Twenty year old Jarrett Allen, a rookie on the Brooklyn Nets, has been excited about computers and math since he was a little boy. When he was in high school he built a computer (which he still uses). Basketball is his primary focus these days, and he has made a good impression on the court in his early days as a Net. But he spends time off the court tinkering with his computer and designing ways to help young people appreciate the importance of math. A recent example: he took a group of 25 Brooklyn school children to a supermarket, gave them each a grocery list, a calculator (branded with his name and Nets number) and a $100, and challenged them to fill their carts and stay on budget. “Math is the future”, he believes, and this belief has motivated him to develop a creative way for children to improve their math skills.
His father Leonard Allen played college and professional basketball, and was determined not to have his two sons’ lives revolve around basketball, as his did. So Jarrett Allen didn’t play for AAU travel team basketball in middle school, or even think about playing in college or professionally until he was a high school sophomore. This gave him plenty of time to spend pursuing his other interests, like math and computers.
You can read more about Allen in this recent NY Times article, which describes him as the “old soul” of the team. Share the article with your sons (and daughters), and talk with them about this interesting young man (Did I mention he hasn’t cut his hair in 5 years and has a huge ‘fro?) who clearly enjoys dancing to the beat of his own drum and fully appreciates that there is a world and a life outside basketball. Good for him!