Thursday, April 7, 2011

Letter In Duke Chronicle Torches Kyrie Irving

(Addison Corriher/The Duke Chronicle)
Let’s be clear, everybody at T.A.H. Worldwide Media believes in the value of a college education.

We also believe that college basketball and pro basketball could benefit from a rule similar to that of the NFL where a player isn’t eligible into his theoretical or actual junior year.  The one and done rule hasn’t helped anybody.

That said all of the jolly folks at T.A.H. are also capitalist and if you are going to offer a young man – no matter if he’s economically disadvantaged or from a family with solid economic under pinnings – millions of dollars to go to “work” playing the game he loves, then we would advocate that he “take the money.”

Of course, there are those people out there that think their chosen university and its players are community property and that they are somehow entitled to four years of service for the benefit of their entertainment.  After all, that’s what sports are – entertainment.

Enter one Chris Cusack author of “An Open Letter To Kyrie Irving” published in the Duke Chronicle two days ago.  Evidently, Mr. Cusack thinks Mr. Irving owes him extended service at his private university of choice in exchange for the platform Irving was given to display his talents while said private university of his choice continued to mint money as a result of Irving and his teammates’ efforts.

A brief excerpt goes like this:  “Rest assured, you’ll never regret leaving Duke after just one year, never wonder what might have been if you stuck around to play with the nation’s No. 2-ranked recruiting class, which by the way includes your longtime friend and teammate Austin Rivers.”

(Let see….make $4.4 million for doing almost nothing if there is a lock out or playing a limited amount of basketball if there is a season (limited as in only two 2010 NBA draft picks are averaging in double figures) or play with the #2 ranked recruiting class and risk further injury (to a toe that already put you out 26 games) that will jeopardize any future NBA career…Hmmm…$4.4 million or #2 recruiting class…We don’t know, that’s a tough call...*)

*Item in italics may be sarcasm.

We won’t drone about this, but we will ask Mr. Cusack a couple questions:  Should you marry and procreate, and should the result of the mating be extraordinarily talented in some way or another (say Mark Zuckerberg talented or LeBron James talented) are you going to deny him the chance to make MILLIONS when those big bucks are offered to him prior to his chronological graduation date from college? 

Will you insist that he not utilize his (James like) talent to secure his (and your) financial future so he can finish college and earn another “banner” and bragging rights for his/your university of choice when the career path he is on features big upfront money on one hand but a high failure rate, career-ending injuries and short careers on the other?

Will you?  Will you be so self-righteous about a game – a form of entertainment – when it’s your child?

No, you won’t. Because now you are a kid -- a college kid who thinks he knows how the world works.  In all probability, you don't.  You'll learn though, and someday when you become a parent you may well view all of this differently.

Chances are your parents are letting you follow your dreams where they lead you.  They led you to Duke.  When you graduate or decide to leave early, they will lead you somewhere else of your choosing.  You won’t ask your fellow students or alums or Crazies where you should live and what you should do for a living.  At some point, you will have earned the right to make those decisions.

Would Irving be a better basketball player if he stayed at Duke another year or two? In all likelihood, yes he would. As would say, Harrison Barnes if he stays at UNC.  But, Irving suffered a major injury and if he is seemingly unwilling to risk his three year guaranteed money as the #1 pick of $14 million on a bad toe, we don't blame him.

Mr. Cusack, you are following your dream.  Let Kyrie Irving enjoy that same freedom.

What's that?  Cusack followed it up with an "explanation" noting he was being sarcastic, not hateful.  Ok, sorry, we blew up.

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