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check two
07-03-2010, 11:05 PM
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Amid the ceaseless acquisitive frenzy that is NBA free agency, the Boston Globe dropped a harrowing profile of Ray Williams, a former captain of the New York Knicks and a reserve guard on the Boston Celtics' 1985 NBA Finals team who played for six teams during a 10-year NBA career from the late '70s through the mid-'80s. Williams' name might not ring out with today's fans, but he averaged 20 points per game in two different seasons (1979-80 and 1981-82), hung 52 on the Detroit Pistons as a member of the New Jersey Nets on April 17, 1982, and once drew (admittedly aspirational) comparisons to the great Walt Frazier.

Now, writes the Globe's Bob Hohler, he's homeless.

Every night at bedtime, former Celtic Ray Williams locks the doors of his home: a broken-down 1992 Buick, rusting on a back street where he ran out of everything.

The 10-year NBA veteran formerly known as "Sugar Ray'' leans back in the driver's seat, drapes his legs over the center console, and rests his head on a pillow of tattered towels. He tunes his boom box to gospel music, closes his eyes, and wonders.
Williams, a generation removed from staying in first-class hotels with Larry Bird and Co. in their drive to the 1985 NBA Finals, mostly wonders how much more he can bear.

The most sobering thing about Hohler's piece? Williams' decline into unemployment, poverty and homelessness appears to have just kind of ... happened.

Williams, a former University of Minnesota standout who averaged 15.5 points and nearly six assists per game during his time in the league, adamantly tells Hohler that he's "never fallen prey to drugs, alcohol, or gambling," and he's never been arrested, so it's not like he's some shiftless sociopath whom we can easily vilify. According to the feature, there wasn't one key traumatic event that keyed Williams' downfall, with one possible exception already down on his luck, Williams received a grant from the NBA Legends Foundation, which provides need-based assistance to people who have been involved in the pro game. But according to court records, Hohler writes, "he lost the money ... when the widow of a condominium owner who agreed to a lease-to-own contract with Williams opted out of the contract after the owner died." Which sounds like a horrendously bad break that exacerbated an already ugly situation.

It doesn't sound like a case of over-the-top avarice, either; while Hohler notes that Williams was "no longer able to sustain his NBA lifestyle" when he first filed for bankruptcy in 1994, he doesn't mention any particularly conspicuous consumption or extravagant expenditures. As the story goes, Williams just hasn't been able to hang on to any of a slew of off-court jobs over the course of the 23 years since he retired in 1987. Now, he's got nothing except the '92 Buick he sleeps in and a '97 Chevy Tahoe that he can't get out of hock.

There's no prime mover behind the disintegration, no obvious flaw in the system against which to rage. Like any story of slipping through the cracks in American society, that makes it harder to digest, compartmentalize and set aside.

Maybe NBA players of today, who make exponentially more money than their predecessors before ever stepping on the court, do owe a fiscal debt to the players who came before; then again, maybe Williams bears the blame because he blew the roughly $2 million he made in contracts during his career. Maybe Williams' family, former friends and associates merit some scorn for allowing him to live alone in a car in Florida; then again, maybe they've all had to distance themselves from Williams after 20-plus years of never getting his stuff together and failing to repay repeated loans, favors and kindnesses.

Maybe agencies like the Legends Foundation and the NBA Retired Players Association need to do more to help people like Williams; then again, maybe they've already done enough, having given him grants totaling more than $12,000. Maybe his coaches, teachers and mentors failed him, setting him to serve as one more awful example of how, when it comes to young basketball players, the only training and skill development that anybody really cares about takes place on the hardwood. Then again, maybe "Society's to blame" is a red herring that divests the downtrodden of personal responsibility.

Whichever way your sympathies run, the story of how Ray Williams' life fell apart should serve as a cautionary tale for athletes of the imperative to prepare for life after the game and, frankly, a jarring reminder to all of us that we should appreciate what we're lucky enough to have while we're lucky enough to have it.

-sports.yahoo.com

IrOnMaN
07-05-2010, 01:52 PM
WOW! That's awful. This is what happens when one isn't careful about his/her money.

Olive Oil Goombah
07-05-2010, 04:20 PM
yea, a fool and his money are soon parted.

He made over 2 million in his basketball career and has nothing to show for it, not even a house? Just a couple of cars.


Property, property, property. Fuck a car. A car is the last investment i'd tell anyone to make.

CharlesJones
07-17-2010, 12:32 PM
How come these former 70's NBA players didn't receive a retirement check? They should've gotten a check when they quit playing. I think the NBA not too long ago just put together a retirement fund for former NBA players from the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's. It's messed up that this former Knicks player ya'll posted the article about is homeless but it's his fault that he didn't save his money and he didn't have a plan for how he was gonna take care of himself financially when he quit playing. Isn't former player Antoine Walker having financial problems? It's sad that so many of these black NBA players don't have a clue about saving money and spending money wisely. When they have financial problems, it's their fault because they're terrible with money because so many of them come from the ghetto and they've never had a lot of money. So when they get a lot of money, they don't know how to act and their parents have never taught them about saving money.



I used to be the same way when i first got some credit cards and i ended up filing for bankruptcy in 1999 because i was stupid and i didn't have a steady job so i could pay all my credit card bills. I was poor at the time so i was like a kid at a candy store when i got my credit cards because i wanted to buy a bunch of stuff that i couldn't afford to pay for with cash. But now i have just one credit card and i pay my bill on time and i never spend all the money on the credit card.

check two
07-17-2010, 12:41 PM
Why should a sports player that makes millions of dollars get a retirement fund? lol If they had more than a middle school education, and had any common sense, they would be set for life, even if they just had a short career. They care more about tattoos, rims, strippers, escalades, several houses, bad business and real estate deals, bad hair cuts, etc.

CharlesJones
07-17-2010, 01:14 PM
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. You're so funny but you're telling the truth. But i still think that former athletes should be getting a retirement check just like people who retire from working regular jobs.

Tommy
07-17-2010, 02:22 PM
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. You're so funny but you're telling the truth. But i still think that former athletes should be getting a retirement check just like people who retire from working regular jobs.

So they should be given a retirement check on top of the vast fortune they already aquired? At the end of the day, regardless of how upsetting it is, the only person he has to blame is himself. He may or may not have got involved in drugs, but how do you blow $2 million that quickly without overindulging. It happens all the times with boxers and I'm sure Ray Williams isn't the only basketball player from the 60s-80s to blow a huge amount of money, because, like CJ said, they come from shitty backgrounds with minimal education on how to provide for yourself.

Then again, some of the blame has to go to the people around him who were "looking after his interests" as they should have helped steer him in the right direction financially. But, what can you do?

FrenchShin
07-18-2010, 08:21 AM
Why should a sports player that makes millions of dollars get a retirement fund? lol If they had more than a middle school education, and had any common sense, they would be set for life, even if they just had a short career. They care more about tattoos, rims, strippers, escalades, several houses, bad business and real estate deals, bad hair cuts, etc.

nothing but the truth.

DeeBlock
09-14-2010, 01:16 AM
whoa. sad.

THE W
10-22-2010, 08:55 PM
S.Y.M.

Save
Your
Money

just because you have the money to get something doesnt mean you should get it.