NBA Should Be Hawking Education to Young Fans

Youth programs should focus on more than just basketball: LA Times essayist
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2014 1:16 PM CDT
NBA Should Be Hawking Education to Young Fans

The NBA rightfully earned praise for its swift punishment of Donald Sterling's racism, writes Ralph Richard Banks in the LA Times. But he thinks the league can do much more to tackle "a more subtle and pervasive form of racial inequality"—the dismal state of education for young black men. Consider the popular Amateur Athletic Union league, which draws young players from around the nation with long-shot aspirations of playing pro ball someday. The problem, writes Banks, is that AAU programs fixate on basketball with scant mention of academics.

"This is at a time when some 50% of black boys fail to graduate from high school, and black men without high school degrees have a nearly 70% chance of being imprisoned by the time they reach their mid-30s," writes Banks. The NBA and its players clearly have sway over their young black fans, and it's a shame they're not taking better advantage to push things beyond basketball. After all, only a tiny fraction of today's young players will end up in the NBA. "Is it too much to ask from the league that it do more to benefit those who are actually harmed by the dream it peddles?" Click for his full column. (More basketball stories.)

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