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Former California one-and-done star Shareef Abdur-Rahim graduates with degree

May 21, 2012, 11:02 AM EDT

ShareefAbdurRahim Getty Images

The old adage is, “Stay in school, young man,” but what if you’re presented with an opportunity to make enough money to support your family?

That was the decision faced by former NBA forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim after his freshman season at California in 1996.

He chose to go pro, but would return to school throughout his professional career and more so when he retired, culminating in his graduation this weekend.

Abdur-Rahim will graduate with a 3.8 GPA and a degree in sociology.

Though his case may be one of the exceptions to the general understanding of the one-and-done rule, it goes to prove a point. Sometimes players need to seize on the opportunities in front of them and return to their education later.

In his one season at California, Abdur-Rahim averaged 21.1 points per game, going on to be selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies with the 3rd overall pick in the 1996 draft.

During his NBA career with four teams, he averaged 18.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Check out the video package put together by Cal Athletics below:

(h/t Jeff Eisenberg, Yahoo)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

  1. rajbais - May 21, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    A 3.8 GPA and degree in sociology is a bullcrap education!!!!

    You can’t get a good job with that degree and this shows why a “free education” as compensation from the NCAA id terrible!!!!

    The return on Abdur-Rahim’s degree is worth mouse manure compared to the commitment that he gave to his school!!!

    I don’t care if people hate that I ruin this phony “warmhearted story”, but he’ll be more likely to broke even with his degree!!!!

  2. imforbigblue - May 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    dude dont hate that guy made more money in the nba in one year than youll make at your job in 20 years. if he was smart he still has some nba money so he wont need that degree

  3. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - May 21, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Impressed by his dedication and continuation of his studies. Good that he as his NBA money to support.

    This story only illustrates why it is essential that if a top pick then the money is too good to pass up.

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