Why Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin and Flagstar Bank are advocating financial literacy for students

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin and Flagstar Bank came together recently for a webinar to educate Detroit-area Math Hoops participants
Pistons Photo
by Vince Ellis
Special for Pistons.com

Tommy Griffin is a legendary high school basketball coach in Oklahoma.

Griffin’s wife, Gail, was also an educator.

But in the quest to earn a little extra cash, the couple started a trophy-making business as a side hustle, which gave their young sons – Taylor and Blake – an introduction to saving money.

Blake Griffin remembers being put to work and recalled how his mother taught him to designate money for several areas, one of which was saving.

“I’d split it up evenly,” Griffin said.

He paused, obviously thinking back to his time as a youngster.

“At least somewhat evenly,” he said with a grin.

Griffin and Flagstar Bank came together recently for a webinar to educate Detroit-area Math Hoops participants and school teachers on the importance of saving. There were 150 student participants, who each were the recipients of $100 to open a savings account, courtesy of a $15,000 donation from Griffin and Flagstar.

“Saving money provides security, it allows you to be prepared for unexpected things when they happen,” Flagstar Bank Vice President Marcus Lona said before introducing Griffin. “Saving money can also help you achieve your dreams and goals, and it can help you give to those in need, and to causes that mean something to you.”

The event – co-sponsored by Flagstar and Math Hoops – was an effort make students aware of the need for financial literacy. Math Hoops is a competition created by the NBA to address math proficiency in low-income households.

According to Flagstar president of community banking Reggie Davis, the average American family has less than $350 in savings.

“It is scary to think that the average family can’t plan for a (financial) emergency,” Davis said.

The webinar was a way to highlight the importance of saving.

Griffin, 31, admitted he has succumbed to impulse spending, but the guidance of his parents at an early age set him on a path to financial literacy.

“My parents helped me figure out what was a need vs. what was a want,” Griffin said. “I need to buy food, I need clothes for school.

“That was important for me, hearing early, because it helps me now. It helped me when I started making money when I was a little bit older.”

Flagstar Bank, headquartered in Troy, has had a jersey sponsorship agreement with the Pistons since July 2017. Griffin has been a spokesperson for Flagstar since March 2019.

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