African Americans are infatuated with the dream of becoming professional athletes and becoming that generational talent to change their families’ fortunes. This same infatuation is what leads parents in the African American community to put pressure on their children to play sports and make that their focus and future career path. Sports is a great way to keep a child active, establish a sense of responsibility for that team, and it builds discipline to stay consistent within it but sports are not more important than academics, and that is the part where African American parents make the biggest mistake.
So much emphasis is put on sports in the African American community that it puts the importance of academics on the back burner. People like Lebron James, Lamar Jackson, etc. are anomalies. They do not pop up every day and the illusion that they do is reason why many African American kids think they can be them. Academics is the most important thing for any upcoming kid in America because one may be good during Little League or maybe even on the high school level but the percentage of kids that play for a big time college program or end up in the pros is close to slim to none considering how many kids play sports.
According to www.npr.org, “There are only a tiny percentage of high school athletes who actually go on to play professional sports. Roughly 1 in 168 high school baseball players will get drafted by a Major League Baseball team, and just 1 in 2,451 men’s high school basketball players will get drafted by a National Basketball Association team.” There is a big gap between pro players compared to the many young talented high school players that live everyday putting their focus on sports other than focusing on their academics to give them a successful life. African Americans should look at other professions that are more realistic to be successful in especially for children that do not have an undeniable athletic ability. Africans Americans without question are the only race that pushes their kids to pursue sports other than more realistic fields and this is a factor that can be tied to why they are so far behind when it comes to other races.
The argument is not that kids should not play sports at all but that should not be the main priority in their lives. There are other ways in life to be successful than being a famous basketball or football player. It may be a more attractive lifestyle, but it is just not realistic for most children to believe they can become the next famous athlete. Children do not have any idea of what their priorities should be at an early age and parents are doing them a great disservice by not pushing them towards a more realistic path. According to www.nytimes.com, “The problem with mixing sports with academics is that the message it sends is dishonest and shapes kid’s priorities in a negative way.”