If you are College basketball Superstar like Kemba Walker, who is being courted by the best of the best to become the next NBA Legend, you are better than #winning right now.
Kemba Walker, basketball sensation from the University of Connecticut recently announced his decision to enter the NBA draft. Soon after, he admitted that he recently finished his first book, “Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete” by New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden as apart of his independent study as he prepares to graduate college on May 8th.
What’s surprising to people is how could a college student graduate with only reading one book cover to cover.
Matt Keibus of deathandtaxesmag.com writes, “I’m sick of pundits saying these kids should be paid on top of being given, oh, just a couple hundred thousand dollars in scholarship money. They get an invaluable college education for free, something to fall back on when their professional career finishes or their body inevitably fails them over the course of the next twenty years. And they get all of this without the debt of normal college students, and seemingly only a quarter of the academic effort.”
For me, this is not surprising. He’s probably not the first nor the last to admit to his academic shortcomings. There is an underlying fundamental piece that is being ignored… It’s about mentor-ship and your value system. What is important to Mr. Walker is becoming a successful basketball player, What is important to Mr. Walker is entering the NBA. What you value, what is important to you, drives your success. His mentors, coaches, and those around him did not reinforce the vital importance of college and how it is a life-changing experience that helps you develop your goals and values. Therefore, taking advantage of your education was not a top priority. I’m not saying that Kemba Walker does not have positive people around him or that isn’t an intelligent young man. But it is a shame, that his education took a backseat to journey to the NBA.
I am a believer in every person utilizing every opportunity that is afforded to them especially Education. Take a look at Carolina’s Harrison Barnes outlook on College & the NBA:
“As an 18-year old, I’m in the early stages of my life journey,” Barnes says. “I’m honored and blessed for the chance to play in the NBA. And because of my family, teachers, passion, and work, I have the ultimate dream of one day playing and experiencing a fulfilling career in the NBA. Opportunities, both beneficial and life changing, can seem to make the next phase of my journey an easy decision. But I am a student-athlete at the University of North Carolina. I’m here to experience college life, grow as a person, receive a quality education, and be part of the greatest basketball family in college sports.”
I can only hope that parents, coaches, and teachers that surround these young men being recruited to top tier colleges and universities stress the dire importance that education is the gateway to accomplishing anything that you want. Education cultivates your values, beliefs, and enhances your life experiences. It is the ONLY thing that no one can take away from you.
“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.” -Martin Luther King Jr.