Victor Oladipo, Maurice Harkless, and Romero Osby were just three of the 50-odd young NBA players to attend the NBA's Rookie Transition Program in New York. Over three days, those Orlando Magic prospects and other attendees learned important lessons about managing their money, involving themselves in their community, avoiding illegal substances, and working hard to ensure a long NBA career, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.
The Magic made Oladipo the second pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, and the Indiana product described the Rookie Transition Program as "an amazing experience," Zillgitt says. As a result of the program, Oladipo is already "thinking about how he will contribute" philanthropically.
Harkless, for his part, already has a year of NBA experience, but he missed the Rookie Transition Program in his first season due to surgery he had to address a sports hernia. That's why he attended the 2013 event.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com spoke to Harkless, who benefitted his own mini Rookie Transition Program, of sorts, with J.J. Redick before Orlando traded Redick to the Milwaukee Bucks in February. From Schuhmann's story:
"The first couple of weeks into the preseason,” Harkless said, “J.J. sat down all the rookies individually and talked to them about finances, how important it is to save, make the right decisions with your money, don’t give anyone power of attorney and stuff like that.”
Redick isn't in Orlando anymore, but it sounds like the talk that he had with the Magic's 2012 rookies made a real impression on them. Indeed, that anecdote in Schuhmann's story helps to illustrate the value of having positive influences in a young locker room, even for a rebuilding team.
Friday night, Osby tweeted that he "was blessed to be named mvp of my team" at the camp. The Magic's second-round Draft choice remains unsigned.