Maybe Pro Athletes Really Aren’t Jerks 714.5

I never heard of Kim Hughes until I was sent a link to a story written in newspaper from Racine, Wisconsin.

What I learned was that Hughes, a 6-foot-11 giant of a man, was half of a set of identical twins who played basketball for the University of Wisconsin. He was also an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers for seven years, ending in 2010 with a short stint as interim head coach.

Hughes snuck into the news because he “ratted out” former players Corey Maggette, Marko Jaric, Chris Kaman, and Elton Brand by telling a reporter about an event the players didn’t want to talk about.

Perhaps they were concerned the story would change the image of NBA stars. More likely it’s just what Hughes said: “They didn’t want publicity for an act they thought was simply the right thing to do.”

This story really isn’t about Hughes; it’s about the four players who quietly chipped in to pay nearly $70,000 in medical bills for his 2004 cancer treatment after team management refused to pay. I don’t know whether this decision was justified or not. I do know that the quiet act of generosity of a quartet of players refutes the stereotype of pro athletes.

Hughes said, “You can have all the money, all the success, all that stuff, all those so-called important things in life, but in the end, you’re judged by what you did for your fellow man. Corey will always be an important part of my life. What he and those other guys did for me put things in perspective.”

Undoubtedly, some pro athletes are jerks, but this is pretty solid evidence that there are also some pretty decent fellows – probably a lot more than we think.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 4

  1. We need more stories like this to counter all the negative things we hear about pro athletes. The media will almost always print the negatives, because they’re unusual and, quite frankly, they sell!
    The sad thing is that after awhile, the unusual becomes usual. Athletes read these stories and think that’s the way THEY should behave. Would-be athletes read them and think that’s the way to get “noticed”. Fans read them and, whether they approve or not, come to accept them as “normal” behavior.
    So long as being a jerk is rewarded more than being a good person, many people will be jerks. We need to steadily remind the public that good people ARE in professional athletics; you CAN succeed and be a “nice guy”.

  2. It is extremely heartening to note that there are still unsung heros who believe in giving, not accepting anything in return and truely follow the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ “when you give do not let your left hand know what is given by the right hand”
    May God Bless these four gentlemen and may their tribe increase. Amen.

  3. Having knowen may pro athletes, this happens more often than is published. Unfortuanly the pro athletes get more press for bad stuff they do than all the good work that they do and put time into. It is a great thing what these players did and I am glad the good press got out. Take time to go around and with or be a pro player and really wathc how much good most of them do tha goes unpublished or talked about.

  4. Unfortunately this article says more about the owner of the Clippers who happily posts pictures touting his philanthropy in the Los Angeles newspapers than it does about the 4 players who quietly paid for the cancer treatment.
    Perhaps this also explains why 3 of the 4 mentioned in your article no longer play for this owner.
    I might add that the $70,000 cost would be less than what the owner spends in a typical week in LA Times ad space.

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