What To Do If Your Parents Don’t Support Your Basketball Dreams

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“If you want to play basketball so much, join a men’s league or something!”

August 2004. I had just come home to Philadelphia from college after graduating that May, and spending time in Altoona afterwards playing in leagues, working out and attending tryouts of some minor league clubs in the area. A couple days after moving back into the bedroom I had grew up in, my parents wanted to know what my life plans were. My mom made the above statement when I told her I planned on being a basketball player. This was after playing ball in college.

I know many of you may be younger and a few, older than the 22 years I had at the time of that story. But for what I’m going to discuss here, the principles, tips and plan apply across the board.

When you’re aiming to do something unorthodox and unusual — being a person that earns money playing a sport is, literally, a one-in-almost-a-million proposition — there will be strong opposition. Peers who don’t believe in you. Peers that see your potential but also see their own failures in looking at you, and wish to pull you down to their level. People that are further ahead than you and think you’ll never reach their level. People that know how long of a long shot your dreams are and just want to be “Realistic.” They will all show up on your path, if you’re on the path long enough.

But even all of that opposition dims in comparison to feeling the resistance of your own mother or father. They birthed you, clothed and raised you, and, if this is your situation, probably still provide for you. It’s easy to tell a schoolmate to fuck off when they’re trying to belittle you, but most of us can’t say that to our parents. Especially when we live in their house, eat food that they bought, and wear clothes that they paid for (and are reading this post on a computer or phone that they pay the bills for). For some of you, it’s like walking carefully through a land mine filled with bombs that could detonate if touched ever-so-slightly the wrong way.

How can you get your parents to see what you see and support you, or at the very least, let you do what you wish to do with your life?

Many of you, I theorize, have the same paradigm friction with your parents that I had. My mother’s idea of an ideal life (for her and for my sister & me) went something like this:

1. Study hard
2. Get very high marks in school
3. Graduate
4. Pursue higher learning (college/university)
5. Graduate from university

[I pretty much followed the plan to this point. My mother is an educator and (along with my dad) made sure her kids were well-read and intelligent. We had a ton of books in the house and my mom had us reading early. I was often the smartest kid in class through elementary school, before later discovering girls, sports, being bad in class and other general teenage-boy stuff. My sister went to the best high school in Philadelphia, an Ivy League university on a full scholarship, got a Master’s and is close to a PhD. So she followed the pan just a little better than I did.]

6. Get an even higher degree to increase your job options
7. Get a safe, secure job. Get a place to live, a nice car, and live happily ever after. Don’t take risks, especially financial ones. Evaluate your decisions based on how safe you will be in the aftermath.

Following this order of operations works for a lot of people. And that’s fine with me. But I always knew I was meant to do something other than the traditional, average life (it should be noted that my parents had two kids by age 22, while I am 30 with no children. Their children were the priority, while my priority was (is) myself). And your parents probably see a good plan for life as one that is pretty close to the path they themselves followed. If you mom or dad was a golf pro or football player, they could easily see your visions of being an athlete. But if your parent is a 9-to-5-er or 8-to-6er and only knows sports from TV and magazines, you may have to work a little harder to get their understanding.

What works when you are trying to relate to another person, whether it be a customer you’re selling a refrigerator to or your father, is that you can show them something from within their own frame if reference.

For example, I once trained a lawyer that wanted to improve his basketball skills. I asked him if, when having an initial conversation with a potential client, if his mind automatically started mapping out the options, based on his vast knowledge of the law. He said he definitely did do that. So, I told him, basketball players do the same thing. I told him I could tell how I would attack him in a game, just based on watching him dribble the ball for 15 seconds. The parallel was that we both unconsciously sized up situations quickly because we knew our respective fields well. That parallel made it easier for me to train his bball skills because he understood that his weaknesses were obvious to the trained eye, and in a competitive situation those weaknesses would be preyed on. We trained him on those exact weaknesses. And from the reference I made to his own work, he understood why we did things the way we did them.

The “Why” part of you playing basketball is easy for any dummy to relate to. Basketball is fun. It’s easy work relative to the “Real World”. You could make great money and be famous. We all know “Why”. What you need, to have your parents’ support and backing,is not to explain why you want to play. They know why. What you need to do is relate to their principles.

Your parents probably understand:

Hard work and Commitment. Are you really putting your full effort into it? Your parents go to work on 100 degree days and in the snow, when they’re sick and when they would rather be at the beach — they don’t get paid if they don’t show up. And if they don’t get paid you don’t eat. Are you showing up every day like it’s your job? Do you do what you’re supposed to do even when you hate your boss (coach)? Do you sulk if you didn’t get that promotion (playing time)? Your parents couldn’t sulk — they’d be fired. Do you pass on training when you don’t feel like it? How many bad days in a row will it take to break you? What’s you IQ (“I Quit”)?
A Person Serious About Their Work. If you’re serious you take yourself and your vocation seriously, and you demand others to do the same. Not in words. In actions. Do you go to bed early and get up early to train, or do you just do it “whenever”? “Whenever” is the term if a hobbyist. Your parents won’t support hobbies but for so long. Ask yourself, When are you practicing next? Where? With whom? Why? If you asked your parents those questions about their work, they would know. Do you know what you’re doing? If you’re serious you would.
A Plan of Action. You want to play basketball. How? When? Where? What, of the things you’re doing now, will help get you to where you’re going? Why do you need those shoes? What is this program for? Why does your parent need to pay for you to attend this camp? Is this a phase you’re going through or are you for real?

If your parents have been raising and taking care of you, they worked hard to do it. Your life depended on it, literally. Think about that. Is your commitment close to that level? Don’t say it –prove it.


  1. Hello Dre. I train 3 times a week, i want to train more (perhaps 5 times?). However, my mom won’t let me go play basketball more than 3 times. A couple of years ago she didn’t let me lose some extra kilograms as well. Whenever i play basketball, i feel and see the best of me, and i know that if i want to make it to the pros or NBA i need to work harder. To ensure that my parents are with me for this basketball journey, i promised i would graduate from College/University so i can continue to make a living after my career. The thing is, if i don’t work harder i might not make it to the NBA or other pro leagues. The basketball court is 5 minute walk away and is free (I live in Singapore). How can i convince my mom to let me play more.

    Extra info:

    4.0 GPA so grades are not a problem
    The court is free so money isn’t a problem
    My dad lets me play as much as i want, but he is mostly at work. My mom is a house wife so i usually have to ask her.
    I am from Pakistan, and the culture there doesn’t really give you freedom until 18. And by freedom i mean like going out of the house for groceries or to ball without asking.

    thank you Dre.

  2. Dre man, please help me. I put in all the work necessary to become a great player but lately my mom has been telling me it is not realistic and i have to stop training. She says i have to focus on school even though i have good grades. I am really in a tough situation because I live 20 minutes from the gym i go to plus she pays for the membership. How should I convince her to keep bringing me to the gym. By the way im 14 so i cant drive for two more years. Thank you

    • Go make some money and buy a buss pass. And you can pay for the membership too. I’ve covered money making on my podcast and on YouTube.

  3. my Parents are ok with my nba dreams but my brother and sister say that there are over 1mil people who want to be in the nba but i want to be a player so bad please help then he brings up my sister he says “she is getting all A’s and like what one B and what are u getting?i get 6 A’s and 3 B’s but idk please help Dre u might be my only hope he is making me work hard less (Motivation is going down)and when i brought home a ymca league he said who is this aproved by he wants me to change my career desicion

    • I have a lot of content for you re negative people around you (such as Bulletproof Mindset course @ DreAllDay.com/Bulletproof). Also 300+ motivation vids on YouTube.
      You need to help yourself now. I’ve created the materials, the rest is up to you.

  4. dre i just moved to a new city and i am trying out for college i am attending but my parents dont want me to play they want me to get a second job

    • Well can they stop you from doing it? What’s the worst that could happen if you try out anyway? If you can handle that worst (which probably won’t even happen anyway), do it.

  5. I’ve been playing basketball for a while now, but my parents want me to be home now cause it’s summer and watch my siblings but I need to be in the weight room and in the court but they say no I’m staying home. When it comes to school team I’m unfit and I’m not playing hard I am going up soft and just not fit and I can’t do this again this summer please I need your help??

  6. I live on an almost non basketball island in the UK but I really want to pla. Im 13 and have dreams of going to college in the US ao i can get closer to basketball. Im too afraid to tell my dad because he would just say, “talk to your mum”. So i told them to watch me play a game, they said i was good, the coaches think thy too an they talked to my mum about joining the u17 team when im 14. I asked her what she would say if i got inviited to play the rookie showcase and she said i would totally support you if you got the opportunity but before ou have yo go to college and practice so much and no academic time. Im top o my class so they say i have so much potential an want me to be a doctor. My mum also thinks its just about the money thats all she ever relates too. Its quite ironic she says you should play it because you like it and not for the money but she ALWAYS brings it back to money. I cant argue with her because i dont actually know if they play for money or for fun. If both of my parents say, “i will support you all the way to the NBA” training with myself would be so much better and not “for a hobby”

    • Ive already had a few talks but in the future how do i convince her? Im fully committed because i play outside in the rain for hours and thats all i think about. (The weather isnt good here on the island)

  7. I recently got in trouble with the law. playing college basketball is my dream and passion. My parent’s won’t let me go to the gym and are threatening to not let me play Varsity this year. I’m a junior this year and It’s my year to show scouts what I’m made of. If i can’t go to the gym I can’t put work in, what do I do? Also how can i convince my parent’s to let me play. Really in need of your help dre.

    • No one helped you get in trouble, did they? You knew what u were doing. You caused the issue by getting yourself if trouble, now you must deal with the consequences. If u want a second chance, communicate that with your parents. Offer something in return -- a promise of your own behavior or something similar that shows you’re serious about both bball and your off-court conduct.

  8. Dre, I have been training for my senior basketball season the whole summer because I want to play and help my team this upcoming season. Thing is I didn’t get the sat score my parents have been expecting. So my whole summer has been study during day time and basketball in the evening. Basketball is coming so how can I convince them to let me play , my grades are good. Thanks

  9. Hey Dre nice article.but i have a question my parents won’t let me practice with my friends.I had a talk with my dad and told him i wanted to become a basketball player and he told me it was impossible.What should i do

  10. Hey, Mr. Dre

    My mom has this thing in mind that basketball is just a hobby but basketball is my life, and my future,she wants me to be a foreign diplomat and i dont want that job man, i want to play ball , my whole family supports me and my decision except her….How do I convince a woman who doesnt change her mind or listen to anyone else…..

    • Long as you live under her — food, clothing, shelter, money — you have to follow the rules. Once you are independent you do what you wish. See my post about making money ideas and formulate a long term strategy for yourself. You wont be able to blame your parents forever.

  11. Well, i actually want to play basketball all the time, but there isn’t a gym in the town i live, so i need to play basketball at home, my parents aren’t against my dreams but they don’t look at hard work as i do, they think playing 1-2 hours is enough while i think 5-6 or even more is real hard work, so they won’t let me play because they say my ball makes too much noise, so what do i need to do right now? Please help me!!

    • Make efficient use of the time you are allowed. Help yourself by getting your work done and not complaining about your situation.

  12. i am SO glad i came about this post. i have a sports dream that ivcehad for the oongest time and i feel so so passionate about it, tennis. The thingis most people get advicelike it doesnt mater what people say , you just conebtrate on your training. MY problem is a bit different in terms of my parents not driving me to training, critisizing my very sport ability and allowing me to play mysport ONLY on the days they feel im going into depression -- sort of like leting the dog of the leash . how do i convince my parents to let me go everry single day and allow me to prove my commitment to my DREAM and my sport when they arent even willing to take thevery fact seriously that i even HAVE a dream

  13. So I have a problem, I do everything you wrote in this post, but my parents don’t support me. They don’t want me to play in any higher level than HS. I have an offer to play for the 18u team from my city and my state but they’re not even letting me practice with the team so I could improve my game. I also already have an offer to a pro team for after I turn 18, and I’m only 15. I’ve tried everything to convince them but nothing does it. I do really well in school, and I already told them I’m going to college like they want me to but they don’t let me play.

      • I already tried that but it didn’t work out at all. They just completely hate the fact that I play basketball and I don’t know why. They even scream at me because I’m sweaty when I get home from playing… They’re so obsessed with school it’s ridiculous, I’m already in the top of my class and I don’t know what else I could do about that. I got hit many times for just going to practice.

  14. I just want to ask you something. So if someone wants to be a basketball player just to be famous and rich, basically they will never be a pro basketball player. Like my son he is a good at basketball he puts the work in but I have no background in basketball and he is Indian and when watching pro basketball the game is dominated by athletes who are taller and gifted than him. Please help me out!

    • If your son wants to play basketball he should play. How old is he? Seems like he is still in his teens — he doesn’t need to worry about competing with the pros yet, he should focus on where he is now. Does he want to play professionally or do you want him to? Let him make his own journey and see where it takes him.

      • He is 15 and he does have the dream to play in the pros. Should he not have a Plan B? He says that plan b distract from plan a. He is been looking at videos on youtube hes like “I can be anything I want if i put in the workNIN “, do you believe that? Thanks dre, your the best!

        • If he wants i think he should go after whatever he wishes right now. he’s 15 — no need for a “plan A” or a “plan B” talk with a 15 year old kid. next year, maybe he changes his mind. he has time to decide what to do with his life.

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