Quick stats: Phillip Buchanon Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback
Daily driver: 2008 Range Rover Sport (Phillip's rating: 7 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other car: 2007 Bentley Continental Flying Spur (Rating: 8)
Favorite road trip: Miami to Atlanta
Car he learned to drive in: a Toyota
First car bought: 1997 Chevy Malibu
2008 Mike Carlson/Tampa Bay Buccaneeers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Phillip Buchanon's 2007 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is worlds away from his college days when he took a Greyhound bus to the University of Miami.
"It's an eye catcher," Buchanon says of the Bentley. "Some people say, 'Oh, man, you've got a Bentley, now you're balling!' When people say you're 'balling' -- it means that you're doing a lot, you have a lot of money. It's one of those things where people look at you as being some of the elite."
Buchanon is tough when asked to rate his cars, giving his Bentley an 8 out of 10. "It's not a perfect 10, but it's a nice car. Everybody would like to have it. When people see the Bentley, of course the brand is so strong, so whenever anybody sees that 'B' with the wings on it, the 'B' stands for Buchanon and it stands for 'balling.' It's a perfect fit for me."
When he is not on the road playing for the Bucs in NFL games, Buchanon's daily driver is a 2008 Range Rover Sport, which he gives a 7, adding he considers his Bentley just one step ahead of his Range Rover in terms of its rating.
"I know a lot of people who would love to drive a Range Rover, I just happen to have one as my everyday car," Buchanon says. "By driving it every day, I don't really see it as special, but at the same time I'm thankful for even having a chance to drive a Range Rover."
When he first turned pro, Buchanon amassed a fleet of cars, but in recent years his philosophy has become more practical. "It doesn't make sense to have a lot of cars," he says. "At first when I came into the league, playing for the NFL, I had a fantasy of getting cars. So I was trying to get a lot of cars. I thought that to have a lot of cars was cool. They're just more bills, more money. So I downsized and have two cars right now. Probably the most cars I will have at one time is three. I am thinking about getting an Aston Martin, but I'm not sure yet. It would definitely be a newer model."
2008 Mike Carlson/Tampa Bay Buccaneeers
First car bought when he joined the NFL
In his senior year at college, Buchanon bought the car that would become the first of his collection. "After I declared, which means now I had an agent and stuff like that, I got a truck. I was going be a top-10 pick, and I knew I was going to work out," he says.
With that confidence, Buchanon bought a 2002 Cadillac Escalade, which he recalls fondly. Some might consider his choice as kismet because it was the color of the Oakland Raiders, the team that would ultimately draft him.
"It was a two-tone black and silver and it happened to be black and silver because I got drafted by the Raiders and it was a match," he says. "It was so funny because people say, 'You got that truck in January and then you got drafted in April to the Raiders. That's so funny.' I was like, 'Yeah, it is funny.'"
Buchanon chose the car because it stood apart from the others. "I just liked the car, it was something different," he says. "I like feeling like I'm the first one to have something or the first one to try something. I like being different. And that the car was a two-tone Escalade with a black and silver stripe on the side; that was different. Nobody had it, to my knowledge, so I was the first one to have it."
Other cars he's owned since joining the NFL include a 2003 Infiniti FX45, the crossover that helped fuel the whole trend of utility vehicles. "I stripped the paint. It was black and I had it painted all teal, so it was a real eye-catcher," Buchanon explains.
"Particularly if I'm dressing up a car, I try to change the image of it," he refers to his past cars. "But lately, I've been keeping just a regular car. I haven't put rims or anything on it, no paint job. This Range Rover Sport is just black and it's just plain. My Bentley is just silver and plain, no rims, none of that. I'm more business-mind savvy now. If it doesn't make sense, I don't do it. Why would I want to pay $8000 or $10,000 just to buy rims when the wheels are already on it? The car -- it speaks for itself."
Other cars in his past collection were a 1973 Chevy Impala, a 2004 Ford F150, a 2006 Infiniti QX56, a 2006 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, and two Hummers. Buchanon laughs as he itemizes the list. "There was no need for that -- a lot of insurance money and a lot of gas and maintenance. It's really not that necessary," he says of a car collection.
Car he learned to drive in
Born and raised in Fort Myers, Buchanon learned to drive in a Toyota during middle school. He doesn't recall what model it was, only that it had an automatic transmission. "I was driving with my mom and uncle; they had me driving from time to time," he says. "They would pull over and let me drive home two blocks away. They thought it would be good for me to drive. They just told me, 'Get behind the wheel.' I said, 'Alright, that's cool.' I got behind the wheel."
Buchanon found driving was pretty easy for the most part, especially a few years later with more practice. "The only problem I had was it was so weird when I tried to drive backwards a little bit. It felt kind of different. It wasn't hard but it was funny. I was like, 'How come I couldn't do this when I was in middle school or high school?' I guess it's because I wasn't used to driving like that."
First car bought
Buchanon attended the University of Miami, where his ride was a Greyhound bus. "My freshman year, I was catching the Greyhound every now and then from Fort Myers to Miami," he laughs. "I hated that. I was like, 'Man, it takes four hours to get from Fort Myers to Miami. Can't anybody drop me off?' No, nobody could drop me off, so I had to catch a Greyhound. I was so mad. But at the same time, it motivated me."
Between his sophomore and junior years, Buchanon bought a 1997 Chevy Malibu. "That was my baby," he says of his first car. "I didn't buy it myself; my grandmother and my mom helped. That was my transportation after my sophomore year in college. A lot of guys had cars; some guys had nice cars freshman year -- Tahoes, Escalades, a lot of BMWs, a lot of Range Rovers -- because Miami was a private school so a lot of kids were driving a lot of nice cars."
Buchanon said his cousin, Jevon Kearse, defensive end for the Tennessee Titans, was already in the NFL and wanted to buy him an Escalade or Navigator. "The reason it didn't happen was because I said, 'I really don't need it, I'm fine. I'll just keep the Malibu,'" Buchanon explains.
Favorite road trip
During the off season, Buchanon lives near Miami and enjoys driving to Atlanta, taking I-75. "Miami to Atlanta, that's probably my favorite road trip because I have a house in Atlanta too," he laughs. "That's probably why. So it makes it cool to drive."
Buchanon has good childhood memories road tripping in caravans with his family. "When I was young, we used to take a lot of road trips to Mississippi and Chicago. So I'm used to driving and taking road trips, I think they're cool, they're fun. Particularly with my uncle, we would have four vans full of family, and we would drive all the way from Fort Myers to Chicago. Everybody would be asleep, but I would just be up the whole time, looking at the scenery going by."