NBA Draft 2017: Welcome to the League!
One question: How much will this new found fame affect the person, the athlete?
A view of Barclays Center during NBA Draft 2017 in Brooklyn borough of New York, United States on June 22, 2017. Photo: Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Congratulations to the successful basketball players of the 2017 NBA Draft
By JARRETTE FELLOWS, III
As a former collegiate athlete, I often find myself drifting in and out of nostalgia when it comes to the NBA Draft. I can recall all of the hard work I invested to get noticed by colleges, the extra work put in after practices to earn more minutes of playing time, the satisfaction when I excelled on the court, and the resultant accolades from my peers.
When you ascend to the highest level — professional sports — it is very difficult to gauge how much your life is going to change. You already are popular, as the college where you competed has acclaimed your name and everything about you. You’re suddenly approached by strangers and solicited for many requests. Extended family members emerge from the farthest corners of the past in your memory banks to ask a favor or two. Or better yet, you become more attractive to the droves of hangers-on, fighting for your attention.
The one question that continues to pop into your head is, how much will this new found fame affect the person, the athlete?
Having fallen prey to some of the traps presented in college, I am all too familiar with the pitfalls lurking around the corner for a professional athlete. I have several friends who played professionally and all of the traps and distractions out there never leave and will remain in plain sight for athletes to decide whether or not the risk is worth taking.
For those who come from adverse backgrounds, I only hope you keep the harsh memories in mind. Those memories drove me to strive and earn my college degree. Going backward was not an option.
In the 2017 NBA Draft, I am extremely excited for those of you whose lives dramatically changed in one night. I will continue to follow your basketball career for better or for worse, as I am a basketball fan first and your careers are very important to me. I can only live vicariously through your successes as I didn’t make it as far as you have. I will never yearn for your downfall, only triumphs (unless you’re playing against my team — I am yet a fan, remember?).
While this may seem as yet another rant from yet another blogger, it is nonetheless genuine and comes from a sincere place — memories of a successful collegiate career. My only wish is that you, who are now young millionaires remember where you came from and continue to do the positive things that elevated you to the plateau for which you find yourselves today.
Jarrette Fellows, III, is the founder and CEO of 3rilogy Designs, a Minnesota-based shirt design company specializing in “catch phrase apparel.” Contact: (651) 253-0919 or firstname.lastname@example.org