Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Former LA Lakers Forward Irving Thomas Finds the Most Rewarding Assist Is the One Off the Court

In every sport players come and go, some faster than others. Whether it be graciously or ugly, every athlete has to hang em' up and face the reality they can no longer play the kids game anymore.

Some athletes go on to become coaches or scouts, others tackle the media world and become broadcasters, but the majority of players are faced with adapting to a whole new world. 

Former NBA player and current LA Lakers scout Irving Thomas knows the feeling all too well, as he was faced with a similar situation when he decided to take off his jersey for the last time. 

"It took me three years to really find something after my basketball career was over," Thomas told talkinhoopz. That's just really too long for guys to transition into what we call the real world."

But Thomas isn't just a scout, he's also the president of the South Florida chapter for the National Basketball Retired Players Association,  an organization designed to assist members transition from the playing court into life after basketball.

Having dealt with those "real world" issues firsthand, Thomas can appreciate the struggle players go through once their career is behind them, and that's why he has signed on to help his fellow hardwood heroes. 

"It's not uncommon for guys to struggle after your career is over," Thomas said.  There are some stories out there that are really terrible, so I just wanted to help with that and do what I can to make sure that guys are successful in life after basketball."

For Thomas, the ultimate assist comes from helping not only former players, but future ones as well. 

In addition to his work with the NBRPA,  the former forward hosts his own basketball camp in the City of Miami Gardens-but it's not all just three man weaves and lay up lines at the Thomas camp: 

"We had a seminar last year where the kids actually got up and learned how to speak in front of the camera and be able to talk and express themselves.  If you're going to be involved in sports, you're going to be in front of the camera." 

With all the people Thomas gets involved with he should have considered being a point guard in the NBA, and while his playing career may be over, his role in the league is certainly in its prime. 

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