For NBA G League Players, Life After Basketball Is An Important Reality

By Jeff Wong | September 11, 2017

Any professional athlete knows that the unique opportunities presented from a league should be taken advantage of to the fullest. For NBA G League players, one such opportunity the NBA offers is the Job Shadow Program.

For NBA G League alums Chasson Randle (New York Knicks), Will Sheehey (last season: Raptors 905) and Akil Mitchell (Long Island Nets), the opportunity arose this summer for them to participate in the Job Shadow Program offered by the NBA’s Player Development Department to present the various career opportunities that could be available in a life after basketball.

“With the shadowing program, it gave me an opportunity to see another side of the basketball world.” said Randle, who spent his program time with NBA TV and Turner Sports. “It was awesome to be able to see and have an idea of what that lifestyle is like and what the business is like.”

As with many of those that participated in the program, players had the opportunity to work in a place in the sports industry that they were not accustomed to – off the court.

“Most of us players from a very young age – all we do is play basketball and go to school all day long. We don’t understand the value of what goes into making a big production like the NBA work.” said Sheehey who got to participate in programs with American Express and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, as well as a week-long internship with the NBA.

“The American Express one was different because it was so outside of basketball. Understanding how people with no connections with basketball –their daily life and the things that they do. With the NBA, the behind-the-scenes stuff [was good to see] because for us guys, we just play and go to practice, and we don’t understand all the production and value that all those workers contribute to.”

For Mitchell, in addition to shadowing at the NBA offices, he took his talents to South Beach and did a shadow program for real estate development in Miami. But, Mitchell was appreciative of the fact that the NBA and NBA G League were able to set this up for him.

“The NBA [used] their leverage to get us in front of people on that side of the business who [knew] a whole lot about real estate development. It was great to meet those people and to get [in] front of those people and to ask questions that I would have never otherwise got to.”

Every player knows that he will not be able to play on the court forever. Randle (African-American Studies, 75% done with his Psychology masters), Sheehey (Legal Studies), and Mitchell (Sociology major, International Business minor) all know the importance of a college education and how important it is to pick up knowledge – wherever you are placed.

“Everything is a learning process,” Mitchell said. “That’s one of the things I learned while I was at Virginia. You don’t have to sit in a classroom to learn what you learn right now. A lot of what I learned there was through people and just meeting people and getting connections, figuring it out –you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.”

All players will look to showcase what they have done and learned during their summers as the NBA G League season tips off November 3rd.