Reader: to aspire to LeBron’s fast-track to sports riches misses "the whole point of life"


In this week’s cover story, “Endangered Species," Scene checks out the growing lack of black faces in baseball. Via voicemail, a friendly reader ruminates on the problem:
I just wanted to thank you so much for an excellent article in this current issue of Scene magazine. I’m a retired professor, and I would say (chuckles) that this could be a good doctoral dissertation. You know, what happens all of a sudden? And we can put the blame on a lot of people. Personally, I don’t like basketball; I don’t like hockey; and I don’t like soccer, because there’s no, uh, logic to it. But football is like chess. You line up. You observe your opponents’ moves, you see. And baseball is the same way. To know anything about baseball, you have to read George Will. ...
And this is the problem today; everybody wants to be LeBron James. And as I say, as a retired professor, and also secondary school teacher, they did the worst damn thing in the world, taking him out of high school and putting him in the majors. Wrong move, for everybody. So young kids today say, ‘Look, I can make 20-some million in salary, and another who knows, 30, 40 million in endorsements. What the hell do I need to sit in the classroom for?’ And that’s the problem, see. So there’s no road up. But the people in the islands see it: hey, there’s this road you gotta take. And methodically, one step at a time. This is sad when you think of all the people, and not only Jackie Robinson; my God, going back to Satchel Paige, when he pitched for the Indians. But anyway, great article. That’s the reason I’m calling, and you did a good job on it. And it’s a social issue now. And the interesting thing was, when you mentioned—and I can’t quite find the paragraph, but something to the effect—like in the ’70s, when the fathers left families, who’s to play catch with the kids? Who’s to show them how to field a ground ball? That’s the problem. So the disintegration of the black family is as important as this need to become multi-millionaires through sports. You don’t need to know anything. You don’t even have to be able to sign your name. And you can become a multi-millionaire. And it misses the whole point of life.


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