The NBA players often make as do many other individuals, public pronouncements about the need to stress education. The players themselves are frequently active in community events guided either by their team or under their individual initiative.
The players though they are well remunerated are itinerant labor with limited protection against being traded by their employers. This factor of professional sports life has an impact on their philanthropy. Once a player achieve a level of stature, and a modicum of security they will frequently devote some charitable efforts either at the franchise with which they are playing or at their hometowns. If the activities are directed at the franchise locale, the links established with local organization are sundered and usually not re-established at the new franchise.
The establishment of the “one and done” rule that allows players to join the league only one year removed from being high school seniors mitigates against the type of intellectual development that may be obtained on a college campus. None the less, there are players who have substantial academic attainments such as Andrew Nicholson of the Washington Wizards who holds a B.S. in physics.
In the Bay Area, Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors represents a pattern of skill development that a professional athlete needs to compete in their post playing career.
Initially the skill set was developed prior to the professional career.
I”guodala: …Like, in high school people always assume that, even in middle school actually, teachers didn't know that I was in the higher-track classes because they weren't my teachers. They just assume that I was good at basketball ... but there was like, two of me in that class. There were only two of us that looked like that.
Strauss: Looked like what?
Iguodala: That had this type of, this dark ... There was only two of us in that class and even my teammates didn't know. And I think my senior year I was athlete of the week and then I was in the paper a few times for student athlete of the week, and I had 3.8 GPA. I go to the barber shop and it was like, 'Yo, you got straight A's in school?' And I'm like, 'Yeah.' Everybody shocked. Black people, the white people, everybody just like, because that's all they identified me as, just a basketball player. They never saw me. That's what they associated me with.” – “Andre Iguodala: Aspirations bigger than basketball” ESPN Staff Writer, Ethan Sherwood Strauss - Jan 14, 2016
This predisposition toward mathematics could be put to use when he arrived at the Golden State Warriors, proximate to one of the growth centers of the national economy, the Silicon Valley.
From this vantage point, he hosted a Technology Summit to provide current and former NBA players with exposure to networking opportunities with Valley movers & shakers, senior executives and influencers, and workshops to identify opportunities for players to pursue in addition to their NBA careers.
At the player level, the long-term goal of Math-Dunk is to involve players with skillset like Iguodala in a manner to most effectively utilize their celebrity status. The current pattern of player involvement at the community level focuses on activities such doling out food in homeless shelters and buying gifts for needy families. While neither of these activities are unworthy, if the players instead granted a degree of personal access and based on that access as a product of academic achievement, they could be much more effective in producing the kind of educational results they purport to desire.