The degree of knowledge

The new freshman class of the NBA has been introduced to great fanfare from the New York cartel and the fanatics who know the sport. But who are these people? It’s not surprising that they don’t know the difference between an OutKast and a outcast. It is surprising if any general fan knows the heartbeats of this lottery beyond the #3 pick, RJ Barrett.

They starve for a year and stay a year. College athletes use to be able to live meekly for three or four years for one team (er, college) and survive through the interviews without any pretension of starvation, labor relation issues, strife about pay, etc. The argument was always that they get paid by getting a degree. My, how that has changed.

A four year degree now is the minimum standard now to make a decent living. It’s Masters or bust. The athletes have always paid the college more with their drawing power and the promotion of the program with the promise of getting a degree if willing to work a double shift without being able to pay for food. And now the degree isn’t worth the can of beans the bizarro hired help eats.

And the money has grown in the next stanza of their professional lives. The chosen ones who have the talent, the guile, the work ethic to move on to professional sports have more money domestically, and both more money and opportunity internationally. It behooves them to move faster through the experience of working for free except for an almost worthless degree.

So the general fan doesn’t know a Bol Bol from a Tyler Herro. Are they the heroes from a children’s fable or are they future basketball stars? And who did they play for? And does anybody care? Does anybody care that they don’t know who OutKast?

People know their favorite bands because they run it back a few times creatively to the satisfaction of the fanbase. People identify the story as it changes from creative spurt to creative spurt, until it dissolves or becomes the Rolling Stones. College players don’t ever run it back; it’s one year of growth then it’s on to making a album professionally.

The outcasts are the people who continue to shout that the living wage is a college degree. And what seems like an innocent question of knowing a nineties superstar group is really the reality of a loss of innocence.