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Oregon State’s Joe Burton eyes potential motivational speaking career

joe burton

Oregon State senior forward Joe Burton will graduate from the school in June after a four-year career and over 1,000 points scored.

But although many college players with such a pedigree look to play professional basketball after their careers end -- as Burton will also do -- Burton’s mother said that he could also go the route of motivational speaker.

“He would like to play professionally whether it be here in the United States or overseas,” his mother, Dondi Silvas, said by phone this week. While finishing school, he is playing for the Salem Sabres in the International Basketball League, a professional men’s spring basketball league, she said.

She said he also wants to give back to the native community by becoming a motivational speaker at some point. Raised on the Soboba Reservation, Burton and his family moved to Hemet so he could play basketball for West Valley High School.

Burton’s situation is unique for a prominent college basketball player as he was raised on the Soboba Reservation and not many Division I players have spent time growing up on a reservation.

Also featured in George Dohrmann’s Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine, Burton’s career from high school through college has been well-documented and playing for Craig Robinson --the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama --should also give Burton some unique experiences that he can share in his motivational speaking.

Burton began his community service to the Native American community during college, so this would be a natural extension of his previous work, which included the encouragement of Native Americans to participate in sports through Nike’s N7 program. Oregon State’s graduation ceremonies take place on June 15th, where Burton plans on graduating with a degree in ethic studies.