With all due respect to Dan Bernstein (and, frankly, I have no idea how much respect that should be, as I have only read this one piece) this article is exactly what is wrong with our society today.
I’ll start by disclaiming that I am a Duke fan… so all of the haters can dial out now, assuming I’m a homer with no other vested interest in this issue. For those that know me better, please stay and play along.
In short, the article essentially says Parker is an idiot (the headline uses the word “crazy’ the article itself uses “consciously irrational,” among other deprecating turns of phrase) if he chooses to stay at Duke another year instead of heading off to untold millions in the NBA. The argument is based on the tried and true(ish) refrain of “he can make millions and might get hurt and lose it all.”
A few points of clarification before we go on. First, he cannot lose it all, even Bernstein admits that he will be insured and the fact of the matter is if he lost both legs in a freak yogurt scooping accident, he would still cash a check for millions of dollars and be set for life (provided he isn’t really an idiot, cause, life isn’t idiot proof and neither is a stack of money). A torn ACL/MCL/whatever is not going to put Jabari on skid row… unless he is very determined to get there on his own.
Secondly, and more importantly to my point, this argument – when coupled with statements like “crazy” – has to have an antagonist, someone pushing Parker away from his desired path to being an NBA player right now. I have seen no indication of this whatsoever. His coach isn’t trying to get him to come back, the NBA isn’t saying he isn’t ready, media types (like Mr. Bernstein) are certainly saying he should stay… the fact is no one has suggested he pass up millions in NBA money to stay and toil away in college.
Who, exactly, is left pondering the decision? Jabari Parker (as it should be).
I haven’t talked to Parker. I have no idea why he hasn’t announced his intentions, other than my (rather obvious) suspicion that he is still trying to figure out what he wants to do. And therein lies the rub. Because, not everything is about making the most money you can as fast as you can. There is something to be said for, say, winning a college national championship and having that be part of your legacy when it is all said and done. Given Dukes recruiting class, if Parker came back you’d have to assume that Duke would be the pre-season #1 and runaway favorite to win the national title. Some people do take legacy over currency… the ’07 Florida Gators come to mind. Several of their players could have gone pro after winning the ’06 national title, but they didn’t. They came back, repeated as champions, and significantly enhanced their place in history.
I don’t know how many total players have won college national championships, but, after tonight 75 teams have “cut down the nets” (if they average 15 guys on a roster… that makes around 1100… give or take a few for repeat champions (UCLA really messed up my estimate, I guess). There is a similar number of players who have won NBA championships (based on my fuzzy math and the total of 66 professional championships prior to this year). Now, being one in roughly 1000 *in history* is pretty cool, but, what if you could join a club that makes you 1 of 40… in history. That’s how many players have won both a college and pro title… forty. To me, that’s a bit more historic, and, if the difference in wealth is that I’m going to be part of the 1% instead of the .1% I can see a valid argument toward going for it.
What I’m not saying, is that Parker needs to go back. I get that he might want to start the monetary waterfall flowing as soon as possible. And if he does, good for him. But, to say there is no logical or reasonable argument for him to stay, is – to me – beyond ridiculous. Moreover, as I mentioned above, it speaks to me of one of the biggest problems we have in our society. We no longer seem to be able to prioritize anything other than money. I solute Parker, regardless of what he decides. Because the only thing I really know about his decision is that he hasn’t rushed to it. I don’t know what he is thinking, but all signs point to the fact that he is thinking… and for that he should be given praise… not ridicule.