The truth is, I already dwelled on this subject matter in an early episode of The SWAB (Sports World And Beyond) on YouTube with University of the East women’s basketball head coach Ai Lebornio.
Was it being prophetic, or was it just a matter of time that the situation I was referring to would emerge again?
I guess the latter, since the news of the sad plight of former PBA player Terry Saldana came out. He is suffering badly from diabetes, among others, with his photo online showing both of his legs swollen and with open wounds, eliciting a lot of sympathy from the public.
He is a familiar name for old school basketball fans, particularly Toyota, where he made his debut in the early 1980s, before becoming a journeyman in a 17-year career as a professional.
Terry is presently confined at the J.P. Rizal Hospital in Calamba, where he is undergoing treatment, with doctors hoping there would be no need for amputation.
A lot of former PBA players, fans and the PBA itself have been extending help to Terry, who has been living in poverty for the past years.
The truth is, it is not just Terry who has fallen on hard times. There are a lot more and not just from the PBA. The local boxing world definitely has a lot of similar sad stories about ex-boxers suffering the same plight.
The NBA, too, has had its share with former Mavericks player Delonte West being one of the latest. He was found homeless on a street curb, and Dallas owner Mark Cuban gave him another chance in life, paying for his rehab.
The list is endless and when we did that sports vlog, Ai and I, together with co-host Vivid Gueco, pinpointed the possible causes of such situations that I guarantee will continue to see, unless athletes start planning better for their post-playing years.
Players who suddenly strike it big, mentally and emotionally unprepared for such a drastic change in life, start living big, and are focused only on the now and not for what happens when the big bucks stop coming.
This is particularly true for PBA players in the early years, because this has changed somewhat in the present, with more players investing in their future, with the help of financial advisers.
Players then were buying expensive cars and watches, big houses, and other things of luxury, only to end up selling them in their old age.
One problem, too, is a player’s pride that makes him continue pretending he is still making the same amount of money in his heydays, thereby living beyond his means.
Some make bad investments, falling victim to scams, or going into something they know nothing about and ending up with a failed business.
A lot of young players, enticed by the opportunity to make money, fail to finish their education, and have no fallback positions after their playing years.
But for me, the biggest factor remains to be vices, whether it is drugs, booze, women, gambling, or what have you. The result is the same, it drains the player financially, mentally, and emotionally.
How many big names in the PBA have we seen, heard of, and read about, who fell victims to vices? I will not name names, but I am sure any basketball fan would know of one or two.
Now, if these are the causes, then the solutions can also be found in them, planning for the future with good investments and professional advisers, finishing one’s education, living within one’s means, and most of all avoiding vices.
The problem, though, is it’s easier said than done, but hopefully, with the recent case of Terry still fresh, the current crop of players and athletes take notice of this.
And that is the bottom line.