Here's an update on Arthur Agee, one of the two stars from Hoop Dreams, the classic documentary. Agee was the guy who never quite got that he had to buckle down and master all aspects of the game and who was, basically and sadly, self-deceptive about his desire for hard work, if not his talent, and therefore his basketball destiny.
He's still living off the movie, having set up a foundation, and now he's on a "Hoop Dreams" tour.
"We want to take the whole message of my dream and really pass it on to the next hoop dreamer. That's the thing they're going to be lacking. This platform will speak for those people. It'll give them a voice," he tells USAToday.
He might also point out to them that having a platform didn't really do him much good, and if he had taken after his friend and co-star, William Gates, he wouldn't be pushing Hoop Dreams on kids when he couldn't realize his own.
We're all thrilled when we see a kid make it, but like boxing, there is an amazing amount of deception in basketball culture. For all the talk of let-them-make-the-money, there is, for instance, almost no talk of teaching them how to actually deal with the money. Nor is there much discussion of the importance of education, which, aside from broadly opening the mind, helps people to understand vital concepts like markets, sound investment principles, and the reality that an understanding of Plato, Shakespeare, and Lincoln can actually inform your life and help you to make wise moral and practical decisions.
Nothing is much crueler than giving someone great wealth for a decade or two, only to watch them fall back into poverty. Everyone is entitled to blow their money if they'd like of course, but the NBA should really institute some sort of professional continuing education, primarily focusing on sound finances.
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