The NBA’s Modern Elder.

June 11, 2021

The NBA’s Modern Elder.

May 29, 2023

My experience as the "modern elder" at Airbnb taught me that the generations have so much to learn from each other. Often, it’s the lived experience, EQ, and holistic thinking that can help a brilliant, young talent navigate the obstacle course of their early careers.

What if professional tennis paired stars like Naomi Osaka with seasoned vets like Chris Evert to process what it means to become a household word overnight? What if we matched digital advertising whiz kids with older writers from Madison Avenue as Gary Vaynerchuk suggested in my conversation with him? What if Iman mentored young fashion models or Bill Gates young software developers?

For those of you who think this isn’t realistic, let me introduce you to the Miami Heat who recently got knocked out of the NBA playoffs. At 40 years old, Udonis Haslem makes $2.5 million a season to play for the Heat, yet has played just 15 games in the past three years. He played 3 whole minutes this season. That’s $833,333 per minute!!!!!! What a waste, right? Send Udonis out to the NBA old folks home!

Yet, the team deeply values his role as a mentor, culture-creator, and a stable presence for the younger players as evidenced by this recent article. As one former player says about Udonis, "You're undervaluing seat belts in a really expensive Ferrari. Nobody ever cares that there's seatbelts in a Ferrari, but Udonis Haslem is the seatbelt — if anything goes wrong, he locks them up.”

Maybe we need more OG’s (Original Gangsters) in professions that skew young? What are some professions that could use a little more wisdom?

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