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An Honest
Day’s Word

By Joe Edwards

Wednesday, June 30, 1999


Feeling a draft is one of
the joys of summer

THIS and that to chew on over lunch:

Today is one of the best days of summer.

Every year around this time, the NBA stages a television program where we get to watch young men turn from ordinary college or high school students into multimillionaires.

All based on the prospect that they might be able to put points on the scoreboard.

I love it.

Only in America.

About the same time every year, much is made about some of these young men leaving school early to join this potentially lucrative traveling circus.

These young men should stay in school and become more mature or finish school so they'll have something to fall back on if it doesn't work out, the lament goes.

And every year I think to myself, if Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Dell and some of the country's other computer makers got together with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler and decided to offer young men a chance to make skads of money if they produced in the workplace would anyone holler?

I think not.

There is no difference.

The do-gooders scream that the NBA takes advantage of these young men and when they are no longer useful, the teams kick them out like so many downsized employees.

Baloney.

These guys know the risk they take. College can wait.

Besides, the reason you go to college is so you can become a working, productive member of society and get a good job.

For the young men who make it in the NBA, I say they've found a pretty darn good job.

For those who don't, what are they out? The chance to play college basketball, where they can be given an opportunity for an education and, if they aren't productive in their studies or their games, are then forgotten like so many downsized employees.

For no money at all.

Or at least very little money.

Given that choice, is it any wonder they chose to go pro?

Not at all.

Tapa

Given all that, what would I do if I was Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause?

Take Steve Francis and never look back.

Lamar Odom probably has the most talent, but he has screwed up so much lately by blowing off interviews and workouts with various teams. Bulls fans are spoiled after six titles in the last nine years.

Odom can flat play. But Francis is a quality point guard, and if the league starts to clean up play inside, that position might actually become important again.

Unless the deal is ridiculous -- and the usual clowns of the draft, the L.A. Clippers, don't have anyone to trade -- Francis is too good to pass up.

Tapa

Now that Mario Andretti is in town, Gov. Cayetano seems to have finally gotten interested in the Hawaiian Super Prix.

Did it take an actual athlete appearance to help Cayetano understand that this race is the real deal?

Here's a group of business people who chose to come to Hawaii and bring with them thousands of tourists and millions of dollars.

Yes, they plan to make money. But isn't that a good thing?

Big-time auto racing brings tourists who generally behave themselves and aren't afraid to spend their money.

My only question to Cayetano is this: What took you so long to figure this out?

Just wondering.



Joe Edwards is sports editor of the Star-Bulletin.



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