One tall young man had the courage to admit that he never learned or, more accurately, was never taught. So Keyon Dooling, formerly with the Memphis Grizzlies and a 13-year NBA veteran, began to teach him step by step. The line grew longer, as more and more young men acknowledged they didn’t know how to tie a necktie either and wanted to learn. This was not a scene at a community center or a middle school mentoring session. These were millionaires, NBA players who had never been taught the proper way to knot a tie.
That is extraordinarily surprising to most anybody else, but not Keyon. He is well familiar with the reality of young African-American men abundantly gifted with skills for the game of basketball with too few skills instilled in them for the game of life. Plus, there is baggage, much of it secret baggage, that comes along from the complex, challenging, dysfunctional environments and backgrounds they escaped. Money and fame can exacerbate their issues. Global media exposure can point out the problems and baggage like those optic yellow highlighters we use to illuminate parts of document or a book.