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Leaving Early - Two Ways To Look At It

Jeff Capel's star player at Oklahoma, Blake Griffin, didn't put his name in for the draft, despite the fact that he'd be a high selection. Gary Parrish can't understand it, arguing thusly:

That means he left a guaranteed two-year contract worth at least $3.6 million on the table in favor of another year at Oklahoma, and, my God, that must be difficult to do. Consider: The 22-year-old kid who graduates college this year and lands a job making $50,000 annually will be 94 years old before he accumulates what Griffin could have before the age of 21. I would encourage all stay-in-school-and-get-your-degree advocates to clip that statistic and read it any time they feel moved to e-mail about the value of an education, because when it comes to high-level basketball prospects, a college education is about as useless as a box of Big Brown Triple Crown T-shirts.

Well, depends on how smart you are. As Mark Cuban pointed out on his blog recently (we can't find the link anymore, unfortunately), most NBA players end up broke when they're out of the league: by the time you factor in taxes, the various people who want a piece of you, and the high rolling lifestyle of the league, you're really not talking about very much money. It's good money by normal standards, but not enough to live the rest of your life on.

And then there's the case of a guy like Sean Livingston, who, as we discuss elsewhere today, might not be able to recover from his knee injury, and may be out of the league before he's 22.

At the very least, guys who are going to make millions should get a basic financial education. And a liberal arts education, would, at some point, expose them to the weaknesses of human nature, which would be instructive for guys who get their butts kissed from high school forward.