The author of a book on parenting elite athletes told Breitbart Sports Wednesday that Michael Beasley’s arrest may be the latest example of the lack of a father figure offsetting the potential of even the most gifted athlete.
“If his foundation is his AAU coach or his homeboys, then he really does not have a foundation at all,” Corey Crowder told Breitbart Sports.
During his 2008 season at Kansas State, Beasley was one of only three players ever to have a Value Add of higher than 12 percent, and he was guaranteed almost $9 million by the time he was 21 years old when he was picked by the Miami Heat after only Derrick Rose. A few months later during rookie camp police detected marijuana in his hotel room.
“If you have a young kid who was passed along in high school, then passed along in college or spends one year in college; then he is given a million dollar contract and he has no foundation or father figure….I would bet that the statistics would say a majority of these people end up broke and/or with some of the same problems like a Beasley,” said Corey Crowder, who played in the NBA and Europe and has written Superstar for Life: A Professional and College Basketball Players Guide to Elite Performance on and Off The Court.
Crowder’s description lines up for Beasley, who lacked a father figure and was at one point taken in by an AAU coach, only to later sue that coach.
Beasley was not an immediate bust, but his career has been in steady decline. According to John Hollinger’s overall Value Added rating of NBA players, Beasley was the eighth best small forward during his rookie season with the Heat, then 12th best his second year. In two years at Minnesota he was 15th and then 30th, and then he was the 47th best small forward – a clear reserve-level player – while earning over $6 million during the past season for the Phoenix Suns.
An officer with one NBA team told Breitbart Sports that Beasley was traded to Minnesota in hopes that getting him away from the Miami nightlife would refocus him on basketball, but Crowder believes the professional sports industry is sometimes playing with fire themselves.
“A player without a father figure … does not 100% of the time mean that you are going to get a bad person or player. But if you are adding statistics to the mix, along with everything else you are using to evaluate whether to draft a certain player or give this player a maxed out contract, then whatever has happened in their lives should become a big part of your decision making process,” said Crowder.
If the Heat had followed Crowder’s advice and skipped over Beasley in light of his lack of a foundation, they could have taken Russell Westbrook instead of Beasley. A Westbrook-Wade backcourt for the past five years could have been unstoppable, though it would have been almost impossible to keep Westbrook and sign both LeBron James and Chris Bosh.