Magazine article Ebony

'My Summer Away from the NBA.' (Basketball Stars off the Court)

Magazine article Ebony

'My Summer Away from the NBA.' (Basketball Stars off the Court)

Article excerpt

SETTING the pick, driving the lane, taking the charge, playing defens--another pro basketball season is upon us, and for the men who make their living playing the game, it's back to work.

A summer away from the NBA gives most players a chance to rest, nurse nagging injuries, develop new aspects of their game, run basketball camps or increase business opportunities and commercial endorsements. The activities of some of the game's biggest stars--such as Michael Jordan, a passionate golfer--are already well known. But for others, the summer provides less publicized opportunities to build a professional life away from basketball, whether it's raising farm animals, writing and producing music or going back to school.

For Rumeal Robinson of the Atlanta Hawks, the off-season offered an escape to the classroom on the campus of Harvard University.

A native of Cambridge, Mass., Robinson, a graduate of the University of Michigan, spent his summer taking postgraduate courses in art and drama, learning the fine points of voice control, facial expressions and scriptwriting. He has also acted in several plays, including A Midsummer Night's Dream.

"Hey, don't get me wrong," Robinson says. "I love the game of basketball. But I love to do other things, too. A lot of guys think differently, and obviously I can't say anything about them because they're doing what they want to do. But they ought to look at something else."

Robinson hopes to take other courses during the off-season to help boost his career in basketball. "It's just a way of doing things to communicate with people because that's the kind of business that I'm in."

Like Harvard University, Eldorado, Ark., seems an unlikely place to find a professional basketball player. But Karl Malone, a player who is better known for handling beefy opponents underneath the basket, also enjoys working his 50-acre ranch where he moonlights as a beefmaster cattle breeder.

Working in an agricultural operation where a prized purebred animal can be sold for as much as $200,000, Malone takes his bulls and cows very seriously. He currently owns about 30-head of cattle and plans to buy more. "Eight years from now when they say, 'Where is he now? this is where I'll be," he says. "If God says the same and my health is still good, this is where I want to be."

Terry Cummings of the San Antonio Spurs is another basketball player who is very comfortable where he is, both on and off the court. As a player, Cummings is one of the big stars of his sport. But as a songwriter and music producer, he is noted for the popular jingles on Black Entertainment Television and is also associated with the works of such musical giants as Bebe and CeCe Winans and Earth, Wind and Fire. …

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