Back in the day, the term ‘role model’ was far and few.  A person had to really portray certain attributes and characteristics in order to receive that label; such as, having integrity, always showing respect, being kind, etc.  These days, it seems that every new professional basketball player, or other athlete, is automatically given the title of ‘role model’; regardless of their personal lives, moral beliefs, and reputations.  Therefore, our children are watching these athletes on television and at games and they are looking up to them; wanting to be just like them.  Yet, most children don’t care whether this so called role model has good character or not.  They simply see the fame and millions of dollars and think that when they get older, they’ll be in the same position…not realizing that there is always a price to being famous.
                The downside of being a professional athlete, be it basketball or not, is that not everyone is willing to be a role model.  There are many athletes who simply love the game and could care less about the hype that comes along with it.  A perfect example is Charles Barkley.  Charles Barkley once said in an interview that he never asked to be a role model.  However, whether asked or not, professional athletes have to know that, just as celebrities, when you are in the limelight of being famous, your life becomes open to the public.  Every little thing, especially anything negative, is criticized and blown out of proportion.  Why, because as long as fans continue to pay money to go to games or events, and watch them on television, they will feel as though they are owed something by the athletes; whether it’s simply an insight into their personal lives, or the right to express an opinion.  Therefore, if professional athletes don’t want to have every aspect of their lives critiqued by the public, then they should practice better behaviors, especially within the public eye. 
K. Nolen
 





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