According to Basketball Reference, Richard “Rip” Hamilton collected more than $109 million during his long NBA career, but he says that he may have put it off for a year if he made some money while playing in college. Hamilton, who left UConn after his junior season, is attending the “Sportscaster U” program at Syracuse University this week, and spoke with the Post-Standard about paying college players and the Ed O’Bannon trial.
“I would have stayed in school,” Hamilton said. “I think so, I think so. For me it was about timing but also financial situation. It was a chance to take care of the people that took care of you your entire life. Sometimes when you’re in college, you can’t do the stuff you want to do for financial reasons. If you have people helping you out or the NCAA helping you out, I think guys would think twice about going to the NBA. (If you’re getting paid) a lot of needs, not wants, but their needs, are taken care of.”
While many would still jump at the chance to make millions in the NBA or NFL, paying some kind of stipend would probably curb athletes, especially basketball players, from making a rash decision in jumping early. Many early entrants wind up going late in the draft or wind up going undrafted and play overseas. If playing college ball can help curb the financial needs of their family, and they enjoy the college lifestyle, a stipend could really help keep many players in school, as Hamilton says.