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Monday, April 12, 2010



Anyone who has watched pro sport in the last thirty years know of a legendary guy nammed Tommy Hearns. "The Hitman"'s record of 61-5-1 is among the best ever and he banked around $40 million putting his health on the line. But like so many guys who grew up poor, he is now broke.

  Tommy Hearns didn't lose his money through extravagance or drugs, but because he's too damn nice. He took it upon himself to support a massive family that took benefits of homes,cars and education and never made anything out of it. They squandered his life's earnings and fucked off.

  The boxing great recently auctioned off memorabilia from his life in the ring because he owed the IRS $500 000 and didn't want to lose his house. But he's remarkably not bitter . Tommy Hearns views it as his responsiblity to be a good role model and pay what he owes without complaint. No pleas for reduction, no pity party, just a will to face his problems and do the right thing. He might even have to step into the ring to do it.

  While it stinks to see one of sport's last true "good guys" in a crappy situation, we can look at the bright side just as he has- life is a learning experience. A good athlete might have 5 or 10 good pro years if lucky, but inherit a lifetime of obligations to ne'er-do-well family members and other hangers-on. Sure. lifestyle plays a part, but there is another reason why the world's highest paid athletes are often broke within a few years of retirement. Some of the guys I grew up with made it to the pros, and when you sign a big contract old relatives do pop up looking for gifts- and "no" is a hard word to say to many of them. At first you give out of love and gratitude and then it becomes overwhelming.

  Tommy Hearns has never lived his life with the sense of entitlement that a lot of guys do and has serious learned lessons that he can pass on to this generation. If I were managing a college or pro sports team, I would want this guy front and centre speaking to these young men the importance of looking to the future and how to deal with personal relationships in a manner that will be a win for all . Sports greatness is fleeting, but the way a man conducts himself beyond it is his measure.

Good luck Champ.

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