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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Impact of Education and Age on NBA Arrests

Michael McCann of Sports Law Blog has an interesting post that analyzes arrests of NBA players.  After doing some pretty detailed empircal research, he makes a couple of findings that might be counterintuitive.  First, a college education has no correlation to the chance that an NBA player will or will not get in trouble with the law.  Second, NBA players tend to get in trouble with the law later in their careers.  Writes McCann:  "This could be interpreted in a number of ways. For instance, it might suggest that the “pressures of being an NBA player” are more manageable at the start of one’s career, perhaps because the player is less autonomous and more reliant on the team. This interpretation is bolstered by the financial stake of NBA teams in facilitating the transition of their players from life as an amateur to life as a pro. Second, and related to the preceding interpretation, new NBA players are often surrounded by veterans in their late 20s and 30s who can monitor them and serve as de facto “big brothers.” The presence of these veteran players is obviously something distinct from the college experience, where the “veterans” are often just 20 or 21-years old, and are thus not likely to be as well-equipped in steering their 18 and 19-year teammates away from nefarious influences. Alternatively, the data may suggest that as the player accumulates wealth and notoriety, he is more likely to succumb to these “pressures.”"  [Mark Godsey]

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