Millennials: New School Athletes

For this entry, I wanted to talk to someone who has been invested in sports their whole life. Our generation has evolved so much, and in some ways sports have too. Why is this and what limits do millennial athletes face today?

Orin Porter Jr. (@orinporter) was gifted with basketball talents out the womb and has made a statement on every team he has been a part of. Orin is currently playing at Lethbridge College in Alberta, Canada and his plans for the future involve playing basketball over seas. He’s also my annoying ass bother!

Orin Porter playing for Lethbridge College in 2018

Kira: How is our generation (millennials) of athletes different from past generations?

Orin: First thing I would say is, with my coach’s style of play he likes to enforce an old school way of playing basketball on us. But our generation of millennial basketball players don’t necessarily like the style that he’s trying to enforce. The old school style of basketball play is much more physical. There’s more hard cutting to the basket, more play at the rim and it is just overall grittier. By gritty I mean when rebounding for a ball, old generation players are going to have the whole team going for the rebound.

Kira: So old basketball play is more about being aggressive and less about showing off.

Orin: Yeah less show off too. There wasn’t so much focused media attention and outlets back then. Nowadays, millennials don’t wanna be embarrassed getting crossed up, or they want to be flashy and what not. On our team, bringing an old school culture of play with a new culture of guys, it doesn’t really combine whatsoever. Ha.

Kira: That’s interesting. Do you think that athletes in our generation have a harder time focusing at practice or being all in? There is a stereotype about millennials now that we have a shorter attention span.

Orin: I have never heard of that but I don’t think its true.

Kira: I only ask this because there are so many distractions for millennials nowadays that are just waiting for us at the tips of our fingers.

Orin: Not me personally, but I do think that is possible for sure. Who doesn’t have an iphone or Instagram or some sort of social media outlet. I do know that a majority of kids (millennials) can’t just turn off their phones or put it away when they are really supposed to. It also does bring in other distractions that can affect their everyday. Like confrontation and drama. But social media can also help a person tremendously.

Orin playing for Incline High School in 2014

Kira: Why do you think our generation is known for being lazy? And do you think that’s translates to the way that we play in practice? Because there are so many ways for us to cut corners today.

Orin: I think its 50/50. There are kids who do cut corners but there are other kids who just seem lazy, and are actually using sports as an outlet. So their acts of being lazy may show through other aspects of life, but you do have kids (millennials) who are invested 100% in their sport. There are always going to be people who are lazier than others.

Kira: I feel like in the past, generations have gone through more adversity when it comes to sports. Like blacks and women struggled to have the opportunity to play sports professionally or at school. Does this set us (millennials) apart from past generations of athletes?

Orin: Yeah I really do think so actually. Because that comes with the change in style of play now. Like in football, if you hit a guy the wrong way, it’s a penalty. Back then it was just playing, and it was more raw. Now we are just flaunting our sport because older generations already put a stamp on it. Millennials are just trying to make the sport look cool sometimes.

Kira: Speaking of flashy, why do you think sports go hand in hand with fashion and being flashy? For example, people love to see what athletes are wearing pregame when they are walking into the gym. Why has this part of sports become such a big deal?

Orin committing to Lethbridge College in 2017

Orin: I think that’s also due to the growth of technology and sharing in social media. It’s crazy with basketball, baseball, football and across all sports. People love to see what athletes are doing on a daily basis. Allen Iverson was one of the first people to wear whatever the fuck he wanted. He broke the norm and set a fashion tone.

Kira: Love him (Allen Iverson). Isn’t he broke now?

Orin: No

Kira: Like rich people broke

Orin: Oh… Yeah.

New school players like millennials seem to be very different from past generations of athletes. We like the attention that comes with the sport, but we have also changed the ways that sports are being played. But as long as technology doesn’t become too much of a distraction, you will never be able to take the passion and drive out of an athlete.

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