Los Angeles Lakers center Tarik Black, who recently agreed to terms on a new deal with the team, took an unconventional route to the NBA, going undrafted out of Kansas in 2014. He was able to land a spot with the Houston Rockets, and eventually made his way to the Lakers, where he has become a dependable backup and fan-favorite.
This summer, Black signed a new two-year contract with the Lakers that could pay him $13 million over the next two years. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t considered to be one of the top 60 players in his draft class.
Despite his success, Black understands that his playing career will only last so long, and is already preparing for life after basketball. He attended the National Basketball Player’s Association Real Estate Symposium and spoke with NBPA Senior Multimedia Writer Jared Zwerling (the entire article is definitely worth a read) about why he has the foresight to be already preparing for his future:
“I took a [recruiting] visit to Georgetown and I met with John Thompson, and he had a philosophy,” he said. “He had a flat basketball on his desk, and he used to always tell his players, ‘This is representative of the basketball’s not going to bounce forever. It’s going to stop bouncing.’ What’s for certain is these programs are here, these opportunities are here. My thing is, I’m not really worried about making the money right now. I’d rather learn things now. Knowledge and wisdom, as the Bible says, is more valuable than diamonds and gold.”
Black, who has a Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership and is working on a Master’s in African-American studies, went on to state that he would eventually like to return to Memphis and do nonprofit work in the inner cities, while also following in his father’s footsteps by investing in real estate.
While the Lakers are certainly happy to have Black’s services on the court, his maturity off of it will also be an asset for a young team that will have to grow up fast next season.