September 2015

Scam Alert: Warning ALL Basketball Players

[av_dropcap2]L[/av_dropcap2]ast year a professional basketball player was offered a contract to play for a team in the United Kingdom.  The player called me and asked if I would look over the contract to make sure he was signing a fair contract.  As I reviewed the contract I noticed one thing that stood out, the salary.  The salary was $70,000 and with bonuses, worth around $90,000, after tax.  Many teams on the international market pay this type of salary however in recent years I have not seen a contract from the UK totaling such an amount.

Although the contract had the team logo, Presidents name and address on it, (who I know very well) I was still unsure as to the validity of the contract, but I told the player  the club could have landed a big sponsor and might be able to pay such an amount.  Some might ask, why didn’t I call the President of the club?

As a PPD Specialist, my role is to provide personal development services for athletes, not act as an agent.

After signing the contract and sending it back to the club. The player was then asked to send money through Western Union to pay for half of his flight to London.  Huge red flag!

I checked around and my international contacts informed me this is the scam, which has grown into big business.  Unfortunately, a group of people (Nigerians) have blank basketball contracts and use them to trick players into thinking they have a job playing overseas.  After the player signs the contract, the Nigerians quickly request money from the player, stating “the money is for half of the amount of the flight and the player will be reimbursed once they land” soon after receiving the money these Nigerians end up disappearing.

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Since the summer, I have spoke to ten players who have been asked to send money to a team for a flight and none of them were real playing jobs.  Just the Nigerians trying to trick them into sending money.  These folks are based in London and will tell you they are officially a scout for the team.  In actuality, they have nothing to do with the team.

Every college basketball player passed over by the NBA, wants to have an opportunity to play overseas and these folks know that.  They will tell you everything you want to hear and provide a contract that looks real.  Don’t be fooled, check and recheck the people your doing business with.  Look on the internet and see if the team is looking for players and most importantly be realistic.  If you have any questions contact me @drmarkppd or drmark@ppdmag.com. You can also join our Facebook group.

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PPD MagScam Alert: Warning ALL Basketball Players
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Stephen Bardo: Social Media, Basketball and PPD

Stephen Bardo, former collegiate and professional athlete is currently a rising sports broadcaster. He talked to PPD Mag and gave his thoughts on the current state of college basketball, the sports broadcasting business and of course Personal Player Development.

 

Dr. Mark: Its been many years since you competed in college basketball at Illinois, how much has the game changed?

Mr. Bardo: The college basketball game that I played over 25 years ago is much different than the game now.  First, the top players leave after their freshman year for the NBA.  This causes a tremendous talent drain on college basketball.  During my last two years at the University of Illinois, the Big Ten Conference had 17 first and second round NBA draft picks.  Most of the top players stayed at least until their junior year.  The skill level and knowledge of the game was much higher then, because you had guys with 90-100 career games under their belt entering their senior years.  That’s not the case today.

Second, the game is officiated much closer now than when I played.  Some of my colleagues (Jay Bilas, Mike DeCourcy) would argue, but I know the game is called much tighter now than ever.  One of the reasons the officiating has changed is the lack of skill development among the players overall.  Scoring is at historic lows right now and the NCAA is trying to legislate the lack of passing and shooting.  Players are more athletic now than when I played but far less skilled in the areas of passing and shooting which leads to more scoring and a more appealing game.

Dr. Mark: What made you decide to become a Basketball Analyst?

Mr. Bardo: Basketball is my family’s business.  My father played at Southern Illinois University in the late 50’s and early 60’s.  My older brother started at Indiana University and transferred to the Citadel to finish his career.  My sister played junior college basketball.  I’m the youngest and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t involved in sports and basketball in particular.  I wanted to be an electrical engineer until I took Chemistry in high school, it was a foreign language to me.  My Dad told me I like to run my mouth and I love basketball, why not look into broadcast journalism as a major.  Some of the best advice I’ve ever received.

Dr. Mark: In our current society, do you believe the sport media are held to the same stand regarding social media?

Mr. Bardo: Social media is the game-changer!  We follow athlete sites to gain inside information about them.  It’s rare that athletes even hold press conferences any longer, they just make announcements on social media.  The immediate nature of social media challenges the older established media companies and the way they conduct business now.

Dr. Mark:  What mistakes if any have you made as a basketball analyst (on or off air) and what could you have done differently?

Mr. Bardo: I’ve had my issues with social media.  I’m outspoken and say what’s on my mind.  The immediacy of social media allows people to give their opinion.  I’ve made my opinion known, even before thinking of the consequences.  For example, I was very disappointed in the way my alma mater, the University of Illinois, was running their athletic program.  I went on Twitter and shared my disappointment and specifically spoke about the leadership of the program.  I work with the Big Ten Network, so I was essentially biting the hand that feeds me.  I didn’t see it that way since this is my alma mater yet, the University of Illinois and the Big Ten Network are business partners.  This incident affected the amount of work I will receive this season and it’s a great reminder of how NOT to use social media.

Dr. Mark: How important is Personal Player Development for the athlete?

Mr. Bardo: Personal development is key for everyone, yet it’s crucial for student-athletes (SA).  There is so much pressure to win at the elite level.  So a student athlete’s primary job is to help their team be successful.  Getting a degree comes second to winning.  I know this is contrary to popular belief, but this is the way it is at the elite level.  SA’s are viewed more as a commodity, rather than a student.  If a team (like mine did) reaches the Final Four you have legendary status among classmates, alumni, and fans.  So the work that you do is crucial for SA’s to have a productive life after sports instead of being used by sports.

If done properly, SA’s have some of the most sought after intangibles of any potential graduates in the workplace.

The ability to work in teams, produce under pressure, handle time constraints, sacrifice for the team, and many more, make former athletes very attractive to companies.  Yet Personal Player development is needed to connect the dots for athletes.

Dr. Mark: What can colleges do better to help personally develop their athletes?

Mr. Bardo: Universities can bring in former athletes that have made successful transitions into the workplace.  Success leaves footprints and former athletes can cut the learning time for current athletes by years with their advice and specific examples.  I know programs like yours are much needed and are long overdue.  It’s not enough to give a full scholarship without proper support.  Athletes from challenged backgrounds have to play catch-up for the skills that were either under-developed or not addressed at all before stepping foot on a university campus.  These Personal Player Development programs are crucial to the total success of the student-athlete.

Dr. Mark:  What advice can you give to people who are pursuing a career as a sports analyst?

Mr. Bardo: With technology as accessible and most times free there are a number of outlets people can use to attract opportunities.  If I were starting out right now, I would start a podcast.  Podcasting is on-demand content.  They are easy to start, easy to post online, and gives podcasters a forum to get their reps in!  Just like when we started playing basketball, we had to get a certain amount of shots up if we wanted to improve.  Getting into sports commentating is no different.  You must get your reps up and Podcasting is the most efficient and cost effective way to get started.  If your Podcast is good networks will find you.

Dr. Mark:  What are your career and professional goals moving forward?

Mr. Bardo: I love being a basketball analyst and I will continue to improve and become one of the best in the nation. However, my passion is seeing young people develop and reach their potential.  I love being a professional speaker and I’ve really started to build this area of my business.  I’m the “Point Guard that assists student-athletes and their parents maximize the sports experience”.  I speak to the youth, college, and association/corporate markets.  I specialize in leadership and improving culture (teamwork).  Check me out at www.stephenbardo.com.

 

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PPD MagStephen Bardo: Social Media, Basketball and PPD
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Dr. Tommy Shavers: Part 2

Dr. Tommy Shavers is the president of Tommy Speak LLC., a speaking and consulting company which focuses on leadership, teamwork, communication, and personal development. He is also the co-founder of the Atlas Group Advisors.  Dr. Shavers has been involved with helping athletes for decades which is why we consider him to be one of the few pioneers in the Personal Player Development industry.  This is the second of a four part interview, it only gets better.

Do you believe very few people are out to help the athlete in the area of personal development?

I think there are very few people currently who are actually qualified to able to help athletes in this area. I believe there are very few truly qualified in this area because it’s never been a primary focus area of development for the athlete over the years. We have progressed over the years with the focus on athlete development. We started with athletic development, and then we moved to physical development, academic/educational and then mental/emotional/clinical. Today we are moving into the social/behavioral era of athlete development. It often takes some major issue to see that an area is lacking and in need of addressing. Today more than ever, behavioral risk management is becoming a primary factor in talent acquisition across industries. With the growth of a global and instantly connected society, organizations have to really invest in figuring out if a prospect can not only be an asset performance wise, but will they not be a liability socially– how do they handle life, how do they interact within the greater society, how are they developing as an overall person?

They also have to discover what is the social/personal/behavioral atmosphere of their organizational culture, and how can they best create culture of positive social, personal, and behavioral outcomes. Issues like domestic violence and sexual assault are examples of the social and behavioral era of athlete development now being the focal point of the sports world. So I believe this is the next evolution in the total development of today’s athlete for today’s sports organizations. In this fast and growing field; I can see social/personal/behavioral development becoming the foundational development criteria and focus of all major sports.

Coaches often say, the number one ability they look for in a player is availability. This couldn’t be truer in today’s sports world where a player’s behavior off the field has in some ways eclipsed their importance or value on the field. I believe most in the sports world want a solution, however just like with any new paradigm shift; someone has to pioneer this solution into reality. Individuals like yourself with the PPD Magazine and the work you do, myself, and a handful of other extremely qualified individuals are in the process of making that happen.

Who benefits from the college athletes participation in sports?

I think there are too many to name in this interview. For starters, we can refer to those gatekeepers I mentioned earlier. These individuals have monetary incentives tied to athlete participation. However, there are numerous other individuals and industries who indirectly benefit from athletes participating in sport.

Does society see athletes as products or people?

This one is kind of tricky because many in society treat athletes as products; making money and opportunities from their success. However, at the same time, they are expecting them to act like normal people. However, if you understand power cultures, this wouldn’t be surprising as individuals with power often dehumanize people and see them more as objects to use and leverage as oppose to individual to help and empower.

Can the domestic violence and sexual assault problems in sports be address the same way society is addressing domestic violence and sexual assault?

Great question. The answer is no and here’s why. The issue or question isn’t is this a sports issue or a societal issue as most have tried to make it out be. While we can admit that there is a general societal problem in these areas, the real question is are the causes for these issues the same in all walks of society? We know the answer to that is no. For example, there is crime in every city in our country, while this is a general societal problem, there is no such thing as a general societal solution. Each state, city, town has its own set of unique variables and factors that are necessary to understand if their goal is to address the crime in their particular community. What would work for one community would not work for another. This is the same when it comes to domestic violence and sexual assault in sports. Rather than focusing on it being a bigger societal issue, we have to discover what the unique factors are attributing to it in the context and culture of the sports community.

See Part One

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PPD MagDr. Tommy Shavers: Part 2
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Dr. Tommy Shavers: PPD Pioneer, Part 1

Dr. Tommy Shavers is the president of Tommy Speak LLC., a speaking and consulting company which focuses on leadership, teamwork, communication, and personal development. He is also the co-founder of the Atlas Group Advisors.  Dr. Shavers is a published author, a member of the NeuroLeadership Institute, and a contributing author to Linked2Leadership, one of the nation’s top leadership blogs.  Dr. Shavers has been involved with helping athletes for decades which is why we consider him to be one of the few pioneers in the Personal Player Development industry.  He has created and brings a unique perspective to his areas of PPD expertise.   He took the time out of his busy schedule to give PPD MAG a four part interview, this is a must read!

Dr. Mark: Tell us about Atlas Group Advisors and it’s purpose.

Dr. Shavers: Well, Atlas Group Advisors was recently founded by long time friend and high school alum Bobby McCray Jr. who played college ball at the University of Florida, was drafted in the NFL by the Jacksonville Jaguars and eventually won a Super Bowl as a key member of the New Orleans Saints Championship team. Bobby and I both attended Homestead Sr. High School where his father was the long time successful coach. His father Coach McCray Sr. was and still is a personal mentor and father figure to me. While Bobby was in the height of his professional playing career, I was being the nerd that I am and researching the behavior of influential people after my college career had ended at the University of Central Florida (Go Knights…Charge On!).

I really wanted to know why people began to behave differently when they acquired some new level of status, power, or influence. I was seeing it so vividly in the three of the main areas of my life at the time; sports, faith, and business. I was seeing people change and began to behave  poorly, treat people poorly, and make horrible business decisions once they had this newly acquired influence. After Bobby finished playing, he realized that during his time, he had missed out on taking advantage of a lot of opportunities that could have benefited him long after football. He decided that he was going to focus on helping other athletes in the game avoid some of the practical pitfalls he had seen and experienced. When I found out we had this mutual passion for helping athletes, we merged our practical, professional, and educational experiences and expertise and started AGA. It was a perfect partnership and a seamless transition.

Atlas Group is a unique high profile consulting firm for individuals who live or work in high power cultures, and live high power lifestyles such as athletes, celebrities, politicians, law enforcements, and organizational leaders. At AGA when we refer to power we are referring to a level of influence and control someone has over others and resource. So, examples of power could be wealth, fame and notoriety, status, and authority. The name Atlas represents individuals who live their lives under the weight and expectations of the world while being expected to produce positive outcomes.

Our strategic, philosophical, and practical approach to consulting, life coaching, and behavior management are built on our understanding of the significant influence that power can have on power holders in the areas we refer to as their culture, character, and conduct. Many individuals are acquiring power and are unaware of its effect on their mindset and actions. And because they are unaware, they are also ill-equipped and unprepared to prevent some of the unwanted behaviors that can come from being what we refer to as HPI’s (High Profile/High Power) individuals. So our goal is to help our clients help themselves by equipping them with the resources and advisement to better manage and leverage being individuals of power and influence.

Dr. Mark: What is the problem with this generation of athletes?

Dr. Shavers: I know what I’m about to say may seem a bit long winded to some, but it is the best way to fully articulate what we see going on today with this sudden fame phenomenon. In the same way that the game has evolved; the culture around the game has evolved as well. From a societal perspective we are living in a time that is unlike any time before, where the average person can acquire the fame, wealth, and power of the kings of old; without the lineage, pedigree or preparation that came with it.

In the past, there were few ways individuals could acquire such power and influence. This kept high levels of power in the hands of a small few. This is not the case today. Today someone can go from the outhouse to the penthouse instantly with a tweet or an uploaded video (or lottery). While they may receive quick fame and notoriety; it rarely ever ends well when it comes to their actions and behavior.

The reality is, most people are not prepared mentally, emotionally, and most importantly socially, to handle being powerful people living in a power culture. This is what often happens with today’s athlete.

Many of the athletes today (who are minorities by the way) are often unaware and unprepared to become individuals of such high status, power, and influence. What makes the situation more challenging is that these young athletes often come from very power deficient cultures, where they have little to no power in the form of wealth, fame, and status. They are often depraved of opportunities in pursue of achieve their wants and goals. So when they become big time athletes (as early as youth ball), they begin to experience the newly found intoxication of having status and power. At this point the world that was once closed to them in every way now is catering to their every need; providing them with pretty much whatever their hearts can imagine. So these kids leave one un-normal culture and are placed within another un-normal culture, and are expected to do what…act normal.

This is a difficult reality and unfortunately many athletes have fallen victims to their own culture while creating victims as a result of their actions. You see what’s normal behavior in a power culture, isn’t normal behavior in traditional culture. It’s when those two worlds collide we see what normal society calls poor and unacceptable behavior of athletes. If left unaddressed, it’s almost as if, the culture is setting the athlete up for eventual behavioral failure due to the unrealistic treatment they receive from individuals such as fans, women, coaches, money people, friends, teachers, and others who are enamored with them and their status.

What many fail to understand is that the behaviors we are finding appalling and unacceptable; this has been normal behavior in their culture for years. As one athlete said to me during a research study, “we didn’t create the culture, it was already here when we got here.

Dr. Mark: Who are the gatekeepers, in athletics? 

Dr. Shavers: Ok, so I see the gatekeepers as the individuals who have a direct influence over the athlete and have a responsibility for seeing them have positive outcomes personally and professionally. So who are the gatekeepers; they are the sports agent, the money managers, financial advisors, coaches, and management. My thoughts about these gatekeepers are not real favorable in general. Now I know there are some good people in the list I just mentioned, however, for the most part, I haven’t seen these individuals take responsibility for the outcomes of these athletes. I know some will say that they are their own people and should be responsible for themselves. Here’s my thought to that…

First most of these athletes are kids when they enter into the hands of these gatekeepers. They are not experienced, mature, or knowledgeable on how to live the life of a high profile athlete. We keep hearing about athletes ending up broke right; my question to you is at what point did they ever become financially savvy? At one point did they ever learn to manage millions? Never! Just a few months prior, they could barely afford a dollar menu meal.

But yet society keeps saying, these guys are stupid, reckless, deserving of their misfortunes. I disagree, I am wondering how does someone who doesn’t know about managing money, lose it all while having professional money managers.

This isn’t an issue of guys going broke, this is an issue of unprepared athletes being exploited by people who get away clean with little or no accountability for their actions. So I think that the individuals that have such high investments in these athletes should be obligated to better manage all aspects of the athletes’ life and face some of sort of repercussions for not doing so responsibly. There has to be more of an accountability incentive on these gatekeepers to make them care more about the outcome and wellbeing of the athlete.

Read part 2 next week.

 

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PPD MagDr. Tommy Shavers: PPD Pioneer, Part 1
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