Charles Barkley stands in a dimly lit gym with a basketball squeezed between his beefy hands. He is only filming a commercial. Or is he? As he looks squarely into the camera, he declares, " I am not a role model...I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court" (Smith 1). After he says this, a question begins to form in the minds of the viewers. Who, then Charles, should be a role model? Now, just because this is a commercial for a basketball shoe does not mean Charles Barkley does not have a reply floating around in that shiny bald head of his. He retorts, "Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball, doesn't mean I should raise your kids" (1). Whether many people care to admit it or not, Charles Barkley is absolutely correct. Basketball players, along with other athletes, are experts at their chosen sport and not at guiding youngsters through their childhood years. According to sportswriter Mark Goodman, "It's probably misguided for society to look to athletes for its heroes- any more than we look among the ranks of, say, actors, lawyers or pipefitters" (Dudley 46). What can society do to prevent young kids from idolizing athletes for more than their on-field talents? The answer lies in parents and teachers. In order to prevent children from looking up to athletes, children must be taught right from wrong. By then it should become obvious to children that a good role model does not solve problems with violence or disrespect people in authority. Adults can take care of themselves, but children need a guiding light.
Karl Malone, a member of the Utah Jazz in the National Basketball Association (NBA), once stated that, "We [athletes] don't choose to ...
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