Live, Pay Taxes, Sacrifice your entire life for a sport and play for free, Pay Taxes, Die. The only absolutes in this world in my eyes.
This trend developing of athletes who work their entire life to become a professional, skipping out on playing for our entertainment so they can get paid, (more specifically my personal entertainment) is saddening. What… am I going to buy a New Zealand Breakers league pass to stream the games? This is something that I hope, for the sake of my children, stops soon, as we come to our senses. Before I get into the details, I want to warn our readers, this may be NSFW to some.
It’s an all time debate. You’re a top 5 basketball recruit wanted by the top college coaches. I’m talking, Coach K promises you a new car, Cal is offering to pay for your Kentucky Mansion, Jay Wright is buying you GQ suits. The whole kit and caboodle. On the other hand you can go overseas, play in a professional setting, make money, with nearly zero fame or recognition in the states. What do you do?
I have thought about this for a while and had many drunken debates with my friends. While I obviously came out victorious of these hypotheticals, the question still remains, is there a right answer?
College brings so many things. If you’re a star, and for this scenario you are, you’re an American Icon. I mean look at Zion, this man had more influence on twitter than LeBron and KD combined. (Official Stat I made up). Not only that but the college ‘experience’ let’s call it, even though you’re a ‘one and done’ is awesome for those guys. You are going to be treated like royalty. Royalty that has to go to classes, live in a dorm all while getting paid $0 out of the millions of dollars of revenue you will be generating for your school. Of course playing without pay also brings risks. What if Zion tore his Achilles along with his PG13 shoe and never recovered?
If you play overseas, there are a lot of positives as well, including: getting paid a lot of money to play a game, becoming a professional and experiencing a professional season. Most likely better competition, and of course no school, which is something we have all been hoping for since we were 7. And the cherry on top? Adult women, not 18 year olds. And if you haven’t caught on to the debate, there are cons as well. You’re not on ESPN every night getting the attention of NBA scouts, potential advertisements, potential wifey’s. Not to mention you’re just kind of away from everything, including your friends, family, and America.
So what do you do?
I loved what RJ Hampton, the New Zealand Breakers newest signee had to say. His reasoning for signing overseas as opposed to signing with a powerhouse in the NCAA was: His goal was not to play college basketball. His goal was to play in the NBA and according to him, playing in New Zealand gives him a better chance. As a washed up 5’11” baseball player I am inclined to agree with what’s best for him and his basketball takes.
Basketball is a very interesting sport that this debate seems to run it’s course over and over. I think the NCAA has some serious competition in the future if this fares well for RJ. I could very much see more and more 5 star recruits doing the same thing unless the NCAA stops the slavery of college players and starts paying them.
There was another story recently that I thought was really interesting. An American pitcher, and former first rounder Carter Stewart (can’t be more of a Georgia name) chose to go play in Japan as opposed to signing and playing in the Minors. While I am torn on the basketball decision, I LOVE this move from Carter. Get your money kid.
While baseball has the most guaranteed money, especially with a long career, I would argue its hardest to make a long and successful financial career in baseball given that there are so many ladders you need to climb. There is a reason only ~5% of Minor Leaguers ever make it.
At the end of the day, thats why Kyler Murray decided to go to the NFL. With his guaranteed contract Kyler is sure to make more money in the NFL than the MLB. Obviously football is a very violent sport, but Kyler is out here making business decisions. So while he, much like Carter, was a high draft pick in baseball, there is no guarantee he will make it, therefore only leaving you with that measly baseball signing bonus of about $8M. You might as well go live on the streets with that chump change.
In the NFL when drafted, you’re there, you’re in the NFL making NFL money. What was Kyler’s contract for the NFL you asked? Just a cool $35.1 Million. At least he can finally eat.
Thats why I love the baseball move from Carter, go to Japan play with pro’s, live a professional lifestyle, make real money and not the part time salary of ~2k a month that EVERY player makes in the minors only when you are in season. Get that money and spend your ‘Minor League’ years oversees and then come over to the MLB and get paid.
I know its cliche at this point to advocate for athletes to get paid and make the right decisions, but it’s true. These athletes risk their lives after the sport for something that may or may not work out, so any chance you get to make more money, especially more guaranteed money, take it. I am ALL IN on the moves by RJ and Carter, get paid guys.
P.S. If any athletes getting paid (or not) read this and want to pay me for my services, please Venmo me.