Monday, April 29, 2013
Shane Larkin aims to keep making his own name
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Barry Larkin signed contracts worth more than $75 million during a playing career that gained him entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Shane Larkin has signed contracts worth $0.
Soon, that will change, with the now-former Miami Hurricanes point guard having declared himself eligible for the NBA draft and skipping his final two years of collegiate eligibility. He's meeting with agents in New York this week, plans to sign with one as quickly as possible and will then start figuring out his pre-draft plans that could include everything from private workouts with teams to potential endorsement deals.
And while he's never had to want for anything -- part of the perks of having a father who played his way into fame, fortune and Cooperstown -- Shane Larkin said money was one of the factors in his decision-making process about whether the time was right to go pro now. In short, he never wanted to totally rely on his father's money, and cannot wait to start making his own.
"I've always wanted to have my own money," Larkin said. "Some people jump early because they need that money for their family. That's not my situation. But I don't want to keep asking my dad every time I want a pair of new Jordans."
There were countless other factors as well, including some that had him leaning toward returning to Miami for at least one more year. But when he realized that many people in the NBA think he has a shot of getting drafted in the first round, everything started tipping in favor of going pro. Even if he gets drafted at No. 30, he'd be in line to make at least $880,600 next season.
Not bad, considering he was getting by on $1,775 a month at Miami.
"People always say it's not about the money," Larkin said. "I didn't get everything I wanted when I wanted it. When I was a little child and my dad was playing, that's one thing. He retired when I was like 10 years old, so after that it's, you get all A's on your report card and you might get what you want. I've had to work for everything."
One tip he said he learned from his father: Frugality.
"He wears Sketchers," Larkin said. "He's always been down to earth. He spends money on fishing poles, his boat and if his car needs something. He's just an old-school guy."
Some major NBA agents are trying to land Larkin, which speaks well for his potential earning ability, both on and off the floor. Endorsement offers will surely come his way, and Larkin already has a few in mind that he'd like to consider.
There's the standard stuff, like a shoe deal, on his wish list. There's also one most people wouldn't expect.
"Hair products," Larkin said, running a hand through his trademark short curls. "My dad and I talked about that."
It was not all about money, of course. Larkin came to college with doubters that a 5-foot-11 guard -- and he truthfully might not be exactly that tall -- could play well in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and more doubters that he could win at Miami.
The Hurricanes won 29 games this season, plus the ACC regular-season and conference titles. Larkin was selected as the league's best player by the coaches. And before every game, he reminded himself of those doubters, most of whom are people he will never meet.
"A blind tweet from a doubter, I'm even going to remember that," Larkin said. "I have a good memory. I remember faces, tweets, the date, the time, all that. I screen-shot all that. Before games, I'm always on my phone. People think I'm texting. I'm just looking at all those tweets. I look at them and I get the mentality that I'm going to show everybody, whoever it was, that they're wrong."
When he announced the decision on Sunday that he was going pro, Larkin spent several minutes talking about those doubters.
He expects to hear more from them as he gets ready for the NBA draft. In fact, he's almost hoping to hear more from them. And even though he called it heartbreaking to leave the Hurricanes, he's convinced the time is right.
"Everybody's dream is to play at the next level," said Larkin, who plans to continue pursuing his degree online after this semester ends. "People aren't going to admit it, but that's why we go to college. Most people go to college to get an education. That's their dream, become a doctor, become a lawyer. Basketball players, athletes, they want to play pro. That's what it came down to. Education, my degree, it'll be nice to have later. Right now, my dream is right here, within reach. So I'm going for it."