“The Cleveland Cavaliers select Kyrie Irving.”
Adriana: That is how Kyrie Irving became an instant millionare at 19-years-old, becoming the top pick in the NBA draft last June, as a college freshman.
Kyrie Irving: I went up there and I shook David Stern’s hand and was like, ‘I’m here.’ I still get chills because I still remember the feeling.
Adriana: Duke University’s star point guard remembered something else, a promise to his dad that he had finish college.
Kyrie’s dad, Drederick, starred for Boston University in the 80s and graduated.
Drederick: We know he’s going to be challenged from the basketball perspective, but off the court he’ll be challenging himself in the classroom.
Adriana: Now, with players off the courts because of the NBA lockout, a delay in the season because of a dispute over players’ contracts, Kyrie headed back to campus and he is loving it.
Kyrie: I don’t like the vibe, I love it. I love Duke. I’m back here because I love it. Duke is that place.
Adriana: Even though only 25% of the NBA’s 450 players graduated from college, more and more college basketball players are getting their degrees.
Just last week the NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletic Association, annouced that a record 82% of Division I athletes graduated this year and just like Kyrie Irving, college players who dropped out to go pro are now going back to school. About fifty NBA atheletes have enrolled in college courses now that the NBA season is on hold.
Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook at UCLA, Stephan Curray at Davidson, and Tristan Thompson at Texas. They are all back on campus as pupils, not players. For Kyrie, going back to school is also about fulfilling a promise to his dad.
Drederick: I just said to Kyrie if you decide to leave, you have to promise me you’ll get your degree in five years. And he stuck to the pact, and I commend him for having the fortitude for sticking to the game plan.
Adriana: But some people may not get it. Why go back to school when a job that pays an average of $5 million a year is waiting.
Kyrie: I want to set up mark in the basketball world, but at the same time, me, having a mark on the real world is something I really want to do. And me having my degree when I’m finished, when I’m playing this game, I’ll be able to do it.
Adriana: But for now, he is just another kid on campus cracking the books…oh, and shooting a multimillion dollar commercial for Nike between classes.
Adriana Diaz, Channel One News.