While listening to, ‘The Locker Room; with Kevin Sheehan’ (a sports talk on 980 am in Washington D.C.) the other day, an emailer from Gaithersburg (who is a white male) sent the host a message about why he and his family don’t like the NBA and why he encourage his son not to play basketball because he thinks his son won’t have a future in the NBA, mainly because he’s ‘white’. All parents, no matter what color you are or culture you represent, listen up! If you keep your 10 year old or younger child out of a certain sport because you think they won’t have a chance to become a professional athlete or if you get them into sports, pushing them to become a professional athlete, you are a fool.
Sheehan is a good talk show host and it good that he likes to tackle stuff issues. Parents shouldn’t focus on their child becoming a professional athlete at the age or 10 and younger and most importantly, keeping a child out of a sport because for a cultural reason and because of their ‘color.’ The possibility of a child becoming a professional athlete is less than slim. Since the emailer talked about the NBA, let’s ‘hyperdealily’ look at the chances a child, of any color, have in making it to the NBA.
The state of Maryland, roughly, have 2,000 high schools, each roster have at least 12 players and so that’s 24,000 players in the state, alone, who wants to play in a major program in hopes of getting notice by NBA scouts. For the sake of an argument, numbers and size of other states, there are 49 other states with the same number of high schools with the same number of players on a roster like Maryland have and that’s about 1.2 million kids with the same inspirations to get into one of the, roughly, 130 division I program in this country, not including foreign players. Besides division II and III programs, at least 4 players from each division I institution want to go to the NBA after their senior year or leave school early and be in the NBA Draft, if they are able. Now, you are looking at about 520 inspired athletes out of the 1.2 million who wanted to get into the NBA since high school (again, not including foreign players), trying to make the roster of one of the 32 teams that only needs 2 or 3 players, roughly, making 96 players each year needed, after selecting 58 players in a draft. After reading these numbers (which can be applied to any team sport) and if you are still depending on your child to make the NBA at the age of 10 years old or younger, you are stuck on stupid.
The purpose of youth sports, parents, is to in store confidence, have fun, to help teach the ability to work with others, and to help teach discipline, period. It is the parent’s job to expose their child to things, encourage them and guide, not push, their child into what their passion is. Most children at the age of 10 or younger just want to have fun and meet new friends while playing sports.
What the emailer said about why he and his family not liking the NBA and stopping his son from playing basketball because ‘he’s white’ and there’s no future for him in the NBA is almost borderline racist. To say a child won’t be successful in the NBA or anything because of their color is stupid and ignore. Parents, let your child be a child and don’t live your fantasies through their eyes. If they want to go into Corporate America, become a service worker or be an entertainer, provide them with all the sources they need. If your child decides to pursue a career as a professional athlete, at an appropriate age, hallelujah, because I will still have a job, hopefully.