Rookies Rumors

Panelists included current and former players such as Bill Russell, Earl Monroe, Alonzo Mourning, Amare Stoudemire, Spencer Haywood and Jarrett Jack, and various experts in their respective fields. The knowledge passed along doesn’t come across like a TV after-school special, as presenters often use frank and direct language. The curriculum is the result of input from players, and it is reinforced throughout the regular season as the NBA meets with teams twice a year for player development programs. “Now, we don’t expect them to retain all the information, but I think it helps for them to see that there are so many layers to this, so many different things that you can get hung up on and that you have to be aware of, the financial aspect, the social aspect, image,” said Michael Bantom, NBA senior vice president of player development. “A lot of people see this as a one shot deal, but we use this as an introduction to the relationship-building process to show them what we do and that you don’t have to figure it out on your own.”
Mourning, the ex-Georgetown star and NBA champion with the Miami Heat, congratulated the rookies on making it to the league but wanted them to understand that being a basketball player is “temporary” and told them that success wasn’t guaranteed, using the example of former No. 2 overall pick Jay Williams, whose career was derailed when he was injured in a motorcycle accident after his rookie season with Chicago. “As fast as you come in this league, this league will spit you out of here,” Mourning said. “I knew there was a clock that started as soon as I came into the league.” The clock has started for Wall, who is taking it all in. “You can learn so much from them, from guys that was in this way before we probably was even born,” Wall said. “Then, you have people that’s going through it right now that can really help you. It means a lot.”