The Views of College Degrees for NBA Players
For me to state that I believe NBA players should work for their college degrees before, during, or after their careers, I can see where people might also disagree with me on that idea. My opponent might say that getting a degree for an NBA player is useless because they are not going to need it when they are making millions of dollars that could last them a lifetime. The reality of that is, if NBA players do not handle their money right, they could end up scraping the surface to pay their bills and having to sell their luxurious items. Some NBA players could be thinking the same thing as my opponent, “Oh I have money to buy this, it is not a big deal.” If a player says that before he makes every purchase, that money in his bank account is going to eventually disappear. The players have to learn how to handle their money correctly so they do not go broke. That’s where former NBA player Antoine Walker learned his lesson. Walker had some serious debt with Las Vegas casinos and ended up losing over $1 million in a year and later declared bankruptcy after some bad real-estate investments. Walker decided not to listen to his financial advisor and eventually paid for it in a bigger way than he could ever imagine. In an interview with Jane Wollmann Rusoff from ThinkAdvisor, Walker admits that he was stubborn with the way he wanted to spend his money and that he was young and was not thinking about his life after basketball, the way that his financial advisor was. NBA players could get a business degree, for example, so they can learn how to handle their money correctly and make the right investments if they choose.
My opponent could be contemplating right now that the current and former NBA players can hire a financial advisor to handle their finances. The problem with that idea is that the players have to put complete trust into people they know nothing about, ultimately with their whole lives. In Rusoff’s interview with Walker, when she asks him if he had a financial advisor, he answers, “yes, but back then you don’t know who’s good or who’s bad when choosing one.” Financial advisors dealing with their money could be scamming the players or encouraging them to invest in things that will make them lose more money rather than gain. If the NBA players got a business degree and understood the ideas of handling their money, they would not have to put their trust into strangers and they could do as they please with their money.
My opponent might also be thinking that NBA players do not need a degree when they are looking for jobs once they retire because they are simply famous and everyone should know their names. Most people are probably going to know the popular names of the players in the NBA which could give them an easier time getting jobs, but that does not automatically make them qualified for any and every job. For example, let’s say a retired player wanted to become a teacher and give back to the kids in their community. A school district is not going to hire the retired player just because they are famous and played a professional sport. They need to be qualified for the job and the school district needs to know that they actually understand the material that they will teach to the students. Not every retired athlete wants to become a broadcaster or movie star like Shaquille O’Neal or Rick Fox, others might want to fulfill another dream of theirs.
To go along with an earlier argument of mine that the one-and-done rule is a waste of time, my opponent could see the rule as a beneficial factor that could make or break a rookie’s career. Although the one-and-done rule gives the NBA prospect a chance to play a higher level of competitive basketball before the NBA, it is a huge risk factor for unnecessary injuries. By playing a season in college, the players are giving their bodies a chance to ruin their careers before they’re even started. If a player is going to be a first round draft pick after high school, that most likely is not going to change if he plays one season in college. That player is missing out on a year’s worth salary that he could be using to support his family. The player’s family could be banking on him making over a million dollars his rookie season in the NBA to help keep them financially afloat, but everytime he steps onto a college court, there is always a chance that the dream might diminish and his families’ lives could crumble.
My opponent might even be reasoning that not everyone needs a college degree to be successful. While they are correct and that there are many people who have successful businesses while they started from nothing, getting a college degree is more about a sense of accomplishment. In the article, “Drew Gooden fulfills promise to earn his college degree,” written by Marc J. Spears, Gooden, former Washington Wizards center, talks about graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in communication. He states “It was a relief because there was something missing in my life that was incomplete. It was getting the degree.” In 2002 when Gooden decided to enter the NBA draft, he promised his mother and his University of Kansas basketball coach that he was going to get his degree. In a Sports Illustrated article written by Stanley Kay, John Wall, current Washington Wizards player, talks about how he made a promise to his father before he died, that he was going to get a college degree. In the summer of 2018, Wall decided to return to the University of Kentucky to earn a business degree. For many players, a college degree represents an opportunity that most of their families never had a chance to obtain. Players see getting their degree as an obligation to their family and the reality that they made it in life.
“Antoine Walker’s Crumble.” ThinkAdvisor. Ex-NBA Star Says He Should’ve Listened to His Financial Advisor. Jane Wollmann Rusoff. June 2019.
“Drew Gooden Getting College Degree.” The Undefeated. Drew Gooden Fulfills Promise to Earn His College Degree. Marc J. Spears. May 2017.
“John Wall’s Return to College.”Sports Illustrated. John Wall Plans to Return to College This Summer to Pursue Degree, Fulfill Promise to Father. Stanley Kay. February 2018.