|"It's normal to see one of these parked in the hood!"|
So many times athletes grow up in environments where their family and friends aren't the most honest of people primarily because they‘re in survival mode. Hey, it is what it is. You've heard the old adage "You can't pick your parents, family and where you grew up bruh. However, those same people have protected the athlete from the streets their entire lives because they were anointed "The Chosen One" in the hood. Nearly every ghetto has that one kid that everybody thinks will make it out. So all of the gangsta's and thugs make sure that he has money in his pockets and doesn't want for anything. He'll get a ghetto pass in every section of the hood as long as he's still ballin'.
Even when he goes off to college those same guys will make sure that he's got the new sneakers and clothes. When you're from the hood your parents don't have money to send you a care package once a month bruh. That's why you're from the hood. Big Momma is barely holding it down at home and in her mind with one kid in college that's one less person she has to take care of. However, what most people don't understand is that a scholarship only covers room, board, tuition and books! It doesn't buy toiletries, clothes, or care packages bruh! So guess who supplements all of that for two or three years? The same guys that kept the hood off of his back growing up. Hey, this is real talk right here.
Now when the kid gets drafted to the pros regardless of the sport. The rest of the world expects him to immediately cut off the arms and legs that helped him get to the league. The same arm that gave him a pass to walk to practice as a kid. The same legs that kept the rival gangs from jumping on him when he was walking home from practice every night. The same folks that fed him when his family couldn't. The same guys that paid for him to go to All-Star camp four states over when he was 15! Yes, the same guys that sponsored his AAU team to travel all over the country! Those arms and legs bruh?
See a kid from the suburbs doesn't face the same challenges because everybody that he grew up with went off to college at the same time. They didn't have to worry about money because they had parents that would send them cash while they were on campus. The people that have been loyal to them are family and friends too. Whereas, we're asking the kid from the ghetto to completely cut ties with the same group of people (family and friends) that made sure they ate and had what they needed to get to this point. The only difference between the two supports groups (suburbs vs. ghetto) is that one is legal and the other may not be so legal. It‘s extremely hard to make the separation when they’ve both made the same sacrifices for the kid.
The challenge for the guy that grows up in the ghetto is trying to find a way to still be loyal from a distance. It's impossible to completely cut ties because family doesn’t just include blood. However, they've got to be conscious of the fact that they've got millions of dollars and camera's on them at all times. They don’t have a choice but to frequent the hood during the off-season because grandma refused to move even after they offered to buy her a new house in the suburbs. You know how old folks are? "I've been living here all my life and I ain't going nowhere!"
So when you show up on the block you've got to show love or you'll be labeled as thinking you're better than everybody else. Hey, I didn't right the rules; I'm just laying them out for you bruh! So because grandma is still in the war zone, if you will, you've got to make sure those same gangsta's or the new breed of thugs coming up take care of her while she's still there.
Being a professional athlete from the hood is a very tricky position to be in at a young age. One hiccup can cost you millions. Take a look a Michael Vick. Not saying no to childhood friends cost him his freedom for nearly two years and more than $100 million dollars. Coming out of the hood and making it big isn't as easy as folks think it is because you just can't cut off people that have taken care of you your whole life. It's easy to say he shouldn't have been with those guys in the first place but being with those guys got him to the league in the first place. He just needed to distance himself from them and the foolishness they all were involved in.
So before you judge these guys for having friends and family that aren't the most productive and honest people in the world. Remember, you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family. Hopefully as guys mature and become more aware of the world they'll be able to make better decisions. It normally takes guys to turn darn near 30 before they can completely cut the knuckle heads off because cats will start to fall off by attrition anyway. Some will die in the streets, others will go to jail and the rest will just figure it all out and get out of the game completely. However, the athlete will always have to dwell in the hood as long as grandma is still alive and most importantly the hood will always be family!
Holla At Ya Boy!
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