Can athletes be role models?

Mazie Carpentier

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Imagine you are five-years-old and picking up a basketball for the first time. As far back as you can remember, your parents have told you about stars like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. You look up to these people and share a passion with them. It leaves people questioning: can athletes be role models in the sports world? 

The definition of a role model is a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated. Accurate role models demonstrate their commitment to the desired goal and are willing to invest the necessary time and effort to achieve success. 

When becoming an athlete, you sign up for whatever may come to you. “Athletes are expected to embody values in the performance of their sport,” says Professor Durbin of USC. This means that signing up to become a professional athlete comes with a high level of responsibility and compassion for the people that look up to you. 

Sports set many values. Being a part of a team and putting forth the effort to do your best for the team is huge. The struggle also shows character. It shows that, in some cases, sports can tear you down, but how you build yourself back up and charge forward shows who you are as a person and player. 

A huge reason that athletes are looked up to is that they have fun. Learning becomes natural and easy when you play a sport and enjoy it. When children see their role models having fun, it encourages them to try and do the same thing. Children can quickly learn these new abilities and incorporate them into their lives. 

Lebron James is an excellent example of a role model. He steps up outside his role as an athlete to be someone the people love. He shared these words on the topic, “Once you become a professional athlete or once you do anything well, then you’re automatically a role model. I have no problem being a role model. I love it. I have kids looking up to me, and hopefully, I inspire these kids to do good things.” 

In the end, yes, athletes can be role models. I believe they are great examples of the best role models. Achieving your sports goals can easily be accomplished with the guidance of an athlete.