When you think of professional athletes, what's the first words that come to your mind? Stud? Beast? Athletic? Cocky? Rich? Charities? Compassion? Poetry? Sound about right? The average fan watches the game, cheers for their favorite players and goes home. Most of the world is just the average fan. Though sometimes fans get lucky and they get to interact with a player or a player puts himself out on the world's stage for everyone to see, then you truly get to see what makes up a professional athlete.
You may still be questioning my list of characteristics from the start, they don't always fit for every athlete. I do know one athlete who takes the last three; charities, compassion, poetry, and found a way to weave them throughout his entire career. Adonal Foyle. After 13 seasons, Adonal has officially announced his retirement
. Everyone has been waiting for this announcement over the past year, but now that it has occurred it feels like the Magic family is losing a piece to a puzzle that may never be replaced.
Adonal attended Colgate University, then was drafted 8th overall in the 1997 draft. He then spent 10 years with the Golden State Warriors, in 2007 he was signed by the Orlando Magic, had a quick stint with the Memphis Grizzlies in one of those funky trade and resign deals, then finished off his career as an AMAZING boy in blue. Given his past three seasons, which have been riddled with a knee injury, his final career statistics are respectable; 4.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 1.6 bpg. Adonal currently holds the vice president position of the NBA Players' Association, which he will be stepping down from due to his retirement.
Statistics cannot even begin to personify what Adonal Foyle means to not just the NBA, but the world. In 2005 Adonal began the Kerosene Lamp Foundation
, which promotes education and athletics in the Caribbean. To date KLF has helped over 2,500 children. The LadyBallers have been fortunate enough to have interacted with Adonal over the past year or so, his charity events are always a hit and he is always so grateful to everyone who comes out with support. He is also the first one to help when it comes to charities no matter what they are for. As if this man's NBA career needed another dynamic, he also writes poetry. In his retirement he wrote a goodbye poem to the game of basketball, you can find a full list of Adonal's works here
Love Song to a Game
How should I tell thee goodbye?
What can you say about a love affair to rival that of Romeo & Juliet? This is not just some melancholy ode to a hackneyed love of mortals.
I found our love deep in the entrails of the Caribbean Sea. Love that swept me to a land where our embrace became mythical.
You showed me a world that few have dreamt of.
Colgate's golden steeple, a sojurn where ancient teachings flooded my mind.
There in the Chenango Valley where 13 sang my soul to flight, basketball laid siege to my soul.
I do not cry for the passing of our love for it stands radiant while my brittle bones crumble through swift time.
I have known you by so many faces; I will spend my end of days recalling.
You have infected so many with the allure of riches and black gold. But I am not angry with you my love. For to a boy who was lost in the bosom of nothing you gave hope and home.
Like the flickering of a light we come and go without much fuss. So I leave you to fend off seekers, hoping they too will cherish your unyielding countenance.
As for me, I will forever live in the glare of your loving embrace. From time to time I hope you will look in on this pitiful fool.
I will miss brothers of a quilt struggling with burning lights. If I offer advice, pierce beyond the glaring lights and see the faces behind the wall. Don't be fooled by the magicians' nibble fingers. For this is a life with mirrors and screens. Its only truth lies in the understanding it will all end.
The sound I will take home is the symphony of thousands of screaming friends.
Warriors, Magic and yes, Memphis too, I sing you praise, hope, blessings,
Flowing from a boy's songs of thanks to you and you and you,to all I knew.
Please stay my "immortal love."
The only way to sum up Adonal's career is to say that he will be greatly missed
. But knowing him he will probably remain a huge part of the communities in which he supports, I can't wait to see him in the streets and just thank him for everything he has done. So yes, it is possible for a professional athlete to be compassionate, write poetry, do charity work and be a stud all at the same time.
So on behalf of the LadyBallers, Adonal thank you for all you do and you will be greatly missed!
*Adonal Magic picture courtesy of www.westorlandonews.com