Passion over price


Alyssa Alvarez, Sports Editor

$495. That’s how much UCLA basketball player and NBA hopeful Lonzo Ball’s new signature shoe sells for. In order to keep the money in the family, Ball declined contracts with Nike and Under Armour to sign with Big Ball Brand, a company founded by his father.

The price tag is astronomical compared to the likes of LeBron James and Stephen Curry’s latest shoes that do not even reach the $200 mark.

There comes a time in some athletes’ lives when they can start making a profit off of their passion. Nineteen-year-olds can become millionaires overnight after signing a contract with a professional team.

Being a teenage athlete, the sheer idea of making a living off of what I love to do would be a dream come true. If we love our jobs, it can feel as if we aren’t working at all.

But athletes should never lose the passion that drew them to the sport. They should never be playing or practicing just for the money.

Placing such a high price on a shoe because of one’s fame may be a smart business move, but in turn, athletes lose sight of what got them to that point. Receiving wealth and fame so quickly can get to an athlete’s head — distracting them from working to become better players, as their focus shifts from a court to business mindset.

Ball should want his name in headlines about a career debut in the NBA, not an overpriced shoe. A passion is something that drives you to work harder and be better, not make millions and sign contracts.

Being in the public eye, star athletes have the opportunity to donate money and get involved in philanthropic works. They are role models and should teach youth that there is much more to life and playing than stardom.

Through his foundation, San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey provides grants to research hospitals and charitable organizations that support children diagnosed with pediatric cancer.

When given the opportunity, stars should do right by their community and give back, rather than use their name to add to their opulence.

When my dad put a basketball in my hands at the age of four, I don’t think he ever hoped I would become rich one day. He hoped I would enjoy the sport and find a love for it.

Athletes should never live paycheck-to-paycheck, but rather find something they wake up everyday wanting to do. A $495 shoe should only be a bonus.