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, we’ve all played professional too. My oldest brother played in the minor league system for the Angels for a couple of years. And then the next four, we all played in the NFL at some point.

MAVERICK CARTER:

That’s, that is incredible when you think about it. To think about that work ethic and that type of insight that your dad had that, “I’m gonna make all five of my boys…” Dude, did your dad instill that work ethic in you guys to like, work your ass off, work hard?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I would say so. Definitely 100%. I mean, the way I see him work out now, he’s like, 58, still grinds every single day, still does his yoga class, still hits the gym all the time. He’s still taking his shirt off when we’re at the house like, “Look how jacked I am.”

MAVERICK CARTER:

(LAUGHS) Exactly.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I’m like-- now, I, I’m like dad, now I see where I get it.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] And how old is he? (58) See, I wanna be like him when I’m 58. (Yes.) I’ve seen your dad with his shirt off. He, he still looks great.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

He looks great. He loves showing off to, you know, the younger ladies, you know, “Wow, your dad looks so good,” blows his head up.

MAVERICK CARTER:

(LAUGHS) Exactly. And, and then when you, when you were coming out of high school, you obviously had a lot-- how many scholarship offers did you have? (About 25) About 25. And what made you pick Arizona? Obviously, you went from all the way from the East Coast to Arizona. What was that, that--?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] Alright. The way I picked Arizona was, my brothers were going through the recruiting process. And I was a sophomore in high school and my oldest-- my second-- third-oldest brother was a senior in high school. So, we’re playing together and he was going on the recruiting visits. And my dad was like, “Hey, you should come along, Rob,” like, “A lot of schools are interested in you too. They’re gonna be-- you should just come along to see how the process goes.” It’s kinda like my dad was introducing it already before everyone else so I could get a head start. (Smart way.) So, he’s like, “Just come on the trip,” and I, you know, in high school when you look at these colleges, your mind is blown. You see them on TV, you see the stadiums, you see the facilities, so I’m like, “Heck, yeah. I’m going on the trip. Do I get to miss a day at school too?” So, yeah, I get to miss Friday too.

MAVERICK CARTER:

(LAUGHS) It’s a, yeah, a double win. Yeah.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

So, Arizona, my-- like, back to my dad’s fitness equipment, his buddy he met at a convention for fitness, was an alumni at Arizona. (Got it.) So, that alumni, they became really good friends.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] Was Arizona recruiting you?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

They, they were. They were recruiting my brother because of my dad’s friend. They were just friends. He’s like, “Oh, you gotta come to Arizona. Big alumni.” So, my brother was going out there for a visit and that’s when my dad’s like, “Come out for the visit too.” So, my sophomore year in high school, I went on the visit with my brother Chris, who’s going to Arizona. And I just went on the visit, saw the campus and everything my sophomore year, but it wasn’t even for me, I was just tagging along. But I was looking around the school like, “Dang, this school is like, amazing. Like, I love this place. I love the atmosphere, the weather, the campus.” It’s just beautiful out there and ever since then, after my brother had graduated, he, he, he went to Maryland though. He loved it there [OVERLAPPING]

MAVERICK CARTER:

He didn’t go to Arizona, he picked Maryland?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

He went to, he went to Maryland. Then my recruiting came and I just always had Arizona at the back of my mind and ever since they saw me too with my brother, my dad obviously introduced like, “Hey, this is Rob. He, he can be on the broad [SOUNDS LIKE].” Here’s how they film too and everything like, down the road, so then when it came down to my turn in getting recruited, they came at me hard and they offered. They were my first offer too, right away when you [OVERLAPPING]-

MAVERICK CARTER:

Really? Well, that’s smart.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[CROSSTALK] get offered like your junior year or something. They’re my first offer and I just fell in love with them on that trip. So, that’s how I got there. And then eventually, the brother who did go there on the trip his senior year, he left Maryland and joined me at Arizona. So, it [OVERLAPPING] worked out well.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] Oh, did he really? Oh, so he came and played when-- what did you have when you--?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

He played two years with me.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Two years. (Yes.) You guys, you guys must’ve had a blast.

ROBGRONKOWSKI:

We had a blast.

MAVERICK CARTER:

I heard Arizona is a fun school.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, it's great.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Always a great time. And--

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

There’s obviously some Arizonian in here.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Anybody from Arizona in here?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

They’re down. Yeah. There’s gotta be.

MAVERICK CARTER:

(LAUGHS) There’s always people from Arizona, right? Your dad is also today, he’s your manager. He help, he runs all your business. How does that dynamic work with you and your dad? Because this is a family business. You guys really are a family business.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, it's great. It’s, it’s great having them involved with a lot of things that I do. Just seeing where he started throughout his life, where he brought his business, the fitness equipment business, and brought it to where it is now, 20, 25 stores retail, doing all the commercials for all the college programs out there and for anything else. I mean, it’s just great to have someone there that-- who brought me through, through my life, who’s helped me to get to where I am, to be able to have someone that I can trust from the very, very beginning and just help me get through the process and, and lead me in the right direction. And it, it works great. I mean, he’s not hands-on. He’s not forcing anything ever and he’s never has forced anything.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And he lets you make the final call in everything?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

He lets me make the final call. It's just like anything else and I think it’s great. I mean, colleges, he wanted me to go to Syracuse obviously.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Yeah, of course.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] I had-- but it was the final call that we always had and he just leads us in the right direction and gets us there and shows us what we need to do to get there.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And does he, does he-- for you, he probably lays out all the facts, “Here’s everything, Rob. Here…” and then he probably gives you his opinion then you made yours. Is that how it works?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, definitely. He lays down the facts, the process. I remember going through the recruiting process, he used to say, “Write down your four schools that you love, that you like, that you want your top four. Write the pros. Write the cons. Weigh them all out. Weigh the options out and then pick from there.”

MAVERICK CARTER:

Golly, that’s incredible because you know, on Kneading Dough, part of the reason we started this show was the fact that everyone always talks about athletes go broke, athletes screw up their money. And I was always saying that’s a bit of an unfair statement because athletes have a different dynamic than the rest of the people. Other people make the most money later in life when they’re experienced and know what to do. Athletes have to make these decisions with their finances at a very young age. And a lot of athletes, as you know, don’t come from a family like yours, with a dad who’s an entrepreneur and understood it. So, when you walked into the NFL, into the Patriot’s locker room, did you notice that? Like, there were a lot of athletes that were young like you who had to make these decisions with money, but they didn’t necessarily have a dad like yours to help them?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Well, going into my rookie year, I mean, I was young. I was 20 years old when I was drafted in the NFL, so I couldn’t really say. I was looking at these other players that were a lot older than me. They all looked like very professional players. They all-- they looked like guys that I felt like they already have everything and planned. Even if they were two years older than me, they were already established over a year. When you’re a rookie, you’re looking at everyone in the locker room like, it’s like, whoa, they got everything established (Of course.) You have no clue what’s going on. You have no clue what to expect.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] You don’t know-- do you even know what to expect?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah. So, some of the guys that-- I have no clue, maybe they spent all their money or didn’t. I have no clue. Like, the older guys that I was looking up to, I, I’m not really sure about that, but I used to look at them all like, wow, they’re established, they got everything, they got everything in order, and I just had no clue. As a rookie, you don’t know anything going into the NFL.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And did the other rookies that-- did you-- was there a lot of rookies in your class [OVERLAPPING]?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes. Yes. There was about 15 rookies in every class.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And, and the, the other rookies, did you guys have conversations about like, what are we gonna expect? What are you doing? How to deal with this? Shit, this is coming fast. Because most people understand, not only do you gotta make financial decision and business decisions, but Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels’ playbook I’m sure is a big-ass playbook. You gotta learn that fast. [OVERLAPPING]

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] That, that’s a, that’s a business itself, right there.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] Exactly. Exactly.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, no. You got meetings, they have meetings for you in NFL to set up. Financial meetings, real-estate meetings, all that type of stuff to get you settled in so you feel comfortable of what’s going on. And the players within too, all the rookies within talk to each other too, “Hey, what’re you doing?” “How-- what are you doing about that?” “What are you doing about this? Who’s your guy?” and all that. That’s--

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] So, you share information.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

So, it’s kind of like, you’re rookies, you’re, you’re a pack when you’re a rookie. You’re all together. You’re all sharing information with each other. You’re learning about each other. You’re learning how they’re doing it. Because those are guys, I mean, I-- you, you need a lot of help from older guys but I’m saying like, to really get help from older guys, I mean, at that level is, it’s a little different. 20, 21, 22-year old is going up talking to a 28-year old that’s established in everything is, is kind of a little frightening too when you first get in the League.

MAVERICK CARTER:

I’m sure. And plus, the 28-year old is at a different point in their career in their life. (Yes.) They probably have wives and kids. It’s like a total different (exactly) They’re, they’re thinking about the world a different way than a 21-year old does.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, exactly.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And, and to your point, as you said, the, the play-- the New England playbook is a, is learning a business in its own, and you gotta do it fast. Some people have missed that about rookies. You get drafted in April and you gotta be ready to go in July. It happens very quickly.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, it does happen very quickly. I mean, here’s a story. I mean, my rookie year, the playbook was, was insane to me. I mean, I was looking at that thing like, wow, how does anyone ever learn this? There’s a couple of guys in the rookie class that were just picking it up like this and I’m like, “Well, I came from Arizona.” Our playbook was easy, I would say kind of easier, a lot easier than going to NFL with the Patriots and to tell you the truth, my first like, eight games my rookie year, they wanna put me out on the field and I was destroying in-- not destroying in practice, but I was doing well. I was doing decent.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

And I wasn’t really getting that many balls. I had like 15 catches to the first eight games in my first rookie year and I’m just sitting there like, oh, look, I gotta be on the field. Like, I can, I can do work. And then I, I talked to a couple of the coaches and they’re like, “We can’t trust you.” I was like, “What do you mean--?”

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] They straight up said it like that?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah. They straight up said it. I was like, “What do you mean you can’t trust me? Like, I can ball.

MAVERICK CARTER:

I can ball, yeah.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I can ball, like, I’m 21 years old and I’m still supposed to be in college. I’m like, “I can ball. What do you mean?” And they’re like, “No, we can’t trust you. Have you ever-- you, you do 10 plays in a row, Rob. You, you messed up your assignment one or two times. We can’t have that.” And I ooo

MAVERICK CARTER:

And New England wants 10 out of 10.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] They want 10 out of 10 (Jesus.) and I’m like, alright. Alright. I see. So, I wasn’t really catching on still like, Oh, okay. Still messing up in practice,” and then about week eight, finally boom, the playbook, just starting another time, going through other reps, boom, it just clicked. And then the practice field clicked. I showed 15 out of 15 plays all correct, doing the right form, doing the right assignments. And boom, ever since like, week like, 10 or 11 or something, boom, I played every single play and haven’t came out since.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Wow, that’s incredible.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

And I was only playing like, 15 to 45-- 15 to 30 plays only out of the 70 in the first eight games. And I, I knew I can make it. I knew I could be out there. I knew I had the talent to be out there, but it’s not just all about talent. It’s all about knowing your mental game too, knowing the plays and having trust in your team mates.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And did they ever come to you and say, “Now we trust you,” or did they just put you in and you knew that was them saying they trust you?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

They knew. They could tell that I, I finally picked it up, and they just looked at me and were like, “Alright. Go time.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Go time, yeah.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah. And practice. Boom. They just kept you out there and you could just tell by my body feel of just knowing the place. I feel like when players come in, you can just tell if they don’t know the plays because you can see their talent if-- you can’t play the game if you don’t know the plays. The game of football, you can’t react how you really wanna react unless if you know the plays the back of your mind like that.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And you understand the concepts of, “Why am I doing…?” Not just, “What am I doing?” but “Why am I doing this?” right?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes. Why you’re doing it, what the other players are doing, why is he clearing out full speed so you can get open underneath. Once you understand the game of football, it isn’t just all about talent, it isn’t just all about skill, it’s all about knowing the game too. Where the-- what type his own defense is, what type is that man zone, what coverage it is. I mean, if you know all that, I’m telling you, there’s guys that I see playing the League that don’t have talent like other players, and they play eight more years than the guy that has way more talent, just because he knows where to sit in the route to get open.

MAVERICK CARTER:

That’s amazing. That, that’s amazing. And going-- going back to the family. You talked obviously about Gronk Fitness and, and learning football plays, but you also did a great job of learning business and endorsements. How do you decide what to invest in or what to loan your name to the businesses that you’ve involved-- what’s your process now?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Definitely a process. I mean, I would say beginning of your career, your rookie year, your second year in the League, you see how, you see how the older guys doing things, doing commercials and everything. And I’m gonna be straight-up honest. You just wanna get paid.

MAVERICK CARTER:

You just wanna make money.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] You just wanna make money.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Whatever it is that give money.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

In your rookie year, you’re like, “Oh, wow, you’re gonna…” you’re like, “You’re gonna give me like, that much money so you can use my name?” You’re like, 21 years old and you’re like, oh--

MAVERICK CARTER:

Hell, yeah.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

You don’t even care what the product is. Yeah. (LAUGHS) I was sitting there like, “Okay, bring…” I remember I did something, some crazy infomercial my second year in the League. I still remember this. I was doing it with like, my roommate. I was like, oh, my roommate brought it to me. We’re getting both paid the same. I was like, “Yo, this is great. I’m getting like, $20,000 for the whole year just to-- just to do this little commercial for an hour,” and, and then eventually when you, when you-- that’s where you gotta start. You gotta start somewhere. You just wanna, you just want-- you just wanna be part of it. You just wanna feel the culture. You just look up to all the players that are in the, are in the big commercials and everything, but you know, you don’t really understand the process also.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

You’re just taking everything down. So, I remember I started like that. For sure, I was just doing crazy things left and right.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] Just doing whatever.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I was playing basketball in the charity basketball games for like, a couple of hundred dollars. It’s like, like, you’re just loving it. But it was a great time. You’re carefree. You didn’t know what was going on at 21.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] Of course. Was the infomercial the craziest thing you ever did?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I would say that one, I would say that one is--

MAVERICK CARTER:

What was the product for? Do you remember?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I don’t even know. But you wanna know a funny story about that one? I’ll tell you right now. I don’t even care. So, so I did that infomercial for whatever amount, me and my roommate. So, he’s the one who brought it to me. And so that year comes, and they’re in the buy week that year, is the time I took that picture with that porn star, remember? She had my jersey on. It was just a picture and my friends all knew her. So, then the following year he came back and he came back to me and said, “Yo, Rob, they don’t want you no more. You take pictures with porn stars.” And I was like, “Thank you.” (LAUGHS)

MAVERICK CARTER:

That was the easy way out.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[CROSSTALK] easy way out. And I was like, “Oh, thank you.” (LAUGHS)

MAVERICK CARTER:

That’s hilarious. That’s hilarious. That’s funny. And now, being that you obviously been doing this for a long time, I’m sure you’re just not just like, “Who’ll pay me the most money?” You have a process where you think about what you’re doing.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes. I’m actually-- I’m starting to learn that big time over the last-- even the last seven years, six years of my life, even still I’m like, oh, trying to grab the money, trying to do this, trying to do that, or who wants to pay me, but I’m starting to get away from that now. I don’t really like that process really anymore. I’m, I’m 28 years old now and I feel like the way to keep on going forward, the way to keep on moving up is to do the things you truly believe in. So, like, I’m not just trying to go for the money no more. I don’t-- I’m not really in that process. I don’t need that money like that no more. I wanna do things that I truly believe in now and that will keep on getting me going forward, and forward, and forward because it’s something I believe in and something that’s getting me to the next level, and that’s where I wanna leave it to, so.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Yeah. And that’s, that’s interesting to think about because people don’t always associate that with athletes, right? But also, one last thing on the family before we move on, your brother Chris obviously has his ice sugar company, and he went on Shark Tank and he walked away with Aaron and Mark Cuban as investors. So, obviously, the grownups are good at business. You, your dad’s been successful, you’re not only a successful football player, in business, but Chris also was successful. But is there still some competition in business too? Is Chris like, “Yeah, I’m gonna make this win,” so he can beat all you guys and have a better business than you?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, big time. We, we definitely do compete but at the same time, like I said, we help each other out. Like, my brother, like, he’s going on Shark Tank, we were all there for him. We’re all helping him out. We’re all supporting him on Shark Tank with his ice shakers. But inside, while we’re-- he’s doing the ice shaker business, while we’re all just together, he’s talking garbage saying, “Yo, Rob, I’m gonna make more money than you do in football,” and I’m like, “Yo, you’re crazy,” like--

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] (LAUGHS) Exactly. So, that, that--

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] Like that competition like, he-- we wanted, we wanna keep out competing each other because it’s, it’s just friendly competition, brotherly competition. There’s no more fighting aspect of it anymore. We don’t do that anymore, but we have competition like that and it’s just good, it’s just good to help us out, good to keep us driven and--

MAVERICK CARTER:

And it’s healthy.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

It’s healthy. It’s super-healthy. You want that competition. I love competition and I, I strive for it.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Exactly. And as it relates-- obviously, we talked about you playing for the Patriots and how tough it is to learn that playbook and how the Patriots, the one thing we all know are the most disciplined team in football. You guys let the least amount of penalties, you’re extremely-- obviously, you come in every game prepared. Is there anything that playing football specifically planned for the Patriots that you’ve taken and applied to business and how you think your business?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Everything I do in life, I apply it to the football. No doubt about it. It’s 100%. Everything, business-wise, it takes everything. Everyone, everyone’s like, looking at, “Oh, you know, this guy doing that in their team, this guy doing that, this guy is, this guy that…” but whatever, it’s the same thing in any other business in the world. That’s how I look at it. I look how businesses operated, I look how a football team was operated. Boom, you got the CEO, you got the head coach. You got the owner, you got the owner of the team. You got all the players that are working, making the phone calls-- that’s how I look at it. The players are the ones making the phone calls.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

You got the quarterback who’s leading all the guys trying to make the sales. It’s like, boom, same thing in the business. So, whatever it is, whatever business you say, I relate it to football and it makes it total sense. So--

MAVERICK CARTER:

It makes, make, make sense.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

It makes total sense, and I do everything like that and when I do things like that, it just helps me out. It keeps my mind clear and would keep me forward and it just works. It’s the same thing with basketball. You gotta have everyone-- in order for a business to operate, everyone has to be clicking on the same page. In order for a team to keep on winning, every single position has to be on the same page or else, boom, a corner that’s go over a receiver, boom, touchdown. Even though those other 10 guys are killing it, that one guy lets his receiver go, boom, you, you lose right there. So, it’s the same example. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Yup, I agree. That, that’s, that’s actually the smart way to think about it and I always talk about that too, like, a-- the football team is the best example of it because there’s so many guys on the football team, it’s like a business, there’s so many people. And there’s a hierarchy, you know, Belichick comes in. He has a game plan like people walk in the business, the CEO with a business plan. Here’s what we’re-- here’s how we gotta execute it. The players gotta go out and execute it. So, that’s interesting that you think about it that way.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I think about it. I-- everything I do in life is, is about through the football aspect.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Yeah. And it’s, you know, it’s funny because, because you’re The Gronk, who you are, you’re a fun guy. I know you. You, you’re cool. You’re kinda out there. As you said, you once got caught taking a picture with a porn star. There’s a misconception of you. People-- are you surprised that people think-- you know, people would think you were out blowing all your money, but that’s not even close to the case. You’re a fantastic business guy. You’ve even talked about, you haven’t spent any of your endorsement money. But people I think, would think, if they just think of Gronk, they think, “Oh, he’s out partying every night, wasting all of his money.” Does that surprise you?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

At first, it did. I mean, it was actually a struggle. When you’re 23, 24 years old, 25 was actually when I was going, really, really going through that phase. I got hurt a couple of times and boom, I, like, after the season and I used to go out a little bit, and every time I went out, boom, they plastered everywhere. They would do that wherever I go, people would be trying to do party, party, party, party, wherever it is at any time. And wherever I did, people would be like, “You don’t do that. You just party,” or whatever. I, you know, it really didn’t ever bothered me. Because if it bothered me, I would never, ever, ever been able to keep on going, but I mean, it, it always stopped there and I always knew if I just stayed true to myself, keep on doing what I’m doing. Yeah, people didn’t ever understood.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I only went out like, when I used to go out hard like, you know, every once in a while, once a week, but I always got plastered everywhere and it never really bothered me because I always knew what I was doing and I always knew I was pulling that work in. And I never, ever, will ever go out until my work is finished, until I did what I had to do that week to the-- in order to you know, keep a balance in life. (That’s amazing. And--) So, it never bothered me. I just keep on doing me and keep on doing what I had to do.

MAVERICKCARTER:

Exactly and it’s interesting, you talked about once that you only spend money from endorsements. You hadn’t touched any of your NFL contract money. Is that still true?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

It's still true. I mean--

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] That’s amazing.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Well, I mean, it is. Because when I signed with, when you’re allowed to with your agent, he gave me a little endorsement bonus that I had to pay back, so I started using that one right away. (Exactly, yeah.) So, boom, I had a good amount, amount right there, but I had to pay that all back through whenever I got endorsements [OVERLAPPING] Well, I was using that money at first. That’s when I [CROSSTALK].

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] Like, it was an advance.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, it was an advance. So, I had to pay that all back eventually whenever I was getting my endorsements, but it was an advance and I started using that right away. I bought my car, started giving the rental for the apartment and everything. But yeah, if you see my NFL money, how much I made-- I got way more than that, baby.

[LAUGHTER]

MAVERICK CARTER:

And are you saving for anything in particular? Do you have something in your brain like, “Yo, I’m saving for that. I’m gonna buy something big eventually.”

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] Yeah. I’ve always had that plan in my mind. I mean, I’m an easy kind of guy. I mean, like, I can live easy, live normal. I just like to hang with the boys, you know, just have a good time no matter what’s going on. I’m not trying to be extra fancy or anything, I just wanna have a good time with, with the fellas, with everyone out there. So, I never really needed that luxury like that because at the back of my mind too, I always knew I was saving too. Because I do one day wanna, wanna have to be very, very comfortable when I’m done with everything and you know, (Is there--) not, not really sure exactly what I want, but ooo

MAVERICK CARTER:

Not-- you’re not sure-- you know you’re saving for something. (Yes.) Is it to see a number? You’re like, you wanna hit a number, or is it to buy something, like, some purchase you wanna make?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Some purchase.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Some purchase. Nice.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Some nice living purchase.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Nice. Got it.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Just chilling by the beach with the oceans hitting the wave, hitting the sand. ooo

MAVERICK CARTER:

A beach house. You invite me down. ooo

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, something like that, so.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Yeah. And you’re obviously a really-- I mean, that’s a really smart thing to think about, saving money thatway. But is there one thing now that’s like a guilty pleasure that like, you’re like, “I still gotta buy this even though I’m saving. I’m done, but I still spend a little money when I see this, or want that,”?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

There is one thing and it’s really, really-- it’s really, really pricey, but-- it’s the private jets. The private jets are pricey, I can tell you that right now, but I’ll, I’ll tell you why I do it. That’s one thing also why I spend money on, I save my money, my big-- my big pays are always in the private jets because I go to the airports and you know, Boston is crazy, dude. People just attack you like, well, you got-- I’m telling you, you got 50 to 100 people just running at you with camera phones demanding you for this-- I mean, I’m, I don’t like to put myself in a position where it brings like, anxiety to you, you get really anxious. And until you’re through that process, like, you, you’ll understand it.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Like, my friends even don’t like it. They don’t like being around me when, when I’m in circumstances like that, and they understand it too. So, I actually really spend my-- most of it on security and luxury. (Luxury) And so just, just to put myself out of those situations. But also, there’s one thing too, when, when I signed my incentive deal last year, my friend had a chain. And I was like, “Dang, man. That’s a nice chain.”

MAVERICK CARTER:

A necklace?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I never had jewelry in my life.

MAVERICK CARTER:

A friend of yours who plays on the team?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

No, he was--

MAVERICK CARTER:

Another friend?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, another friend. I was like, “Dang,” he let me wear it last year at a party, I was like, “Dang.”

MAVERICK CARTER:

Did it make you--? How did it make you feel?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

It made me feel good. So, then, so then I signed my assignment deal last year and in the back of my head, I said, if I hit all my assignments, if I do everything I need to do, get all my bonuses, do, put all the work in, I gotta finally treat myself. It’s been eight years, I haven’t really bought anything in my career, don’t really have anything luxury like that. So, last week, I finally went out and bought myself a chain, and I got it out right now.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] Is that the one you got on? Let’s see it.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] It’s right here, baby. I finally got one, and I love this puppy.

MAVERICK CARTER:

That thing looks good too. It looks good too. And, and there’s--

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] Yeah. So, this is my first thing I ever gotten. I love it and it, it feels good. And now I know-- now I know why people got jewelry. Now I understand why.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Exactly. And obviously, in the locker room, as you said, you, you, the team is family and obviously you’ve been very smart about your money and finance. Do young guys, or guys in the locker room come up to you for advice?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, they do. I had this one guy this year, actually. He came up to me with-- he’s like, “Hey, Rob, you got a Hummer. I see it. I wanna get a Hummer, but my agent’s telling me I shouldn’t get a Hummer. It, you know, costs too much. You won’t, you, you’ll lose too much,” he was a free agent. He was a rookie, so it’s not like he had a lot, a lot of kick coming in. So, he asked me, he’s like, “Well, it’s like 22 grand,” he’s like, “What do you think? You got a Hummer, like, how much gas does it take and everything?” And I was like, “Dude, if you want a Hummer, you play one year, you can get a Hummer. Like, it’s $22,000. It’s not like you’re buying a $120,000 luxury. You can pay for the gas or whatever.”

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

And I was like, “What are you doing right now? What’s your car?” He’s like, “Oh, I got a rental.” I’m like, “How much are you paying for the rental a week?” He’s like, “$400.” I was like, “Dog, hurry up and buy that damn Hummer.” (LAUGHS) It’s like, that was crazy. That was mind-blowing to me. He’s paying $400 a week for like, the last six weeks.

MAVERICK CARTER:

That’s incredible.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

And I’m like, “Dude, hurry up and put the down payment on the Hummer.”

MAVERICK CARTER:

Just go get the Hummer.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, go get the Hummer. You basically already bought it.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And do you think-- why do you think players or athletes have a tough time managing their money? Is it because they don’t think things too like that?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I’m not really sure. I mean, you gotta understand money too, I mean, if you never, you know, you never really had money growing up-- I didn’t really understand money either until you get, get, get-- start getting some and getting more. Like I said, you’re just taking deals left and right. You just want the money. But you really don’t understand money or how to understand to make money until you go through the whole process. And I feel like it’s really tough. I mean, I’ve, everyone goes through that stages, especially, but I mean, you’re 20, 21 years old, I mean--

MAVERICK CARTER:

Of course.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I mean, you’re young, you just wanna have some fun. I mean, I, I don’t-- it’s tough.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Exactly. And you also, I think, have done an incredible job, is really smart, because to, to your point, it might’ve bothered you at first that people would take pictures of you when you’re out partying or whatever and you’ve built kind these, these way that people go, “Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk,” if you’re out partying, but you’ve also turned into a business, which is really smart. How do you balance saving money and, and being smart with your money but also making sure you have the fun when you have to?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

To make sure you can have the fun, I’ve always balanced it as if you’ve got your work done and you did everything right that week, you got your workouts and you did what you gotta do on the work side, then you gotta have time to go out. You gotta have a balanced life. I mean, I’ve tried it before, no lie. I literally tried to stay in three weeks straight, do everything right, even on Saturdays getting an extra workout in. I’m telling you, I, I was getting worse. Like, that following Monday, I didn’t wanna work out. I was like, “Yo, I, like, I didn’t do anything this week and why do I need to work out on Monday?” Like, so I, I think a balanced life is crucial. But you never want-- you only want a little bit of the balanced life

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

You always wanna be working, but if you wanna have some fun, you gotta have a little bit of it for sure. And I just kind of made it my job too. One day when everyone was ripping on me. Oh, he parties too much, he ain’t ever gonna come back from injuries. I remember 24, 25, I told my brothers, “Wait till a couple of more years. People are gonna be paying me to party with them.”

MAVERICK CARTER:

And that’s exactly right. And you, you organized obviously, the Gronk Crew-- the Gronk Crew, the Party Bus. You wrote The Gronk Memoir. What is the Gronk Experience, by the way? Like, if I was on that cruise and we were on that cruise, what happens? Take us through the Gronk Experience.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Alright. I’m telling you. Alright. So, that cruise was a one-and-done. I, I can tell you that right now. Right? No, everyone brings it up. Everyone talks about that cruise all the time. That cruise is a one-and-done, but I’m telling you, if you talk to every artist, every DJ, every performer, every comedian that was on the boat, they, they all say it was the best weekend of their lives. If you talk to all the people, all the people that were on the boat that bought tickets, boom, they all said it was the best, hands-down best weekend of their lives. I mean, it’s just based from the experience, I would say is, I brought the whole party crew though, it’s not just me. I can’t take all the credit, like, like, somehow, I, I bring the party crew around when I need to, you know, put the party boots on and they can take over the load half the time, like, but-- and I got some friends that can just go all day.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

So, you bring them all on. They’re all great people. They love hanging out with everyone. And the experience is just having a blast, just not caring about what’s going on, who’s that, who’s over there, who’s that person. It’s just going up, having a good time, dancing your face off, just having a blast, whatever you want, and just letting them be free at that moment.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Exactly. And let me ask you think question. When you go out in Boston, do you ever pay for anything-- do you have to pay for anything in Boston?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Sometimes.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Really? If you go to dinner or go out for a night out in Boston, people let you play for stuff?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I mean, depends where I’m at, what I’m doing. Who-- if I, if I know the person. But I actually don’t mind. I love paying for everything and I don’t like taking freebies. I don’t like having free dinners. If they wanna give me a free dinner and sometimes-- if I’m, especially at a mom-and-pop shop, I don’t ever wanna take a free dinner. They’ve been working hard. It’s a family-owned. I wanna help them out. They’re helping me out. As long as they take care of me at the restaurant and they do what they gotta do, I, I don’t mind ever paying. Because also, if you don’t pay, they give it to you for free, then everyone wants like, 50 things more after.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Of course. They expect something.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, they expect something [CROSSTALK].

MAVERICK CARTER:

Did you have to learn that lesson the hard way?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I learned that lesson the hard, hard way. I mean, people, “Hey, Rob. Take this, take that.” I took it. Boom. Freakin’ a week later, you know, “Rob, you owe me this, you owe me that. You gotta give me five tickets to the game,” I’m like, “Why? You like,” I’m like, “You handed me that. I didn’t ask you for that. You handed me that.” But I definitely learned, you definitely learn throughout the process, but I mean, I don’t mind. Everyone has to work. Everyone has to do their things, so I don’t mind ever paying for everything I do.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And you know, I had DraymondGreen on in the first season of Kneading Dough and he told me he once in Miami got overwhelmed. His ego got caught up and he was a young guy and he, and he spent $21,000 at a nightclub. He said he just got caught up. And his friends were there and he lost control, and he’s, he said it was an ego thing. He was young. He said he doesn’t have those moments anymore. Have you ever had a moment like that when you lost control?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] Of course. Of course. (LAUGHS)

MAVERICK CARTER:

What was your biggest bill? It’s like, where [CROSSTALK].

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I don’t want those moments anymore either. I said you gotta go through the process. You gotta go through the wringer. And it’s just-- I’ve been saying that with everything, right down to my friends, like, these new-- I’ve been doing workouts. I’ve been doing things to, to have my body feeling good so I can learn, but the only reason where I’m at now is because I’ve got injured 10 times. I’ve been, I’ve been through the whole wringer and now I know what to do, the exercises to do for my back, for my elbow, for my knee, for my ankle, so I have no pain. You gotta go through the wringer of every single process in order to get to where you wanna be.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And the wringer is some pain, because he told me when he woke up the next morning and the alcohol wore off (yeah) and he realized what the accountant was calling him goin’, “What did you do last night?” He goes, “It was painful.”

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

It’s like, yeah, you wake up with a hangover and you’re like, “Wow, I’m, I feel like garbage,” and then you look at your checking account, you’re like, “Wow, there’s 15 grand gone too, like…

MAVERICK CARTER:

(LAUGHS) This sucks.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, this sucks. (LAUGHS)

MAVERICK CARTER:

It wasn’t that much fun, exactly.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I slept next to my brother. (LAUGHS)

MAVERICK CARTER:

Exactly. You also obviously, you said, you also care-- I know you’ve been, you had this conversation- you care a lot about kids. You have the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation. What is it about kids and giving back that inspires you? What makes you wanna do it?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

What makes me wanna do it is because my, my childhood memory was unbelievable. I mean, I wish I could go back and being that child the memory down. I mean, I feel like, I truly believe in that I grew up in the best street that you can possibly grow up on in America for athletic-wise, for friend-wise, for family-wise, because we just-- it was just some middle-class street down, down right beneath our schools. And we had about 20 kids my age, my brothers’ age, everyone, just 20 kids that were all athletes and we are all friends. And wherever you need to play a basketball game, whenever you need to play this game, boom, we call up our brothers, we call up our friends and boom, we are playing games just like that at all times

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

So, my childhood memory was just such a great experience that-- and I truly, truly believe it has helped me to get to where I am to this day. I mean, without taking all the beatings from my brothers, from my friends, I feel like I will never be this tough and this athletic ever if I wasn’t facing-- I was facing kids four years older than me every single day on the streets. So, I wanna be able to give the opportunity to these kids that are less fortunate, to be able to have the access to having football equipment, to go into the playground, just to be able to play out there and stay out of trouble and go out. Because I, I believe I was out of trouble. I never was in-- I mean, I wasn’t bad-- you know, like silly trouble.

MAVERICK CARTER:

A kid. You were a kid, yeah.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Like a kid trouble. I was never in serious trouble, nothing like that because we are always playing sports every single day. So, I wanna be able to give these kids an opportunity to have that, to have what I had growing up so they can be on the right path and they can compete, and they can live out their dreams.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And do you obviously, you, the way you talk, I can tell you’re very inspired into kids and obviously, we’re having this whole conversation about saving and budgeting, and would there be any tips that you would give young people about saving and budgeting their money?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, I mean, definitely, definitely save it. I mean, to the young bucks, I mean, just get what you just need. Just get what you just need and a little bit more. Put all the rest away, you never know what’s gonna happen. You never know how long you’re gonna play for. You never know what’s gonna happen down the future, injury-wise, getting caught, getting released, whatever. I mean, just do what you need to do and then save the rest as of now and that-- because you never know what’s gonna go down. I mean, obviously, I’m eight years now, I’m established a lot more, but at the beginning of my career, that was my, my, that was my model, my theory was just, to just, just what I need to be comfortable to what I need to make me play well, where I can get my sleep. Just like in-- like exactly, I would invest in a really good bed. And so the bed would help me out to what I need.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

If I want to buy, no, my rookie, I would not, no mansion, no whatever, just apartment running with a couple of rookies just doing what I need just to get me by, just to get me where I wanna be, the, to be happy and just play ball from there.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And when you first started, did you have in your mind how long you thought you’ll play, how long-- do you really like, “I wanna play 10 years,” “I wanna play 15 years,” “I only want…” Were you, were you at all thinking about how long you’ll play and nervous that this could end in three years or five years? Did you think through those things, like, how long you would play?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

My rookie year, I mean, I was just so glad to be there, to tell you the truth. And in back of my mind, I, I, I just-- they always hounded us like, in the meetings, “Oh, the average NFL player only plays three and…” I think it was two and a half years at the time. Something like that. Two and a half or three and a half. It’s one of those. And that’s what they hounded us on. And that one always stuck in the back of my mind, so I’ve always had a game plan, like, oh, I’m gonna make this much this year because it was my rookie contract so it was a four-year deal. I’m gonna make that much this year and that much that year. So, I always just had it in the back of my mind. Alright, if I just spend that much and I have all the rest, boom, if I just only play four years, boom, I have that much more saved up that I’m comfortable until I find something else to do.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

And that was my, my mind side. I didn’t think-- I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, I’m gonna play 10 years,” I was just thinking I got this four-year contract, the average years in NFL is three years, I would say, so I might as well just look at it in that way and that perspective right there.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And, but then in 2012, you signed what was then a record deal for a tight end when you signed your 54-million-dollar deal. Did your mindset change after that at all? Did you start thinking about the world differently or the League different?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Not really. I mean, I just, I did everything the same. So, it was my rookie year, on my rookie deal. I once, I, exactly everything the same. I always say I did everything the same my rookie year all the way up to like, age 24, except the only thing I didn’t do the same was spend that money over those nightclubs like, like, you know, you get caught up, you think you got the money, boom, you do got the money but you’re spending it at the nightclubs. But eventually, you know, you start getting smarter and what you should do with it, but that was the only, only area I would say where on that age, my young 20’s I was really spending any money.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Got it and are there any other athletes or mentors that you look to for advice, or you look to and go like, they inspire you financially and business-wise? Like, they’re doing right, I wanna do what what they’re doing?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, I mean, there’s a couple. I mean, there’s one guy in my team. Our quarterback, Brady, I mean, just the, just the way he presents himself, the way he does things, his endorsements and everything, just the way he’s been playing, how long he’s been playing for. He’s not, he’s never also, he’s never asking for the whole bank from the team, just seeing what he does. How he’s like-- I never really asked him personally, but just watching him do things, seeing how he operates and just learn. And then another one is your friend, LeBron. I mean, dude, he’s just-- he’s, he’s got his own empire, dude. Every time you watch him on TV, he’s like, got the game, he’s got the commercials, he’s got stuff going on left and right, you got, he’s got movies now, all that going on.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

So, that’s just another inspiration right there and how he does things. And he’s doing it right every single day.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Yeah. And it’s interesting. Tom, who I know but too is obviously, it seems like he’s focusing as his career is winding now, he’s starting to think about TV 12 as a business for whenever he’s done. LeBron and I have obviously had the conversation. I know when he’s done he wants to own a team and be in the production and content or be a movie star. Have you thought about whenever you’re done playing what’s life after football would be like for Gronk?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I’ve done it a few times. I’ve thought about it. I mean, I would say the last couple of years I’ve thought about a few times, but I’d say more recently, I’m definitely thinking about life after football because, I mean, I’m being a realist now. I see, I see players’ careers end. It’s like when you start seeing a player’s career has ended and then you see him a year later. Sometimes I’m like, “yo, what’re you doing?” they’re like, “Oh, I ain’t doing anything. Like, I’m trying getting stuff,” I’m like, damn, like, they like, he’s like, man, I wish I’d set up something [OVERLAPPING].

MAVERICK CARTER:

Started thinking about it early.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Started thinking about it early instead of right when he’s done, boom, you don’t really have anything on the plate. So, I mean, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. I can get in to the fitness industry with my family, that side, that business die.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] Yeah. Because you know that business very well. And you have Gronk Fitness going already.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, got Gronk Fitness going on. And also, I’ve been, I’ve ‘been doing a lot of the movie stuff too [OVERLAPPING].

MAVERICK CARTER:

Are you enjoying that?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, I’m enjoying it, so. I’ve been actually, yesterday been having a couple of meetings with a couple of big guys out here and I feel like possibly maybe-- I’m not, I’m not saying. I’m not 100% certain of what I really, really wanna do. But I like to put my foot into the door of a lot of different things, and that’s what I do. I got a couple of TV shows coming out that I just did. I did something yesterday for the show. I’m, I’m probably gonna do something for Shark Week Tank with them too. It’s just stuff that you just do put your foot in the door so then when it comes down to it, when it comes to crunch time, when you’re done playing, boom, you, you, your, your, your brain’s thinking you know what you wanna do, you know what path.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Right now, I have no clue what path I truly wanna hit after my career, but--

MAVERICK CARTER:

But you’re starting to think about it.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I’m starting to think about it and put my foot in the door with many options.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And LeBron, like, LeBron, he did one movie and was great at it. It was, it was, I think he had to work like, two weeks. So, it was a lot of work. He had to show up every day, and I think some of those days are eight to 10-hour days. But he actually loved it. I think he loved, he loved being coached. Like, because there’s a director, which to him is like a coach, coach again. Are you having-- is it fun for you to act and do that? Are you actually having fun doing it?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

That’s crazy. That’s when you just know you got a true competitor on your hands because when I go into the shoots, I want the director, I say, “You coach me right now. That’s the best way I can learn.” It’s like going on the football field.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And so did you approach it like going into a game?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] I go into it like that. I tell the director, I say--

MAVERICK CARTER:

Give me the playbook?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

You give me the playbook. You tell me what to do right there and I’m gonna, I’m gonna give you my best shot. But if you don’t tell me what to do, I, I really don’t know what you want. I really don’t know how you want it. I feel like you just need to tell me and boom, I’m gonna try and smack it out of the park as best as possible.

MAVERICK CARTER:

That’s awesome. And then in retirement, will you think about money and saving the same way you have during your football career?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

I’m not really sure.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Oh, you’re gonna get that beach house?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

It feels like… I, I’ll probably spend a little bit more after [OVERLAPPING].

MAVERICK CARTER:

Exactly. You deserve it.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Because when you’re playing too, six months of the year, you’re just driving home or driving to the stadium and you’re not really doing anything out and about. So when you have a full year of free time, I would say that I would be spending more money.

MAVERICK CARTER:

God, I’m sure. Well, thank you Rob. I appreciate Rob being here. Thank you, guys for being here, and again, thank Chase.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes. Thank you, guys. I appreciate it.

[APPLAUSE]

OFF CAMERA

MAVERICK CARTER:

So, the only follow-up I’m gonna ask you, Rob is the funny question we ask everybody on the show. What’s the one thing, the one habit that you still have… the one thing you do that you still do from when you didn’t have any money. Like for instance, LeBron said, when he pulls money out of his pocket, he still turns his back to whoever he’s with. Draymond said he still-- he uses his business manager’s code on airplanes to get free WiFi. And he--

[LAUGHTER]

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Alright.

MAVERICK CARTER:

And he uses Michigan-- when he went to Michigan State, he uses their password to read ESPN Insider still. So, like, I heard you still wear jeans from high school.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Alright. Yeah. Alright. But I got rid of those [OVERLAPPING].

OFF CAMERA

MAVERICK CARTER:

So, Rob, a question we always ask people, a fun thing on Kneading Dough is what, what we call the broke habit, meaning, when you-- there was a time when you didn’t have as much money as you did now that way before you signed your big contract for the Patriots, and we all have habits that we just can’t break. That, like, this is what I used to do, when I-- like, some people say, “I still use coupons,” some people say, “I still…” Serena told me she still, when she goes in the store, the first place she looks is the sale items. She goes to look for what’s on sale. So, what is your broke habit? What’s the one thing you still do, even though you have money?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Alright. My broke habit still is my clothing and shoes. No matter what, I-- it-- if I like the clothing, I like the shoes, I’ll wear those shoes and I’ll wear that clothing down to its rag [LAUGHING]. Like, my shirt was finally-- the way my-- I can get rid of a good shirt that I wore 50 times already, is that I have to like, spill everything on it. It has to get ripped off in the club or something, and then boom, I’ll finally get rid of that shirt. But my shoes, I still wear it to the tee, I wear, I wear it down until my shoes are ragged like--

MAVERICK CARTER:

No matter what?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

No matter what. My clothes, if I like it, if I like the jeans, I’ll, I’ll sometimes wear the jeans seven days straight, but I make sure I throw them in the washer like, day three, but I just, just-- when I get something like, it’s just, it’s just a natural habit. I mean, I mean, my parents, whatever my brothers had - hockey equipment, baseball equipment, even clothes, well, they used to just hand it down to us, and

MAVERICK CARTER:

Well, that’s right. You’re, it’s obviously you just passed it.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] So, I would say that, that’s where I kinda start maybe learning my saving was just right there. Like, just being indulged in it, the hand-me-down clothes. And that’s why I just feel like I have no problem ever, just wearing the same shirt, wearing the same jeans, shorts, until I totally gotta finally get rid of them.

MAVERICK CARTER:

That’s amazing. Thank you, Rob.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yes, no problem.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

[OVERLAPS] Thank you, man. I appreciate it.

MAVERICK CARTER:

Appreciate it. Thank you, guys.

[APPLAUSE]

OFF CAMERA

MAVERICK CARTER:

Welcome, everyone, to Kneading Dough. Rob, thank you for joining us on the show today. Rob, your dad is your manager. Tell us a little bit how that dynamic works.

OFF CAMERA

MAVERICK CARTER:

Thank you, Rob. Thank you, guys.

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Awesome. Thank you, man.

MAVERICK CARTER:

[OVERLAPS] You’re the best, man. That was fun. You had fun?

ROB GRONKOWSKI:

Yeah, I did.