Big league charity – Stats lacking on athletes’ giving

Overshadowed by high-tech philanthropists, professional athletes support charity in relative obscurity, the Business Journal of San Jose reports. 

Last year in the Bay area, Golden State Warriors’ Mookie Blaylock drew a salary nearly 10 times the base salary of Intel CEO Craig Barrett, Silicon Valley’s highest-paid executive.

A lack of consolidated records, combined with athletes’ reluctance to spotlight their charity, makes it tough to determine how much sports stars give, the weekly newspaper says. 

It found that sports stars contribute both time and money. 

For example, Jeff Kent of the San Francisco Giants gives $500 to women’s sports scholarships at his alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, each time he bats a run.

Sports stars often find their time is more valuable than money, the Journal says.

Pro athletes who participate in fundraising events attract donors and raise contributions. 

A growing number of athletes have established their own charitable foundations, the Journal says.

The Giving Back Fund, which creates and manages celebrity foundations, says it manages $3 million in assets for 25 sports stars. 

Some claim athletes don’t give enough. Like high-tech’s new multimillionaires, pro athletes are often seen as selfish and greedy.  

Jim Plunkett, a Heisman Trophy winner and dedicated philanthropist, says pro athletes need to grow into philanthropy.

“What makes a good player is selfishness in work,” he said. “As players get older and more mature, there are more who will probably give.”

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