A Question That Begs To Be Asked

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: November 11, 2008

HOUSTON — Former USC Trojans guard O.J. Mayo has never had it easy.

He’s never been able to just play basketball without some controversy, some drama, some parade of people trying to get a piece of the kids who’s been marked for basketball stardom since elementary school.

After making it through high school, Mayo averaged 20.7 points in his freshman year at USC. That was considered by some to be a dissapointment because many expected him to step right in and deliver a national championship to the Trojans.

To no one’s surprise, Mayo declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft after the Trojans first round NCAA Tournament exit. He went on to become a top 3 pick selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2008 NBA Draft.

You would have thought that the hard part was over, but an ESPN investigative reporter exposed Mayo’s potential dealings with street agents and runners for sports agencies, who had supposedly given him gifts and cash while at USC.

It cast yet another negative light on a player who’s name has been continually associated with more negative than positive in his career. Hopefully the Grizzlies will have a different toll on him.

Street agents and runners are very much a part of the scene today. Some of them coach AAU teams and most high school coaches have lost control of their teams because their star players are looking out only for themselves.

It’s sad that no one takes time out anymore to tell kids the truth. That is to use your God given athletic ability to get a college scholarship and earn a degree that will help you later on in life. Kids are looked upon as a piece of meat.

Meat as in money to be made off of the kid.

Recently, one local high school player was asked to do an interview with a local media outlet. The reporter set up the first interview with the high school coach who never confirmed the date.

The reporter then chose to call the kid himself via cell phone to try to do the interview. The kid told a member of his entourage that he got the message but he was too busy doing other things to do the interview.

No high school player is that big so that someone is going to beg to do an interview. No athlete period is that big! The reporter initially ran into the father of the high school coach and told him what had transpired.

The high school coach finally called the reporter back after three weeks to try to reschedule the interview. The reporter told the coach that he had made three attempts and that he wasn’t going to beg the kid to do the interview.

Maybe the kid didn’t want to talk with a black weekly newspaper or something. I wonder if the Houston Chronicle, ESPN, Slam or any other magazine would have had the same problem.

The street agent had quicker access to the kid than the coach did. They prey on kids who they feel have unstable home situations and stuff, offering money or whatever the kid or his family needs at the time.

I couldn’t blame the reporter because I can get in contact with LeBron James or Chris Paul quicker than that!

I remember last season after a Houston Rockets basketball game where both Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, and even Chris Paul thanked me personally for even wanting to interview them.

So why should a high school kid feel that he’s bigger than that?

It makes no sense!

Every high school athlete that is the star player on their team better watch out! It’s not worth losing your soul, just to pick up a few gifts and cash due to lack of need.

But most importantly you need to remember that God has the final say in every aspect of your life. It doesn’t matter what man offers, you have to ask yourself what is God offering!

And during the process you must remain humble. Because if you don’t God has a way of getting your attention. If you don’t think so just ask VY about what happens when you don’t remain humble.

No one is larger than life! And you must remember that others are watching.

They are watching to see if you succeed or if you fail. As long as you have success you will have many fans who want to be around you. But once you fall, watch how fast your fans drop off.