NBA legend Kobe Bryant recently penned a letter to his younger self on The Player's Tribune. And the advice needs to be shared with every young player that is beginning their professional sports journey.
If you've watched the ESPN 30-for-30 documentary "Broke", or are familiar with the disease of "Friends and Family" that bleeds money from these millionaire athletes and contributes to their eventual bankruptcy filings, you know that it's not just the jet-set lifestyle, 10 cars and promiscuous baby-mama-drama that leads them into financial ruin.
Sometimes, it is those that are closest to them, the people they love and trust the most. With the best of intentions of wanting to look out for mom and dad, cousin Pookie and the homies from around the way, today's pro baller takes years to realize that they've gone about things the wrong way.
As Kobe says, "Purely giving material things to your siblings and friends may appear to be the right decision. You love them, and they were always there for you growing up, so it’s only right that they should share in your success and all that comes with it. So you buy them a car, a big house, pay all of their bills. You want them to live a beautiful, comfortable life, right?
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But the day will come when you realize that as much as you believed you were doing the right thing, you were actually holding them back."
He goes on to point out that by simply giving material wealth, houses and cars to family and friends is a huge mistake.
"But the day will come when you realize that as much as you believed you were doing the right thing, you were actually holding them back," Kobe writes.
He goes on to say, "Use your success, wealth and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose. Put them through school, set them up with job interviews and help them become leaders in their own right. Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go."
By not doing that, and simply giving, Kobe is warning the young guys that they will repeat the mistakes that he and some of his peers have made: creating and fueling a crippling addiction and co-dependence.
The goal is to help the ones you live better themselves. By simply giving them everything they could ever want, without them having to work for it, is one of the worst mistakes that an athlete can make, a mistake that can haunt them for the rest of their lives.