“One in a 4,000 to 12,000.”
“With the number one pick of the ______draft, the _______ select_____________ from the University of_____________________.” These are the words so many collegiate athletes will not hear. And if you read my previous post about hoop dreams you would know this, but this topic is about something else. It’s about something so much more sinister. And the reason I say sinister is because it actually is the degrading of an entire community. When you have millions of young boys wanting a job only 1:4,233 will get in the NFL and 1:11,771 in the NBA, there is a problem. And that problem is that unless you are able to play a sport or better yet, have a career in entertainment, what are your odds of success. When in reality, the avenue to other careers is a lot more practical.
I grew up in an environment where you didn’t see Black doctors, lawyers, engineers, or even that many school teachers. Everybody was struggling to survive, or breaking the law to do so. But, the main thing that benefited me is that I went to schools where you were encouraged to be different and dream it up in life. Now, my career path is geared toward being a self employed artist (Indie film, author, photography, podcasting), but I found this path. I went to business school because I thought it was something I wanted to do. On the other hand, so many young Black males only see the face of success in being the athlete or entertainer. You don’t see the other professionals because once they become successful, they remove themselves from the environment from which they once lived. And then there is always the typical slang rocks without the jump shot. So the idea that criminality is the option outside of winning the lottery is problematic as well.
Your life needs to go through a SWOT analysis. But this is something I learned in graduate school pertaining to business. But it can also be used to your advantage in life. Know you strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is something I constantly think about in my own life that so many Black males growing up don’t have or even know about. Meaning, you are 5’9″, your odds of being an NBA All-Star is rare. That would be seen as a weakness, and knowing only how to dribble a ball is a threat. But what about the opportunities and strengths. A strength to a young Black male may be something we never knew we had, and opportunities are all around us. I live in New York City, being a photographer, you have the city in your hands to do as you please artistically. That is an endless opportunity. But with the same trends headed in the direction its headed, Black women, who have already outgrown us in education and jobs, will be even further. They don’t have a hoop dream because female athletes don’t get big money.
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