While powerful NBA agents are lobbying National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Executive Director Billy Hunter to decertify the union, team owners are busy plotting their next moves (or lack thereof). Negotiations between players and owners have been, and will continue to be, very slow moving. In the meantime, NBA-related events and opportunities will be cancelled. Eventually it could mean the cancellation of many regular season games.
A few days ago, Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports Tweeted that the NBA Rookie Transition Program, which had been scheduled to take place between August 9-11, 2011, is postponed due to the NBA lockout. This was not surprising, much like it was not surprising when the NFL cancelled its annual Rookie Symposium.
The NFL Players Association eventually decided to step in and create its own version of the Rookie Symposium, and called it “The Business of Football: Rookie Edition.” While the NBA has stated that its Rookie Transition Program will be rescheduled once a new collective bargaining agreement is signed, perhaps the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) will take a page out of the NFLPA’s playboy and create its own version of the Rookie Transition Program. In the past, the Rookie Transition Program was a joint venture run by the NBPA and the Players Association.
The Rookie Transition Program was developed in 1986 as a mandatory program, which aims to do exactly what is stated in its title – help rookies transition to the NBA. Included in the program are lessons regarding professional and life skills, media and community relations, player development, legal education, personal development and education, and some other special sessions. This program obviously does not benefit everybody, but for the players who listen and practice what is taught in those sessions, the Rookie Transition Program can be very valuable to help them make better decisions on and off the court. It is unfortunate that these “small things” are postponed or forgotten about. Hopefully the gentlemen who were most recently drafted into the NBA will be able to get the continuing education they deserve.