Sunday, January 20, 2019

Zion Wiliamson and What Matters

Last week NBA great Scottie Pippin suggested that Zion Williamson drop everything and prepare for the NBA draft. As in, quit his team mid-season. Zion is one of Duke University's one-and-done basketball players. The freshman has already had an electrifying season.

The "wisdom" of some sports reporters urges Williamson not to jeopardize his NBA career. He has already solidified his status as the number one draft pick. Why risk injury? He stands to gain nothing by staying at Duke. Think of all the money he can make in pro basketball. What could possibly be more important than ensuring his success in the big leagues? And the earlier the better.

This line of thinking highlights what is so obvious to our culture: it's all about personal gain. No one will fault you for looking out for your own interests. In fact, we applaud the shrewd player. Maximize your personal gain. That's what it's all about. Everybody knows that. That's the American way.

Zion, however, does not see it that way. "I can't just stop playing," he is quoted telling Yahoo Sports. "I'd be letting my teammates down. I'd be letting Coach K down. I'd be letting a lot of people down."

Could honor be more important than money? Could keeping commitments trump a lucrative shoe endorsement? Could a year of college have any value compared with fame and fortune?

Let's start noticing our assumptions about what really matters. Too often we just follow the money. Too often I just follow the money. How about you?

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