The usual M.O. for NBA players during the lockout has been toying with the idea of playing overseas, actually getting signed to a foreign club, and/or hitting the summer leagues hard. However an smaller, interesting trend has sprung among out of work pro ballers: returning to school. Marc J. Sparcs’ recent article for Yahoo Sports namely follows former Bruins Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Baron Davis and Trevor Ariza currently enrolled in a summer class at UCLA. Luc Mbah a Boute, another ex Bruin, is also taking two classes. They’re taking “American Popular Culture” which, by the sound of it, shouldn’t be too demanding. Plus, truth be told, I wouldn’t be surprised if they put school off cold turkey if the season gets saved. Nevertheless, it’s refreshing to hear a few players venture back to school as an option since they currently can’t work for the league. Moreover, Trevor Ariza’s words on the matter exhibit a mature perspective on the situation.
“Ariza said he is learning more now than as a freshman because he has a “different appreciation” for college. While he is also considering playing in Spain, China or Serbia if the lockout drags into the fall, he is currently focused on his coursework at UCLA.
“I’m really going back for my two sons,” Ariza said. “Eventually they’re going to realize that their dad fulfilled his dreams doing what he wanted to do and still got his degree. For them to see that will be a great example for them to follow.”
“…We have a whole lot of our lives to live after basketball,” Ariza said. “We have to understand what we want to do when [retirement] comes. A lot of us came out [of college] really young, and we have no idea what we want to do with our lives if basketball doesn’t work out.”
It’s no secret many NBA players get haunted by bad financial decisions among other problems once their careers end. Therefore, a degree in another field. including employment, can help them adjust to the general working population. More players like LSU’s Anthony Randolph and retired NBA player/ex-Bruin Ed O’Bannon are taking summer classes as well at their respective schools as well. O’Bannon’s reportedly almost done with his degree. Let’s see if more athletes follow in the footsteps of the aforementioned names as the lockout persists.