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Why the Nba Dream Is Ruining College Basketball

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The National Basketball Association is a corporate powerhouse with installments in nearly every major city in the United States. With the exception of European soccer, professional basketball generates more money per season than any other sport in the world. NBA superstars carry as much authority in the entertainment business as the most popular actors, comedians, and musicians. Even the guys who are last off the bench are making more money in one season than the average middle-class worker makes in five years. Corporate America sells its images, logos, slogans, ideas, and viable goods by employing NBA stars to speak publicly on-behalf of their materials. More and more NBA players are showing up in commercials, in magazine ads, on billboards, and in movies. They have their own radio talk shows, their own clothing and shoe lines, their own video games, and even their own restaurants. Essentially, turning pro opens the door to a lifestyle of undeniable prestige, comfort, and public adornment. NBA players can commit the harshest of criminal violations and get off with minimal penalties. NBA players can have just about any woman they want! Enough said. Thankfully, it takes an incredible amount of skill and determination to make it as a professional basketball player. In the last twenty-five years only a handful of high-school athletes have skipped college and gone straight to the big show. Some of these young men built enduring careers and some were washed out before they reached the legal drinking age of 21. Some made it to the hall-of-fame and some remain in the hall-of-shame. Nevertheless, in the past five years there has been an upsurge in the number of high-school athletes who have chosen to forego college and enter the draft. Debate and discussion over this topic as been heated as of late. College coaches argue against professional coaches, writers and reporters argue against sporting agents and advertising executives, and parents squabble with their blue-chip prospects. Supporters of this trend say high-school athletes have the right to select their own path, while their opponents argue that high-school athletes miss-out on a remarkable education opportunity by overlooking the college experience. Clearly, the NBA has no intention of preventing high-school athletes from entering the draft; thus, their position seems translucent at best. As long as these young athletes learn the game and are marketable by the league's standards they will be applauded for their efforts.

College basketball has suffered as of late because of this inclination. Too many talented kids have jumped to the pros without considering the benefits college offers. Besides earning a substantial degree and being able to find a job after the basketball years have passed, college allows athletes to physical and mentally mature in their roles as leaders on and off the court. The skill levels of younger generations are evolving at an astonishing rate, but basketball at the professional level is much more than skill. The NBA game is as much mental patience and court understanding as it is physical domination. High school athletes typically lack the mental sharpness playing in the NBA demands, but college recruiters and coaches have not been able to successfully sell the benefits of education over the big pay offs agents guarantee. Maturity off the court is another issue. Eighteen and nineteen year-old professional athletes should not have to deal with the stresses the NBA unleashes on its new inductees. Money, women, drugs, gambling, travel demands, and corporate contracts are extremely dangerous at such young ages. Once again, it comes back to college representatives not being able to out-market NBA agents and the big promises and incentives they regularly promise.



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