This past Sunday Pete Thamel of the New York Times composed a story on another superb basketball player that made a huge mistake at a young age. Thamel’s piece inspired the following blog entry.
MAKING THE RIGHT PLAY
“The secret of your success is discovered in your daily agenda.” -John Maxwell
Almost every city has had one at one time or another.
They go back to the 1950′s and still show their ugly side in 2012.
With the 24-7 social media, they can’t escape.
The process usually starts at a young age.
They have a special talent.
Often spoke about around school, their town, city and they burst onto national scene with the help of the media and scouting services. Radio talk show hosts adore them and have them on air for awkward interviews.
The public idolize them. Message boards on websites rave about them. They are the latest “trend” on Twitter. Their videos are uploaded on Youtube and we can’t forget about writing a diary for Slam Magazine.
At too early in their lives they are put on a pedestal.
Coaches cater to them. Sneaker companies want them. Agents dispatch their runners to convert them.
It is rare anyone says ‘no’ to them. It is rare they are taught any discipline. Treated with kid gloves. Basically, they are allowed to do what they want, when they want.
You can’t correct them, give them advice or even try to change them…that is until it’s too late. And when it’s too late, they all have one thing in common, they apologize and wish they would have done the right thing. They have regrets.
Jonathon Hargett had serious issues at a young age; but he also had resources to help him. I understand he had a difficult life at home (which by the way is usual the starting line for a deviant child). He chose the wrong path.
We can sit here all day and list players who have had a special talent on the basketball court and threw it all away, but that would be boring and downright depressing… and a waste of time. We know the usual suspects. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped. I have been involved in the game of basketball for forty years; what’s a man to do?
We’ve heard it over and over; What this player did back in the day, what they are capable of doing now. How high they jumped, how many points they scored in a summer league game. Stories have been written and documentaries have been filmed, but honestly, is everything being done to help these kids before it’s too late?
It starts with the adults. At home, in the class and the AAU and high school coach. The teachers at school and the administrators need to be held accountable too. The college coaches can’t be let off the hook either. It will take an effort, a serious effort where the blinders need to be removed.
As adults and followers of the game, we’re not doing enough. We’re allowing them to skate. They’re kids, they can’t make the right decisions at a young age. We need to guide them. Show them the way. They are being influenced by the wrong people and things.
Make no mistake, I’m not advocating holding their hands or making it easy on them and I’m certainly not letting them off the hook. It takes the athlete himself not to get caught up in the streets and the deviant behavior that will be the downfall to their future.
Drugs, criminal behavior, booze…three habits that seem to be the most glaring problem with athletes. Running with the wrong crowd, disrespecting adults (especially women), are ways to find yourself rolling down the wrong path.
It takes serious self-evaluation to make sure the athletes do not wind up in an awful mess and ruin their family name. It takes digging down deep and getting to the root of the problem.
Over the next few days I will cover different traits that have ruined many basketball players and I will write about what one can do to avoid the epidemic. I will also mention players that have fallen victim…a victim of circumstances that possibly could have saved their careers; and for some, their life.
As a basketball player, it’s your life. What do you want to do; excel both on and off the court or be a nuisance to those around you and break the hearts of the ones who ‘really’ care about you?
It’s your choice.
You have a chance to shine.
Don’t waste your life.
Don’t throw away your career because of a foolish decision.