As NIL money for college athletes continues to rise and the NCAA looks to make changes to the system it didn’t anticipate, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young has tweeted advice for players to high school basketball envisioning their future in the sport.
For athletes who are offered sums of money in the six figures or more, accepting the life-changing payment is easy and understandable, although it may come at the cost of choosing a school that would have a better fit on the pitch or better chemistry with coaches.
Young advised athletes who think they have a real shot at qualifying for the pros not to focus on the short-term benefits of the money, but rather the long-term goal.
Top athletes, especially in men’s basketball and soccer, are headed to schools for massive monetary numbers. From Young’s perspective, athletes who have a good chance of earning this kind of money in the future should focus on finding the right school to develop their craft. The money can come later.
Even with that message, it doesn’t sound like Young thinks it’s wrong that college athletes can cash in on their name, likeness and image. He pointed out in his tweet that his message applies to players who really think they have a chance to go to the pros.
This is an important distinction, because even though these players were already among the highest percentage of high school athletes, the vast majority will not turn pro. This includes thousands of people who play sports with fewer professional and economic opportunities than sports like football, basketball and baseball.
Young’s message, however, remains relevant for everyone – stay focused, perfect your craft, and don’t let distractions get in the way of your success.