NBA vs. NCAA - My own personal debate

My boys have watched high school phenom Brandon Jennings for the last few years dazzle the courts. I wouldn't call him a role model but perhaps someone who's court game they look up to. We were excited earlier this year when he announced that he would be signing his letter of intent to play for Lute Olsen at Arizona. Yesterday it was announced that he decided to forego college and play overseas instead . And so my debate with NBA vs. NCAA begins.

Pro - Brandon Jennings won't be the last big-time basketball recruit from the 2008 class to choose overseas money rather than the stereotypical college package. We assume that high profile basketball and football recruits often receive "illegal" benefits for pretending to be student-athletes at America's institutions of higher learning. We assume that journalists and news organizations make names for themselves by exposing the fact that the kids and their guardians are just as greedy as the negotiating coach we look up to. Jennings is smart. Why play the back and forth game? Why pretend to be a college student for one semester when he can't even pass the SAT or ACT?

Surely he will have one of his "crew" turn on him the way Louis Johnson did OJ Mayo. After being OJ's "guardian/friend throughout high school the "friend" turned-snitch went on "Outside the Lines" and discussed that he had receipts proving, Mayo had a flat-screen TV in his dorm room, ate a illegal meals and received pocket change from agent Bill Duffy's employees. Shocking! O.J. Mayo is really O.J. Simpson!!! The story didn't hurt Mayo's draft stock, but it may have damaged his possible future endorsement deals and will cost him money in legal fees to fight the allegations. It's a rigged game. There are no winners. Take kids out the ghetto. Dangle money in their face and tell them, just look but don't touch. Why are we playing along? Why are we punishing 18 and 19 year old kids for an insanely idiotic set of rules created by adults? Brandon Jennings is not a bad guy, neither are the other the other five-star recruits who may decided to follow him for a year of basketball study abroad. Rich kids do it all the time. They take a semester off, move to Europe, party, study and broaden their minds.
A 19-year-old from Europe can join the NBA without anyone having a problem. But a teenager from the US who hasn't spent a year pretending to be a college student is forbidden from joining the NBA. Why? Why? The NCAA needs to blow it's own horn. It "pimps" mostly black basketball and football players to provide welfare to sports played by mostly white athletes. In exchange, the football and basketball players get a minimal shot at an education they're not prepared for once they arrive. It's a very long shot at an audition for pro scouts in my opinion. It's a bad deal. The Yankees just gave a 16-year-old boy from Venezuela a $2 million contract. Children play professional golf and tennis. 16 year olds can go on American Idol and sing for the approval of Simon, Paula and Randy.

Suddenly football and basketball players are special. Why?

I don't want to see the NBA and NFL flooded with teenagers but I do want to see the two sports have a little more integrity when it comes to who is setting the rules. They need to acknowledge that college basketball and football players are student-athletes -entertainer-athletes-, not student-athletes. Bring them on campus, give them some type of stipend. They also need to form an alliance with the NFL and NBA and invest in education/athletic academies for talented young basketball and football players of all colors. The NCAA pays its basketball and football players with a currency (education) many of them aren't prepared to spend or value. That has to change, and it's incumbent on the NCAA to be a big part of the change. Starting these student athletes who show promise early and putting them on the path to good education works hand in hand. Maybe Brandon Jennings will go down in history as the young man who forced the NCAA to honestly deal with the hypocrisy, stupidity of its rules.

And Now the Con -

Ask yourself, why do our young athletes NOT value education and aren't prepared to spend it? If you aren't doing something to help THAT problem - you're doing more to hurt it. If we encourage kids that bounce a ball to put all their eggs in the same basket and ignore the value of education - then applaud a kid who fails to do that and attempts a band-aid fix to his problem we are doing more harm than good. If we put this kid on a pedestal how many 10U players will start going down the same path because there is an imaginary pot at the end of the rainbow. That is my concern. Why are parents spending $400 to $700 to send their son to a basketall camp and the kid has a 2.0 GPA or can not even read? I agree that the parents are also part of the problem. How about investing some of that money in tutoring or summer school.

College coaches are generally against the idea of high school players’ playing in Europe. Memphis Coach John Calipari listed a handful of reasons in a recent article. He said the language barrier, games against more physically dominant competition, and the cultural adjustment for a teenager. Calipari and other coaches used the word “exposed” when describing a potential situation in which a player like Jennings would go to Europe, struggle and hurt his draft stock.
“I don’t know if I’d want to be the first one, because your career is on the line,” Calipari said. His concerns are very valid.
We've all heard the argument "If a kid can go off to war and die for his country at 18 yrs. old, then he should have the right to go make a living playing a sport if that what he chooses and he is able to compete on that level. " I'm SO tired of that argument. You can't drink until you're 21, you can't rent a car someplaces until you're 25...the 18 going to war thing is old and tired. Here's the BOTTOM LINE. Employers have the right to set requirements for their employees. PERIOD. NFL did. Court upheld it. NBA has. Deal with....and better yet - go to class and stay ELIGIBLE!!!

too be continued..I'm tired :-)


To Love or Not to Love

I've been contemplating lately about folks in my life. I adore my friends and family but it pains me when I see that my loved ones being treated badly by others. Everyone has that friend. That friend that no matter how many girl talks you have it doesn't seem that their circumstances will ever change. In most situations its a significant other that is not treating them right. I remember having many of these including myself at one time or another in my life. As the years have gone by I'm so happy that many of my girlfriends don't have this discussion as much anymore. Granted we fuss about our men and their quirks, habits, misgivings, it's just what we do. Then their is the "friend/family" who will NEVER learn. She can talk until she's blue in the face, or rather, your blue in the face and she's just talking. She's like an old dog laying on a rusty nail. The nail just doesn't hurt bad enough yet so it's just laying their howling but not moving. I think we all have one of those friends. One of those friends who just doesn't believe that she deserves more in life. She has the man that everyone hates to see coming. It's not enough that her girlfriends and family members don't like her man and they feel she deserves more because SHE doesn't feel that she deserves more. My problem is this. It's hard for me to keep my big mouth closed and simply bite my tongue. I've always wanted to be one of those people who can give loving comforting words without judging. That's so hard for me though. We are supposed to respect our friends' relationships and their decision to stay in it even if the guy is a complete jackass. Which I'm not sure I agree with. Put I continue to pray for guidance and for God to put me in a frame of mind not to judge. As for why can she see it? Because love blind, deaf, and dumb. Who knows what it will take for the little lightbulb to go *ding* over her head. Probably an act of God. Sometimes people, even smart people, will stay with someone because at least they are with somebody. Some can't stand to be alone, and it's a damn shame because my friend's significant is a tool that makes me want to poke my eyes out with sticks. Not really. As I said before I think the problem that makes me want to question their relationship so much is that I know that she is a beautiful woman inside and out and I'd love for her to have a mate that is her equal. I know this is considered NOSEY. I KNOW IT and I can't help it. Maybe I wouldn't care if I didn't love her. I'm told if she loves him there is nothing I can do but except him. Why should she break up with him because I don't like him. Truly who am I? Because he wouldn't be good enough for me he isn't good enough for her? Who says? Me? This is the busy body game I play in my head when I've been up for too many hours.


It's just ridiculous how truly hot it is in my city right now. Temperatures for the last two days have been 110 and 108. Today is expected to be another 110 degree day. I haven't slept ALL NIGHT! When I say that I mean it literally so pardon me if my rambling becomes a bit much. I tried to sleep for sure but each time I dozed off it got HOTTER! If finally cooled down to about 90 around 3am (I looked at the weather channel on my BB), and I got up, walked the floor abit, did a load of laundry and checked on the kids and finally laid back down. I checked the weather channel again only to find that by 5am the sun was coming up and it was getting hot again. I'm on a mission not to run the a/c all day so I've closed all the blinds and windows in an attempt to keep it cool. It's not working. I'm hot, sticky and irritated as hell!!! This makes me even prouder of the boys right now we have been sweating the afternoons away at football practice. Yesterday I watched them during practice and I felt dizzy just sitting in the sun. It was so hot I felt sick just watching them go through the drills. I can't imagine having to actually work out in that mess. To be young and full off life! Something that I'm not right now. I think they are two shades darker at the end of each practice. It will be nice to get down to Southern California this week. The weather will be beautiful.



So let me tell you a story...a story about a girl from originally from Texas , who had a strict grandmother who raised her and a boy from a small town in Louisiana. At age 18 the boy was drafted into the Navy and shipped out of the South. As a baby the girl's mother died and her and her siblings soon moved to California to be raised by their grandmother. Just as adulthood was setting in, their paths crossed in the small town of Vallejo, CA. After dating for some time, (dating consisted of sitting on her grandmother's porch as Gran sat near by), they soon fell in love and decided to marry. Now we are talking a black couple so of course you know there is some story in between this beautiful story...but alas they became The Mayberrys. Their first creation...well....me of course. Followed by two more sisters. Along the way they've traveled the world, been stationed from place to place via the military and finally my daddy retired in 1992 settled back in California. After 20 years of marriage they celebrated in a huge ceremony but now today 15 years later they celebrate an even greater history with 35 years. I thank God everyday for my wonderful parents. I couldn't have looked down from heaven as an tiny angel and chosen a better set. Together they have learned and taught each other and us over the years. They continue to compliment each other in every way. My mother's fire, my daddy's calmness. My mother's zest for life, my daddy's patience. My daddy's thirst for knowledge of all new things, my mother's ability to conquer any situation. Though I'm sure they have had their good and bad days their first priority never changed as we were growing up, to raise happy healthy children to be better than them. They have taught me how to teach my own. I've learned from their successes and their failures in life and love. The thing I disliked as I child I now adore. The things I loved about them, I've now tried to immulate. On this day I wish you both all the love and happiness in the world. I will continue this post on your 50th. All my love.


The No Name Post

So one of my sons' has decided he is in love. I call it his "kindergarten crush". He calls it his girlfriend. I call it a girl that he likes he says it's his best girlfriend ever. I didn't realize this would be so hard for me as his mother. I have so many dreams hopes and aspirations for all of my children. In my opinion, girls are worse than gangs. They keep you off balance, unfocused and soft. I've watched him in the past few weeks doing all the things that I'd hoped he never would. Thank goodness for unlimited text. He has been texting non-stop...when I say non-stop, I mean NON-STOP! His myspace has been updated with her picture to match. I walked into his room only to find him laying in bed, listening to his ipod with some sappy music while staring at his text waiting for it to release the new message. The last few days of school he couldn't wait each morning to get to the yard to see her. I found out from others that he had even abandoned his group of friends to hand with her at recess. I've sat and had 50 discussions with him regarding this put alas, he is "sprung". I asked him had they kissed and his response was yes...I said "french???" and he said "NO MOM, THAT'S NASTY". I figured if this was "nasty" there was no reason to ask about anything further especially since from the time he leaves the school yard 'til he is home he is in my line of vision. The issue for me is that he used to go to the park to shoot baskets. Now he wants to go to the part to meet her. I've said yes a few times, pending you take your little brother! "Watch them closely CJ and don't let them out of your site". I watched him be heartbroken on the last day of school as he said goodbye to all of his friends and he literally came home and went straight to bed for the rest of the day. I'm sure "all" of his friends included mostly her. During 8th grade graduation he took a few family picks but quickly dragged her over to introduce her and have me take a few pictures with her. He then went to meet her parents and I could see in the distance his armed drapped around her, he hugging her around her waist. I'm thinking to myself "what father lets some little black boy take pictures all hugged up on his daughter". Not any father of a 14 year old I know. Craig has been good, I guess. He's the father that says, honey this too shall pass. Let it blow over. High school starts in a month and she'll be forgotten by the end of the summer. I'm sure they'll be a new one to replace her though. I've had at least 4 heart to hearts with him regarding this girlfriend business. I've sat down and analyzed this whole thing. It could be so much worse. He could be with some little hoochie hot mamma who's blowing up my house phone, knocking on my door or trying to teach him somethings. My I still am not ready for this whole girlfriend business. I miss the days of them only loving their momma, aunties and grandma. I pray to the Lord for guidance each day and to help me bite my tongue each time I see him texting. Distractions...sigh. I know each person needs to learn on their own but if I could just keep them from making some of the mistakes I did. Life is too short to learn all mistakes on your own. Sometimes you need to learn from others....I'm hoping that as football and high school begin he'll be entirely to distracted to think of anything but I'm sure he and the rest of them will find a way.