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Multi-millionaires aren't always the most sympathetic characters, but when a student who loves playing basketball is suddenly thrust into super-stardom they face a unique set of challenges beyond the sport itself. Dressing and acting like an adult, spending wisely, providing a good example for your community all prove daunting for any person in their young 20s, let alone someone in front of the media and millions of sports fans.
There is help though. The Rookie Transition Program, created in 1986, is a seminar that every new draftee is contractually required to take. New York Times Magazine was there for the 2014 session and reported about Rachel Johnson, a celebrity stylist, known for working with the likes of Lebron James. When it comes to being a gentleman, the league doesn't mess around: the NBA has a “business-casual” dress code, difficult for many rookies, whose closets are full of loose sportswear. Every gentleman should have a peacoat, a raincoat, a varsity jacket and an overcoat, according to Johnson, also a blue suit, a gray suit and a black suit.
The difficulties go beyond dressing and acting sharp—some of the biggest challenges faced by new players are drug addiction, alcohol abuse and women of ill repute who hang around hotels and bars in unfamiliar cities. Rookies need to learn to manage their new fortunes, how to deal with friends and family trying to take a piece of the new fortune and how to avoid being burned in interviews.
The Rookie Transition Program includes driving tips for new cars, mock interviews, personal branding and professional conduct as well as practical financial planning. Even though your first big paycheck may be coming from a software development firm and have a few less zeros than an NBA all-star, this seems like a great program for anyone in their young twenties.
[via New York Times Magazine]