Ex-NBA star Jalen Rose on why he hasn't invested in crypto: ‘I can't tangibly touch and feel it’

Despite earning more than $100 million during his 13-year NBA career, Jalen Rose doesn't like to make risky financial moves.

Like, for example, investing in cryptocurrency. "When I first heard about crypto, it represented an abstract," Rose tells CNBC Make It. It's "something I can't tangibly touch and feel."

That's a problem for Rose, a college basketball star at the University of Michigan in the 1990s who grew up with a single mother in a tough Detroit neighborhood. "My first introduction to money was cash and real estate," he says. "That's kind of how I like to move."

But the 48-year-old ESPN and New York Post writer, host and television personality says he isn't opposed to investing in cryptocurrency in the future. He just needs to learn more about it — a common viewpoint among non-crypto investors.

In May, the Motley Fool published a study citing "lack of understanding" as one of the biggest barriers to crypto for American adults. Almost one in four survey respondents said they didn't understand how cryptocurrency worked, and 20% didn't know how to buy it.

Another barrier: cryptocurrency's lack of real-life uses. In the Motley Fool survey, 29% of respondents who don't own crypto said that even if they bought any, they wouldn't know what to do with it.

Some retailers, like Microsoft and Expedia, accept bitcoin for payment — but as billionaire Ray Dalio told CNBC Make It in August, cryptocurrencies are currently more like storeholds of wealth than anything else.

"[B]itcoin is something like a digital gold," Dalio said.

Other ex-NBA players share Rose's mindset. Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal told CNBC Make It last month that he hasn't invested in cryptocurrencies either, primarily because he doesn't yet fully understand how they work.

Fellow Hall of Famer Charles Barkley's financial advisors also "do not believe in crypto," Barkley told CNBC Make It in August. "One of them said, 'If I ever put you in crypto, you should fire me on the spot.'"

A slew of professionals athletes have recently ventured into cryptocurrency, from seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley to three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry.

But financial experts often warn investors that the cryptocurrency market is volatile by nature, and that you should only invest money you can afford to lose.

Earlier this week, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market value, "worthless." Dimon previously told Axios that bitcoin is akin to fool's gold, and that he thinks "regulators are going to regulate the hell of out of it."

As of Thursday morning, bitcoin is trading at roughly $57,500, according to CoinMarketCap, with a market value of more than $1 trillion.

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