Shabazz Napier is everything that the N.C.A.A. says it wants student athletes to be. And, on Monday night, the twenty-two-year-old senior scored twenty-two points while leading the University of Connecticut to a 60-54 victory over John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats for the national championship.
Napier grew up in tight circumstances in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and went to prep school on scholarship in order to qualify to play in college. He stayed at Connecticut after Jim Calhoun, the coach that recruited him, stepped down.
He stayed through the school’s temporary ban from postseason play, in 2013, for failing to meet the N.C.A.A.’s academic standards. He was tempted to leave early to try his luck in the N.B.A. draft, but ultimately decided to stay in school.
He was his conference’s player of the year, an All-America First Team selection.
And his fine play in the tournament gave him the kind of visibility that is sure to raise his draft stock among professional teams in June. His story would be the one that the keepers of the college-basketball status quo would tell to young men across the country.
Except, there is a problem. Speaking to reporters earlier in the tournament, Napier said that while he had played for Connecticut—making money for the school, his coaches, Nike, and so many other stakeholders in the system—he had not always had enough spending money to buy food.
It might have gotten lost amidst the excitement of the national championship, were the contrast between the image of a hungry student athlete and that of the immense profits made from his sport not so striking. Asked about the recent ruling that would allow members of the Northwestern football team to vote on forming a union, Napier called it “kind of great.”
A reporter asked if he considered himself an employee. No, he responded, he was a student athlete, but one who felt stretched thin. He didn’t think college kids needed to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars (he, of course, has been worth more than that to UConn over the past four years), just enough to eat.
Napier seemed to mean that literally; he talked about hungry nights. “We’re definitely blessed to get a scholarship to our universities, but, at the end of the day, that doesn’t cover everything,” he said. Athletic scholarships, which are capped in value, do not necessarily cover all of the costs of attending college, meaning that players have to pull resources together in other ways.
Those ways, of course, may not involve using their considerable celebrity to make money via related employment or endorsements. Napier talked about that, as well: “It may not have your last name on it, but when you see a jersey getting selled … you want something in return.” This is what a voice of reason sounds like.
The more successful you are, the more you need to learn and grow. Your commitment to learning has to be continuous and unrelenting.
- John Donahoe
Every generation likes to believe that it came of age at an especially trying moment in history. Millennials have the Great Recession to lament. Gen X had the dotcom bust. The Boomers had Vietnam. And the Silents had the early Cold War, complete with the not-so-silly threat of nuclear war.
But at least when it comes to the job market, I think we can all agree by now that today’s young adults are deserving of at least a few extra pity points. And should there be any doubt, here’s a wonderful, one-chart demonstration of why from a new Pew report. At every education level, the 25- to 32-year-olds of 2013 confronted a higher unemployment rate than past generations did when they were stepping into the workforce. And keep in mind, that’s 2013—four years after the economy was supposed to have started mending.
In 2005, Steve Jobs told a class of graduating students at Stanford University, “for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’”
The idea that we should live each day like it was our last isn’t new, of course, and is supposed to inspire us to, you know, go sky-diving, Rocky-Mountain climbing, and the like. But how would you live this day if it wasn’t your last, but rather the 19,718th-to-last? Or the 8,657th?
A new watch called Tikker claims to have created a way to calculate approximately when, according to its creators, a person is likely to die, and then to input that date into a wristwatch. The idea is that being constantly reminded of his or her own mortality will nudge the wearer to live life to the fullest.
Read more. [Image: Tikker]
In this week’s issue, Ben McGrath looks at the renewed success of the wildly popular Brazilian soccer team Corinthians: http://nyr.kr/1aAYpTX. The Brazil-based photographer Sebastián Liste spent time at the club’s training center and among the stalwart fans. A look at his photos: http://nyr.kr/1aBW23e
Photographs by Sebastián Liste/Reportage by Getty Images
Creating Self-Portrait Illusions with @vivaladiva_
To see more photos and videos of Malin’s self-portraits, follow @vivaladiva_.
On first glance at Malin Bergman’s (@vivaladiva_) self-portraits, you might think she has her back turned to the camera. But upon closer inspection, the truth is revealed.
"I’m really fond of photos that at first sight look nice and flawless, but when you look closer for a while you start to notice details that give an illusion that not all is as peaceful and perfect as you first thought."
Malin uses her long red hair as a prop to create imaginative self-portraits that make the viewer work hard to determine the mood of the photo.
"Quite early on when I started shooting portraits, I was interested in disguising the faces of the people I photographed, both with masques and simply by asking the person to face away from the camera. The facial expression tells you a lot, but if you hide it, it’s harder for the viewer to interpret the mood in the photo which makes it more interesting and lets the viewer interpret it in their own way."
Based in Stockholm, Sweden, her style began as an art project on self-portraits.
"I started to experiment with my camera and self-timer and thought I didn’t just want to take a plain portrait of my face with the hair hanging down, so I combed my hair over my face. When I looked at the photo in the camera, I saw that you couldn’t really tell if it was taken from behind me or in front of me and I liked that optical illusion."
Malin often uses another subject to adjust lighting and composition, then shows them where to hold the phone as she steps into the frame. She tries to add a small detail to distort reality.
"I get very inspired by the surrealism in my pictures, but I try to make that influence just slightly noticeable. I hope that my photos affects the viewer in a way that makes him/her stop and view the picture one more time and let their own fantasies decide what the photo really shows."