Minor-League Athletes Face Major-League Pandemic Challenges

Minor-League Athletes Face Major-League Pandemic Challenges

Many minor-league athletes are having to rethink their professional dreams after the pandemic forced some semi-pro athletes to strategize their next steps during 2020, according to NBA G-League guard Malik Benlevi. 

“Luckily for me, I graduated from Georgia State so I’m not worried,” Benlevi said. “Even if I don’t make the pros, my other dream is to become a coach.”

According to GLeague.NBA.com, the annual salary for a G League is over $30,000 for a five-month regular season. The median salary of average US households was reported as $56,516 by the 2015 US Census.

‘As soon as I heard about Rudy Gobert first catching COVID, I knew they [would] cancel the league,’ Benlevi said.

Besides Benlevi, many college, semi-pro, and other athletes had to go through life without playing for a chance to earn a spot in a professional team. Every low tier athlete’s dream is to make the pros.

“As soon as I heard about Rudy Gobert first catching COVID, I knew they [would] cancel the league,” Benlevi said.

Ruby Gobert, center for the Utah Jazz, tested positive for COVID-19 in March of 2020. Gobert was the first major professional athlete in the U.S. to test positive. He and Benlevi both reside in Salt Lake City.

Minor-League Finances

Unlike top-tier professional athletes in the NBA or NFL, minor-league athletes like Benlevi usually have to live on a modest income.

“Luckily for me, during the season, I wasn’t spending a whole lot of money and I was saving it, once COVID happened, I was able to stay afloat and not have to struggle,” Benlevi said.

“No matter what happens to me, I’m just blessed to have a chance to play the sport I been playing since I was a child and get paid for it,” Benlevi said.

Not many athletes get the chance to get into the position Benlevi is in, so he chose to take advantage of every opportunity he received.

Semi-pro or pro athletes are appreciative of every chance they get to play the sport they love.

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