Tonight was a big night and many of you have already reached your dreams. You have heard your name called in the NBA draft and have the opportunity to be paid serious sums of money to play a game. For 30 of you, that money is guaranteed for the next few years, and its the kind of money that is generational if you are careful.
Even with all the fame and money that is in front of you, If you want to be the best, your journey is just beginning. The draft was just the door into the intense world of professional basketball. For some, the money and the fame are enough and mediocre, short-lived careers will follow. The parties, the girls and the lime light will take up more time than the gym and you will be washed up before you know it. For most of you in that category, the money will be gone as fast as your career. If you don’t believe me, just look at the long list of players before you in every pro sport who are penny less soon after their respective careers are over.
That is a path that is so easy to take, but it’s not the reason why you have worked on your game since you were a kid. You didn’t take the time away from your friends just to be famous. You probably didn’t do it for the money either. It was about the love of the game.
You have to remember that as you move forward because it’s the love of the game and the will to be the best that will push you forward to true greatness. I would encourage you to focus on that, so that when you look back on your career (both in and out of the game), that you have no regrets.
You are young and invincible now, but time moves fast and you could be done in the blink of an eye. Avoid the pitfalls that added money and notoriety give you. Spend more time trying to get better on the floor than in the club. Don’t take this chance for granted because it will be gone sooner than you think. After all, there is no worse question to ask yourself than “what might have been?”