NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - David Vaughn knows the adulation of NBA crowds. He also knows the humbling task of maneuvering his 6-foot-9 frame into his
Chevy Impala to sleep.
Less than a decade after the end of a four-season NBA career, the former power forward spent six months on the streets of Orlando, Fla., having run
through the $2.2 million he earned in the league. These days, the 36-year-old Vaughn is looking for a job in Orlando, where he spent two seasons
playing for the Magic.
Now, this story should be a wake-up to all, regarding, our recession or what many believe is a depression. My home page is affixed to MSN and I only
briefly see it from time to time, before heading over to ATS or other internet destinations. However, when I saw the headline, I was somewhat
intrigued, to say the least. What struck me was the title, "From NBA to homeless."
So, I proceeded to read more. From what I gathered, it is a story of a young kid with bulging pockets following a successful induction into the ranks
of professional sports. Now, apparently, he has higher education, because it said he was drafted out of the University of Memphis. By chance, did his
professors or coaches teach him about the real-world and what to expect when the sweat dries? Apparently, not, because he is destitute and homeless
with nothing left from his employment as a professional athlete. Now, some would judge the man as being frivolous about his wealth and reckless
However, we all are aware of how dense professional athletes are when it comes to instant fame and treasure, and this is not a bash piece, but one, of
a somber tone. It shows that everyone is vulnerable, and when misfortune befalls us, and we are rock bottom, those friends that were around when times
were good, walk away. We are left with ourselves and the demons we have acquired along the way. Its sad but true.
As people of the United State box up their belongings awaiting forceful extraction from the only place they called home, or that person about to rip
their hair out with bills piling up and descending into the ever deepening abyss of credit oblivion, or that person who has gone to the employment
office 5 days out of the week, sipping burnt coffee, awaiting for that opportunity that never comes, they can look at this former master of the
universe and his downward spiral into the very ranks of those that reveled at his prowess on the hardwood.
His story is also uplifting as well, because he saw what TPTB wants us to think is important and paramount in our lives, but I think he found more in
life, now, than what he had in the superficial world of fast cars, fast money, and palatial estates. If he would have remained in that sphere, he
would have further dehumanized himself from the rest of us. Here is what Vaughn found after the dust settled of what used to be his life.
Before long, his marriage deteriorated and last year he was living out of his 2000 Impala on the streets of Orlando. He took showers at the Salvation
Army where he got free meals. He'd go to a fitness center to get a shower and do stretching exercises so he wouldn't feel so cramped in his car.
"It was a very lonely situation," he recalled.
Vaughn recently reconciled with his wife and rejoined her and their two sons, aged 11 and 8.
"Basically I knelt down and said a long prayer," he recalled. "Later I read all of the New Testament, and it gave me strength."
Said wife Brandie: "Even though we may not have material things, we have the love of God which is more priceless than that."
But he's still "looking for work," just like millions of Americans. He was laid off over the summer by a furniture store that employed him as a
warehouse worker and delivery man.
Now, as he looks for employment as many are right now, hopefully, we can walk away from this tale of triumph, defeat, and redemption, with one simple
premise, that even when we find ourselves in the darkness corners of what this world has to offer us, there is always a resurgence and rebirth. He is
going through it as we all are, to some degree. Now, I know some will scoff at the references to the "Almighty," peppered in throughout the piece,
as the source of their strength and re-emergence, and that is to be expected. However, that is besides the point, perhaps, he was just a resolute
person who crawled out from the cellars of human depravity? People find strength through many mediums, whether it be, loved ones, nature, religion,
philosophy, literature, or other escapes from society. However, all those are good, but we must remain resolute within ourselves, because that is all
we have when everything is gone. How strong are you? Poverty and depravity is an equal opportunity employer, and does not segregate.
[edit on 31-10-2009 by Jakes51]