As we travel to the national basketball tournament with my 9 year old son I was perusing the AAU website and was pleased to see blog posts on various interesting topics. One post in particular intrigued me. NBA Commissioner, Silver, is proposing to change the “one and done” culture that currently exists.
On the long drive to Orlando my husband and I engaged in a conversation about the proposal to require NBA players to complete more than one year of college or to impose an age minimum age requirement. I personally think that college is extremely important to one’s personal development in addition to gaining the knowledge that become the building blocks to a successful career. Also, I would like to think that everyone, even the most talented athlete can benefit from the transformation that occurs while immersed in an academic environment. The intangibles of college cannot be minimized.
Conversely, I understand the physical limitations that exist in a sport career. I know that time spent in college could be valuable time that these athletes can capitalize on their youth and maximize their earning potential. I also recognize that there are many careers that do not require a college degree at all. To complicate the issue even further are the Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world who decided to take a non conventional route to success. There are successful entrepreneurs who have not enrolled in or completed college. To keep it real professional basketball players make more money than I will probably ever see in my lifetime.
But I had to stop and think how I would feel if my son’s talent placed him in the category where he could forgo his last three years of college and be a serious candidate for the draft. I settled on a few questions that I would ponder.
1 ) Have I raised my child to make sound decisions based on knowledge, wise counsel and spritual guidance?
2) Is my child socially and emotionally mature enough to handle the lifestyle of a professional athlete?
3) Is my child academically focused enough that he would still persue receiving his degree?
I think if I can unequivocally answer yes to these questions I would have to strongly consider allowing him to pursue a career as a professional athlete.
One thing I know for sure is that at the age of 19 my child would not make that decison alone. I am a firm believer that I will parent my children closely until I am fully confident that they are able to fly on their own. I will make sure their decisions are the best for the long term and not just immediate gratification-even if there are millions of dollars at stake.