Now, before we go bemoaning the priorities of the youth of today, it’s worth noting that the young men profiled in ESPN’s story seem to be strongly focused on academics.
But every time I hear about athletes leaving college early to go to the pros – or now, high school to go to college – I think about an antecdote I heard about Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs.
Apparently, while riding in a car outside the Wake Forest campus, Duncan took a look around at the North Carolina countryside and said: “How can I leave all this?”
That’s an attitude I find refreshing. I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of getting a college education, and the distant odds of becoming a wealthy professional athlete, so I won’t patronize you about it.
I’ll simply ask: When did we become so focused on the next step that we discarded the present as some obstacle in our path to whatever goal we had?
Be it our current job, our education or even the commercials in between an episode of House, it seems more and more people just aren’t satisfied with now.
Now maybe Duncan just really liked Winston-Salem. Not having been, I can’t speak to its appeal. But my guess is, Duncan was speaking about his station in life, and how much it appealed to him. And I would suspect he doesn’t regret his decision to hang out at that station for another year.
Players who leave school early shouldn’t feel like they’re doing anything wrong; they’ve made their decision and are entitled to it. But I hope at some point, they all appreciate the present.