23 October 2013

Time for PBA to Adopt a "Rookie Transition Program"

Rookie Transition Program
On 3 November, the latest batch of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) rookies will be tasked to provide added fireworks to Asia’s oldest basketball league. And just like their predecessors, this group of hopefuls will be tasked with adjusting not only to the speed and physicality of the professional game but also to life off the court.

All PBA newcomers always face challenges in their personal lives that range from managing those millions from multi-year contracts, show business and media communication and personal conduct in the public eye. With some rookies entering the league at a very young age, handling the spotlight and newfound fortune can be a lot to tackle.

Unfortunately, there are currently no programs in place to put everything in proper perspective and prepare the rookies on what lies ahead.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), on the other hand, has recognized the critical situation of new players entering the professional sports industry and opted to require all to attend the Rookie Transition Program steps in.

The program is a league-wide mandatory initiative for rookies entering the NBA that helps provide young players with information and resources that enable them to proactively make quality decisions and successfully adapt to the lifestyle and challenges of the NBA.

The program, created in 1986 by the NBA and NBPA, calls itself the most comprehensive of its kind in professional sports. It’s a curriculum that Wolves rookies like Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng will need to complete this offseason.

The three-day event, the last one happened last 6-8 August 2013, featured interactive workshops, skits, counsel sessions on issues they will face in the NBA, and guest appearances from current and former NBA players. There is a special emphasis on Character, Ethics and Leadership, the Importance of Positive Images as well as Personal and Social Responsibility.

The setting includes classroom sessions in which players are broken down into groups of 10-15. There is also a web-based application that will ensure players have access to the content throughout the year, and a phone-based application will give players access at their fingertips 24/7.

It's a program the NBA is proud to impart on its new players, according to Senior Vice President of Player Development Greg Taylor.

"The impetus of the Office of Player Development really was the league’s recognition of ensuring we are doing the best we could to meet the players and resolve the issues they face off the court," Taylor said. "There has always been the whole fundamental commitment to the player on the court and off the court. It’s really the driver for what we do. The program services have been in place for years."

Hopefully, for the sake of our local young blood, all teams in the PBA will recognize the impact of such a program brings in molding a positive character in their players and will take steps to adopt it soon.

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