Bryce Harper, the number one pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, recently signed a $10 million contract with the Washington Nationals. At 17 years old, he will be the highest-paid position player prospect in the history of the game.
Harper is defined by his enormous power game, widely considered the best in a decade. In junior college ball, he hit a whopping .443, with 31 homeruns and 98 RBIs in just 66 games. Such dominance is rare in any sport. Only a few superstars, such as Sidney Crosby and LeBron James, have generated similar astronomical expectations before playing their first game as a pro.
In an article on Yahoo Sports, Jeff Passan talks about the risk Harper faces of becoming the LeBron James of Major League Baseball. Given his incredible talent and multi-million dollar bank account (before he even reaches 18), the hype about Harper will only grow with each day, as he inches closer to his projected 2014-15 MLB debut. His agent, Scott Boras, has already begun making moves necessary to build the "Harper Brand," starting with the last-minute, record-breaking contract he just brokered.
LeBron vaulted to stardom as "the Chosen One," but did his experience cause him to lose sight of why he plays the game? Based on his comments on "The Decision," he seems to believes that the world is privileged to "witness" his "talent," instead of being thankful for his athletic gifts and luxurious lifestyle they have provided.
Harper needs to insulate himself from the grandiose expectations surrounding him and focus on why he plays the game. All athletes can benefit from this attitude. Maintaining a level head helps you strive to achieve your goals and continuously improve, without succumbing either to the pangs of adversity or the temptations of success.
Source: Jeff Passan, sports.yahoo.com
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