I wanted to touch base on a topic that can be viewed as a “Tough Topic” to discuss due to the many dynamics of the situation. What I’m referring to would be, Our Youth Athletes that are being used as pawns to generate profits for Coaches, Universities and Professional Teams.
How you may ask !?!?! Great question.
Let’s take a Coach Calipari, Head Coach of the University of Kentucky, in which whom I have Respect for. We all know Coach Calipari, is one of the most Recognized and Respected College Basketball coaches in my generation. Have we ever sat down & taken the time to wonder how each and every year he consistently has his team competing for a National Championship and the Most, if not All of his players are the infamous, “One and Done”. Derek Rose, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Anthony Davis & Karl Anthony Towns etc. (Very Talented Players) How does this “One and Done” benefit these young athletes and how may it hinder them ?!?!
These Young Men, have work extremely hard to achieve their dreams of becoming a professional basketball player, I’m quite sure. Most of the aforementioned players (Derek Rose, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Anthony Davis & Karl Anthony Towns) have also had off the court issues or struggles building with coaching staffs and this can be maturity concern. These young men and women have come from low income families, impoverished neighborhoods/cities/towns and one goal in sight, to make it to the NBA and I don’t blame them. When there’s a character concern, most of these young men are products of their environment. Broken homes, Lack of Guidance, Knowledge, Love, Respect & Resources. These college programs are definitely aware of this & they seek out these Blue Chip players to sell them the dream. The Dream of escaping theses environments where they know they can easily become a statistic or follow in the footsteps of their soon to be entourage, taking their family out of this nightmare is well deserved and earned. When these young men and women jump at these opportunities and rightfully so, however they lose focus of the main goal and that is to Grow, Learn & Earn a Better way. Lets not get it twisted, I would more than likely jump at the opportunity as well.
These colleges, coaches etc. make Millions, if not Billions of dollars from marketing these players performance and images. Meanwhile these players reap none of these profits. Or the ones that do, place themselves in a situation where they can become ineligible to accepting gifts etc. I don’t believe that is fair to these young men and women that come from these environments where they don’t have or know much. The Glitz and Glamor is what really appeals to them. You see, undeveloped minds placed in environments/situations where they’re not knowledgable enough to make the right decisions and the Dream can quickly be taken away.
Now are these programs, coaches etc, sharing these profits with the student athletes, are they sharing these profits with the families of the student athlete ??? Of course not. This is what should concern the masses in regards to this matter. I feel that these players and families are being taken advantage of in a sense, because their main concern is escaping their realities with all the financial benefits that may be ahead. There’s a possibility of this young athlete getting into some trouble and ruining the opportunity for the future. Education, becomes an after thought and this is when one can and will encounter stagnancy in Maturing and Understanding the importance of obtaining an Education. At times, even the parents lose site on education and get blinded by the financial gain.
I understand that Professional Sports is a “Business”. Where’s the line in the sand drawn at, I ask ?!?!? When is Education going to seem as or more Important that any Financial gain. Are these college programs helping on building “Men” or just “Millionaires”. You know Kobe Bryant made a statement recently, that I definitely agree with and I’m even taking it a step deeper. Kobe stated, ” I just think European players are just more skillful”. “Thy are just taught the game the right way at an early age. …. They’re more skillful. It’s something we really have to fix. We really have to address that. We have to teach our kids to play the right way”. As mentioned, I agree and I’m going a little deeper in referencing the above content……. Our coaches, schools & parents can be to blame for this in a sense. Why? It starts from the Homefront and when they start playing and learning when they’re young and it’s our responsibility to teach them the correct way. Education is “Important”, More Important than that money. If you’re able to make that money, then you have to have a certain level of intellects (Education) to manage the money properly so you can have the money hard for you, just as hard as you work for it!!! So when we’re lacking the fundamentals in Basketball, it will affect your personal life as well and hinder your growth.
We shouldn’t look at matters as this as the norm. As parents that raise our children, it’s imperative to ensure that we are accountable for the decisions our children make when their working hard and attempting to achieve the dreams and goals. These evils can impact of youth in a major way, so as parents of such talented children that will help to construct our future, it’s a must that we guide and direct our children the right way. As parents, we should know that we have to struggle in order to succeed and it’s not always greener on the other side, meaning, just because your child has succeeded and has money now all your problems wash away…… “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.
Hopefully in the near future, the NCAA, Coaches and Affiliates will make the system work for the benefit of all parties, mainly the Young Men and Woman.