Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Opinion/Editorial

NBA Basketball: The Impoverished American Ponzi Scheme


By Myron Jenkins

Listen, I’m not the dude that is going to tell a parent or a kid that they need to give up on their hoop dreams and focus on school.  However, I would not be doing anyone any justice if I didn’t at least state the facts.


I actually got some help from Big Shot, who provided this interesting stat…

Between the years of 2007-2012…

Only 14 players out of ESPN’s Top 100 High School Players went on to play in at least one NBA All Star Game.

Five of those players came from the class of 2007 alone.

14 players out of 600

That equates to 2.33%

Counter stat for those who just want to make it to the league…

Between the years of 2007-2012…

Only 119 players got drafted from that same ESPN Top 100 list…including second round, which is not even guaranteed.

119 players out of 600 got their name called by David Stern…

That equates to 19.83%

Notice I just took the ESPN Top 100.  Let’s include the other High School players that ESPN don’t even know exist or know about but think they aren’t good enough.

High school senior players eventually drafted by an NBA team:

About 3 out of every 10,000 High School players get a chance to play in the NBA

That equates to about 0.03%

So, why are we so hell bent on pursuing this dream?  Maybe it’s because it’s the only option that impoverished households “think” they have.  Meanwhile, Math and Biology careers are practically throwing themselves at graduates.  Jobs up to six figures.  Investment opportunities are available that can allow us to be financially free without the constraints of a 40 hour time gap we have to balance between our spouse and kids.

But, we put all of our eggs into this basketball lotto ticket that requires time, work, money, genetic favor, and fortune.  And you want to know one of the main reasons why we choose to pursue hoop dreams as opposed to those other opportunities mentioned?

Because it’s not cool to be a good student/citizen that stays out of trouble!

The person that is writing this blog has always been a sucker for number games and math problems.  Breezed through Advanced Math and English courses all through high school.  That didn’t appease the wavy light skinned women or keep the thugs from trying to have roast sessions or pick at me.  NOPE!  The fact that I had the unassuming gift to throw a basketball into the net from distances up to 30-35 feet is what got me my hood pass.

People saw that, now it’s cool for me to walk down the halls.  Now, they say things like, “MJ, when you get to the league, Ima need them tickets.”  Now, the women went from calling me lame to calling me conceited when I was the same dude through and through.  Only for those same women to still deal with my “conceit” because of the glamour of the game.

One thing that people don’t discuss too often is the fact that the game of basketball is an aphrodisiac. It’s something personable about this game that brings forth the type of attention that can be likened to a movie star.  Why is that the case?  I have no clue.

After all of these years, long behold, I teach kids how to play basketball.  I teach them so that they can stay out of trouble and of course I use it as a metaphor to teach them about life.  But if I am going to keep it a buck, in the back of my mind I know that the better they get at this game, the easier it will be for them to be accepted by the in crowd without having to fight, be gangster or be easy to have sex with.  I would love to change how people think.

But then I ask myself, would it be more realistic to change someone’s mind or change their shooting form?

“…Either you slang crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot”

This article also appears on the website 94 Feet Of Life here.

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