Letter: Class act

February 19, 2013


To the editor:

Ben McLemore. This college student has become a great asset to the city of Lawrence, and we do not give him enough notice. Many times last year, it was written about his freshman challenges and the commitment he maintained to his team and coach through it all. Now, his story will be a highlight of the NCAA tournament and many expect him to be a top draft pick.

Before that happens, let’s talk about all the lives that he has touched. Tonight, my wife received a picture of a 6-year-old wearing a jersey Ben had signed at the women’s game that he attended. I have often seen posts with pictures of his patience and positive influence on other children. He and the entire team signed programs for two of my boys after Late Night.

In the infancy of a long career being in the national spotlight, Ben has carried himself as an individual that any professional basketball team will pay handsomely and be fortunate to have wear their jersey. As our season ends and he potentially goes on to greater things, I hope he remembers the Kansas motto, “Ad astra per aspera” (To the stars through difficulties).


elliottaw 5 years, 2 months ago

He could send an even better message to the kids by completing his college degree and not leaving n hopes of quick cash, less than 10% percent who leave for the pros make it, and those who do can be finished with one injury, stay in school and get your education child.

Phoghorn 5 years, 2 months ago

I would love for him to stay, but I will not blame him for leaving. A career as a professional athlete does not last long. By the time most folks hit 35, they are done. It is not a job you can do until you are 70. Worse yet, if you have career ending injury at 20, you are done.

As much as I like having Mr. McLemore on campus, he needs to go make his millions as soon as he is ready - even if the NBA is paying him millions to sit on the bench for a year (which I doubt he will spend much time warming the bench anyway, but you see my point).

If he wants a college degree, he can always come back after a successful career. If he stayed and gave us 4 NCs, I would be thrilled, but I wish him well, regardless of his choice.

Bob Forer 5 years, 2 months ago

Nonsense, elliottaw. Two more years in college means two less years of a lucrative professional career. Ben is a sure lottery pick, which means a guaranteed contract. That guaranteed contract could disappear in a New York minute were he to stay in college and sustain a major injury. The young man grew up with very little. Yes, he has some fine God-given talents, but if you know anything about him, you'd know that he has worked his butt off for years to become the best basketball player he could be. Who are you to suggest that he should't be allowed to take the best path possible to secure his goals and dreams? This is America.

Until you have done something similar to what you suggest Ben do, e.g., delay your career and spend four years in the Peace Corps setting an example for others, you have no right to suggest similar sacrifices of Ben.

People go to college to be in a position to earn a decent living. Ben is already there. Whether he decides to finish his college degree once his playing days are over is purely a matter of personal choice. A college degree is not necessary to lead a happy, fulfilling, and productive life.

msezdsit 5 years, 2 months ago

Few people graduate college and have a job waiting for them that measures up in any way to the job that is awaiting Mr. McLemore in a couple months. He could be finished with one injury in college and never make the kind of money that is waiting for him. Play pro ball for 10 or 12 years and still in his early 30's, go back to college and finish his final two years. He could still graduate a very young man with another career ahead of him. Makes no sense to stay. He is one player who will excel at the next level. He probably will be an NBA all-star before his college eligibility would expire .

mom_of_three 5 years, 2 months ago

While I would love for him to stay for four years, he has an opportunity for a job that he will love and be successful at it. If he really wants his education, which his mother has indicated, there are others ways of achieving it.

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