Million-dollar dummies

Teddy Harris

My favorite player in the National Basketball Association is LeBron James. But as much as I love watching LeBron play, I often think of how a 20-year-old is handling all of the pressure of having stardom and money. Then I start to think of all the other young, rich superstars in this country. What type of education are these young men and women getting? Does this country produce million-dollar dummies?

How many of our young stars are actually being taught how to manage the millions of dollars they are making? The young musicians, athletes and entertainers are worth so much money, and it is important for them to realize how valuable they are. Most of the young rappers and basketball players come from communities where most people live at the poverty level. So often, these celebrities get large amounts of money, and people will try and take advantage of their inexperience with money management. What is interesting to me is that as these youngsters are getting paid, their home communities continue to suffer economically. Many people make more money off them than the stars themselves will ever see. How is it that you can sell a million records and go broke?

A lot of musical artists get money and have no idea what to do with it. When you are broke and then acquire large amounts of money, you tend to want to spend it. So, not knowing any better, “rags-to-riches” millionaires will buy things excessively, splurging their money to the fullest extent. This gives greedy rich guys the opportunity to take advantage of young millionaires.

The average career span for a rapper is about three years; although, some are fortunate enough to have longer careers. During that time, a lot of money is made, but by whom? After these young artists are no longer “hot” on the Billboards, distribution labels and others will still be making money off these young men and women.

Most owners of basketball teams are rich old folks who don’t even care about the game, let alone the players. They are interested in one thing: money. The same goes for the distribution label owners. These folks don’t care about rap music or sports! They probably hate it, but they will milk it for whatever they can. These old rich guys can afford to pay these youngsters the money they do because they are making much more off of them.

LeBron James and the other young stars need to wake up and smell the coffee. Yeah, they are rich, but they are not wealthy. They should look to self-sustain.

Why not start their own distribution labels? It would take a lot of work but it would definitely help the economy. Why play in a league when they could control one? All it takes is cooperative economics, and there could be a shift in capital control in this country. I have no doubt in my mind that if the young superstars in this country could control more of their money, they would fund more positive things for the community.

Teddy Harris is a senior communication studies major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].