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Black Athletes in Society

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In the collegiate world of sports, basketball has become an increasingly recognized sport among African Americans, predominantly males. The hope of any young basketball player is that one day a scout will come and recruit them into stardom The question that presents itself as a problem to the lucky few who are chosen to go professional, is whether or not an education is more important than a million dollar shoe deal, "The NCAA's (1998) annual six-year study reported that only 33% of Black male basketball players graduated, (Chronicle of Higher Education, 1999). Individually, basketball reported the lowest graduation rate in all divisions," (Robinson, 2004:1). Basketball players have become so idolized in the eyes of young Black male basketball athletes, that the value of education appear to be less important in the development of these young men, "According to Sailes (1997), there is an over-representation of Black males in particular sports and an under-representation in other segments of American society. He provides the example of percentages of Black males competing in the NBA (77%), NFL (65%), MLB (15%), and MLS (16%) in comparison to the fact that fewer than 2% of doctors, lawyers, architects, college professors, or business executives are Black males.", (Robinson, 2004:1). The idea of the attainment of a professional basketball player's salary in the NBA, without even having to go to school for the time it takes to earn a degree is very appealing to some players. Those with a wealthy, or even upper-middle class upbringing may not view material assets as a priority. In the Black community, we have theorized that money and success play a more important role than education in most households. Although these two seem to go together, one resulting from the other, this does not apply in the sports world. Our research will examine the role that the family value system plays in influencing Black vs. White male athletes to turn professional, as opposed to obtaining a college degree before turning professional.

The role of the family value system encouraging Black male athletes to graduate from college appears to be less influential than that of White male athletes. The attainment of a professional basketball contract is more important because the value system in African American families appears to be focused more on immediate gratification. So rather than an education that could eventually bring money into the family, a basketball contract is valued at a much higher level, because it is instant. One month, the family is struggling to pay for groceries and rent, the next they are all living in mansion, driving expensive cars, and eating at expensive restaurants. In White households, the expectancy to go through many stages of school and earn various degrees in order to achieve this level of living is more standard. "The percentage of associates degrees attained increased by a small amount over bachelors degrees attained by Blacks in the academic year of 2000-2001. In all of the masters degrees acquired, Blacks were accountable for 8%, and a small portion of first professional and doctoral degrees, only accounting for 7% and 5% of those. Whites were said to have obtained the highest number of degrees," (Hoffman, 2204: 1). It is our goal to use our research to prove this point.

The role of the family value system in influencing Black male athletes appears to be less important than that of White male athletes. Although the Black community makes up 12% of the collegiate population, only 3% of those have a Ph.D. and only 6.7% have a Bachelors degree, (Hu, 2004:1). The value system in African American families appears to be focused more on immediate gratification, rather than education, which seems to be a bigger value in White families. Basketball players White vs. Black have some goals to meeting in order to become successful in the sport of basketball. There are some influences that make some of the White and Black athletes want to go after the money and not an education. What is it that motivates these athletes to turn pro instead of getting an education? Can it be the demographic or SES (Socio economic status) of the athlete and their family that influences their choice to enlist early into the NBA.

One aspect of this study will look at SES and how it might affect the family values. There are more Black athletes that come from a home where there is either a single parent or two parents that have a low education, or the disparities of where the home is located in the suburbs to the inner cities that presents a challenge for the Black athletes. What makes some of these black and white athletes want to press on to play basketball and not have a concern about getting and education while in college. The living conditions of where white and black athletes live do play a role in going into the NBA or getting an education before going in. These same conditions also seem to show why some of the black athletes end up going into the NBA right after high school and not pursuing college at all. The demographics of were white and black athletes come from play a crucial role in were they end up going for and education to playing in the NBA.

Some of the issues in why some of the white and black athletes look upon education are based on the home of where each athlete's parents come from. The level of income that one white family might have over a black family plays a role in where each family lives, the type of education, job status and where each white and black family lives in America.

For example, if blacks and whites are not equally well informed about the stock market, or if employer-provided pension plans are not equally opened across races, there will be a systematic difference in the valuation for home ownership as a wealth generating instrument. Also, rates of return from home owning may differ systematically by race because of racial segregation in housing markets. Given that blacks and whites have different incomes, on average, housing values might appreciate differently in the two communities, causing the attractiveness of housing as an investment vehicle to differ between blacks and whites as well (Charles and Hurst, 6).

Blacks do not know how or where to get advice on stock information to getting a house that fits their needs. The income level of blacks and whites are different making it harder for blacks to have better opportunity on housing. Even to the community of where white and black families are going to live have a major role on the type of schools that have good education for their children to attend. Some whites and black athletes have a better opportunity depending on where their parents live and what type of education the parents have. Having an education is one tool that can be used to get the



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