Paying off student loans can be challenging and stressful. It may mean starting out one’s life with debt and liabilities.
This is exactly what college basketball star Anthony Leal did not want for his beloved sister. Hence, he saved his endorsement money for two years to pay her student loans.
Anthony Leal is both smart and athletic. He is a business major at Indiana University and plays as a point guard for the Indiana Hoosiers.
When he found out that his elder sister had an immense amount to pay in student loans, he thought of taking advantage of the benefits he get from playing basketball.
In 2021, NCAA allowed college athletes like Leal to earn endorsement money through autograph signing, social media monetization, advertising campaigns, and even teaching camps and lessons.
Thanks to this new NCAA policy, Leal was able to save money and helped take off the burden on his sister’s shoulders after her graduation.
Instead of spending his endorsement money for himself, Leal decided to save them all to give his sister the best Christmas gift.
On Christmas day, he surprised his sister Lauren by letting her know what he’s been up to in the past two years. He told her he is going to pay off her five-figure student debt.
Leal shared his emotional surprise on Twitter where Lauren started crying as well as their mother and grandmother.
His father, on the other hand, was the only one who knew about the surprise. Leal told him in 2021 about the NCAA policy and his plan of paying off Lauren’s debt.
“I’m on scholarships so I don’t necessarily need the money, so I decided to try to use that to help my sister,” Leal said. “It was nice to just be able to take that burden off her shoulders.”
Lauren was very emotional after reading her brother’s heartwarming note. “There is no doubt that I have made it to where I am today because of you,” Anthony wrote.
“Someone like you deserves no burdens or restrictions in life, and I feel that the best way to help with that is by paying off your student loan debt.”
Lauren was grateful for her brother’s huge sacrifice to pay off her student loans. She also used to play basketball but an injury stopped her from playing her favorite sport.
She knew she had a huge student debt and she was planning to get back to it after her birthday, graduation, and Christmas, which all happened in one month.
“After those things were done, then I was going to kind of sit down and like really look at it and get a formalized, settled plan,” said Lauren. “So I hadn’t actually looked at the number yet. My brother looked at the number before I did.”
Lauren shared that she had been working two jobs to pay off her student loans and was even thinking of getting a third job. To her surprise, her brother was also working hard behind her back to help her.
According to her, if there’s one word that best describes what she’s feeling, it was freedom. “I can go full steam ahead in my future and what I want to accomplish, what I want to do, without having that just weighing me down and holding me back. So it’s just, it’s surreal It’s incredible,” she said.
Leal said he does not expect anything in return from Lauren because he knows she is going to pay it forward. It was enough for him that he got to give his family an unforgettable Christmas.
“It was a good little way to finish off Christmas morning,” Leal said. “”I was happy to put a smile on their faces.”
Watch this video and witness Leal’s heart-warming surprise for his sister:
You can also watch the original video below:
— Barstool IU (@IUBarstool) December 25, 2022