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.