Education vs. the Lure of Pro Basketball

Written by

David J. Pate, Jr.
David J. Pate, Jr. David J. Pate Jr, is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. He is a member of the Ford Foundation Scholars Network on Masculinity and the Wellbeing of African American Males.

As a father, my heart breaks.

The starting five of the University of Kentucky basketball team – the 2012 NCAA champions – announced earlier this month that they’re leaving college to go pro. It happens every year in the wake of March Madness, but as an African-American father, I feel my heart crack a little.

Yes these young champions will make money, lots of it, and will have access to instant fame.

I understand why they made the choice, but their collective decision says something about the options in front of all young African-American men. The Great Migration that saw my elders move from the farm to the factory has shifted; these days, too many men of promise move from college to pro sports.

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