Go Pro, Young Man

October 10th, 2007 by Damon

The last month has been a bad one for last year’s star 7-foot freshmen: Greg Oden has had knee surgery, Spencer Hawes has been scheduled for knee surgery, and Brook Lopez has been declared academically ineligible for the first part of the season. Meanwhile, one-time surefire 1st round pick and current 1st round age limit casualty Bill Walker struggles to recover his trademark explosiveness after having his ACL fixed. Had he been born a year earlier, he’d be rehabbing on the dime of an NBA club, with another couple years of guaranteed pay ahead of him. Sort of like prep-to-pro Robert Swift, who’s been paid handsomely to recover from knee surgery, or Swift’s classmate Shaun Livingston, who may never play again but who can now afford decades of tuition payments.

Shaun Livingston ACL knee
Don’t fret, Shaun. You have a guaranteed contract. That’s even better than AFLAC!

The lesson, college stars? Don’t believe the hype—unless the hype is that you’re a consensus first-round pick. And as soon as that’s the case, get out. You’re always warned about the snackers looking for a slice of your NBA pie–agents, entourages, etc.–but don’t forget about their more established counterparts, the suit-and-tie, stay-in-school faction. Remember: all those folks in the broadcast booths and press rows make money on you staying in college. Your coach makes money on you staying in college. People will tell you to stay when you don’t need to. And a lot of them are just blowhards who get off on telling a kid that he’s gotta pay his dues.

The odds that an extra year in school will make the difference between NBA sink and swim are pretty slim; talent and hard work generally do the trick. (In fact, preps-to-pros have been the most successful of any group of draftees.) So when you get the chance to be financially set for life, you’d be wise to take it. Because while Dickie V. will ejaculate your praises to the tune of a lucrative DiGiornio’s endorsement deal (for him, not you), he ain’t gonna fill your coffers if your knee goes crunch.

Dick Vitale Digiornio
I’m eating your lunch, baby!

7 Responses to “Go Pro, Young Man”

  1. peter Says:

    Damon!! Great post, glad to see you at it and finally getting some well-earned love.

  2. Ken Says:

    Makes so much sense.

    I wonder though. Anyone have an opinion about this and the NFL? I know players don’t get drafted after something like 3 years in college? And football is an ever harder sport physically, how come this isn’t an issue? (I don’t know that much about the NFL so please enlighten me)

  3. Damon Says:

    Yeah, the NFL has an age limit–you have to be three years out of high school. Maurice Clarett challenged it in federal court and lost, in what I thought was a pretty poor ruling. Funny thing: while in law school, I decided to sleep in and skip a field trip to watch the Second Circuit in action, and it turned out the case being argued that day was Clarett’s. Bummer.

  4. doug Says:

    damon, i’m sorry but i fail to see what’s funny about your anectdote. it sounds more sad than anything else :(

  5. Throwbacks Says:

    I’m a lover of football, just wish it was played all year round, thanks for posting such a good article. I’ll be back to read often now.
    Dave

  6. Regine Schumer Says:

    I won’t think twice to suggest the website to anyone who should receive assistance about this topic.

  7. Theo Ungerleider Says:

    All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you might repair in case you werent too busy searching for attention.

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