How the mass marketing of basketball players changed their effectiveness

Posted by By at 18 August, at 06 : 48 AM Print

How the mass marketing of basketball players changed their effectiveness

It all starts with picking up a basketball.  The immortal “kodak moment” of one’s father teaching their son how to shoot, dribble and defend in the front yard of their house. Then follows playing in the park after school until the sun went down, playing in neighborhood streets with ten other kids from surrounding neighborhood’s, then youth leagues, high school and if possible, college and beyond. Somewhere along the way in the last thirty years, wedged into this timeline, came the need to turn pro and provide for one’s family or to have a shoe named after them, get signed to an endorsement deal and/or make millions.

Yes, now sports in the United States has morphed into an ugly representation of the above portrait shown of a son/daughter and their father/mother/aunt/uncle into an instant money making venture based on the possibilities of future earnings. The young American basketball player doesn’t have to spend hours upon hours practicing on the court or field, dreaming of becoming great because the prospect of great fortune and notoriety are too tempting to wait based on pressure from family, friends and agents. The harnessing and sharpening of one’s skills is something that can be left for later, while their current talent can be used now for instant gain. It can be seen in the “Wow” factor used by TV sports analysts in describing players’ as ‘athletic freaks’ or them being sold as having ‘tremendous upside’.
What is lost in this though is that, as equally superficial as the Norman Rockwell painting of a father teaching his son how to shoot and dribble in the front yard and/or young kids ending up on YouTube for their circus shots and dunks,  is an athlete’s ability to work on his or her fundamentals minus the undue pressure. Every Tom, Dick and Joe the Plumber can remember the opportunity at their local park to play the game and dream. As thin as dreams might be, it allowed kids everywhere to develop their own motivations to continue advancing to higher levels of competition on their own “wind”. In America, different from other countries (see Eastern Bloc Nations) who had and have national sports programs to develop young children, a person would “get out of it” what “they put into it”. No more, no less. Sports would be a way to teach about life, develop character, mental toughness and the value of hard work. Many businessmen and women, scientists, doctors, lawyers and even Joe the Plumber can cite participation in recreational sports as a basis for their present day habits.

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