May 21, 2012, 11:02 AM EDT
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.
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