In the recent week since the downfall of the Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA Tourney, speculation has arisen about the status of John Wall, the Kentucky point guard, who by most analysts is expected to be the number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
There are reports that Wall is having second thoughts about an early entry into the NBA, which is understandable – he is nineteen years old, where most like he, are enjoying some of the greatest years of their lives, in college.
So, what is more important — another year in college or a fast break into one of the most unforgiving leagues in professional sports? One route almost guarantees lifelong success, while the other only dazzles dollars in exchange for a shortcut, which could inevitably be fateful in the worst possible way.
I could cite ridiculous examples of failures and successes until I’m blue in the face, but the fact is – getting to the league early only guarantees one thing – money.
David Stern had a plan when he conceived the ‘one-in-done’ rule. After all, John Wall is quoted saying that college has been more fun than he could have ever imagined.
So if you’re that agent looking at him as merely a business proposition, I challenge you to forget about your cut of the monetary gain and think about the person before the player. I challenge you to become an advisor before a business partner (for lack of a better word, an agent).
I expect Mr. Wall will have heard and will see nearly every voice and face in the sports industry. For him I would advise three things:
- Ask yourself; what do you want your legacy to be in the next 10, 15, or 20 years?
- How important is money to your short-term and long-term happiness?
- What would it mean to win an NCAA National Title and share this with your friends, family, and peers?
The glitz and excitement of what lies ahead will always be there – cheap and opportunitistic people will come and go, the draft will be there next year (if not, then in 2012), but your image and more importantly your legacy will live forever.
John Wall – I challenge you to define yourself before others define you.