A story in the sports section of the city’s daily newspaper Wednesday caught our eye.
It was about Tobias Harris, a rookie Milwaukee Bucks player who is getting ready to start his first NBA season now that the league’s players and owners have reached a tentative agreement on a contract, thus ending the 149-day lockout that threatened the entire 2011-2012 professional basketball season.
What piqued our interest in the story is what Harris did during the lockout that the sports article described as “novel.”
Harris went back to the University of Tennessee, where he played one year of college ball, and took four classes totaling 13 credits.
Between classes and studying, he put himself through a grueling twice daily conditioning regimen so he’d be ready to play when the lockout ended.
You’re probably asking yourself (and probably know what’s coming answer-wise): “Why is this story worthy of a commentary, let alone an editorial?”
Though the article dealt mostly with Tobias as a college player, as well as his many siblings who play basketball from college to middle school, we found the story refreshing from the standpoint he went BACK to school to further his education.
We wonder how many other rookie NBA players—many of whom skipped their junior and senior years (some even sophomore year) playing college basketball for pro stardom–that was abruptly put on hold—did what Tobias did?
For that matter, how many established pro players who left school before they graduated, took advantage of the lockout and pursued college courses towards a degree or to get the necessary credits to receive their diploma?
We’re willing to bet not many (if any) did. Tobias’ story should remind all of us that “student” always comes before “athlete” when referring to “student/athletes.”
Tobias truly represents the student athlete whose main objective is, and always should be, a college degree, not a one-in-thousand “hoop-dream” of fame and fortune that is usually fleeting.
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