NBA draftees and Orientation week

Posted by By at 19 June, at 14 : 38 PM Print

NBA draftees and Orientation week

2008–Two players get thrown out of the NBA orientation week for draftees for posession of marijuana. The NBA has conducted these orientation workshops since 1986 to teach new players who are entering adulthood on how to cope with the demands of professional basketball and increased attention from family, friends and others because of their new salaries and fanfare. The workshops focus on former players’ telling stories of drug abuse, alcohol abuse as well as handling money, interviewing and professional conduct as a professional athlete.

But the structure of the orientation week has stayed the same for too long and from reading past news articles, draftees have reacted with a mixed bag of emotions, with the above incident in 2008 being the “kicker”. Draftees have shown the most concern about getting robbed above all other issues during the sessions when they are allowed to ask questions to the workshop organizers. At the end of the orientation, players are graded on their retention with a “jeopardy-like” quiz. This though, shows that changing the structure of orientation week to a more dynamic, constantly changing agenda then staying with a static, dull and boring one is in order. The NBA should, instead of testing if the draftees’ retained the information, distribute forms to get player feedback on whether the week made a difference to them and what issues are important to them from year to year. Workshops should be then formulated and conducted based on this feedback and the entire message of the reason for orientation be tied into the changing landscape of issues.

In reading responses from executives from past articles, the players’ yawn through the week. As a fan, the worst thing to watch is players’ such as Antoine Walker lose over $100 million dollars during his NBA career because of bad investments, greedy friends and vices. People may deny it, but professional sports is a privilege and is one every man and woman at one time or another has dreamed about in their lives. Its not because of the money, its getting paid to play a game. And when an athlete goes down “in flames” because of drug abuse, bad finances or career-ending injuries it is as if it could’ve been a neighbor or friend of a friend. The constanly changing issues though for a player demand greater attention and innovation from NBA executives for this important occasion.

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