Sunday, December 04, 2011

Another Billy Ray Bates article

As a Crispa fan,  I will always remember Billy Ray Bates as vital cog in getting that 2nd grand slam.  This article however speculates that he may have been better off, if he did not play in the Philippines.

"There was no way Bates could maintain an NBA career while slipping into full-blown alcoholism. So what did he do? Get clean, pull himself together, and take another shot at the big leagues? Nope. By the looks of things, he found a place where he could keep playing without giving up the bottle. That place was the Philippines. In the PBA, Bates's talent was so overwhelming that he probably could have played in a drunken stupor and averaged 30 points per game. By most accounts, he always dried out before tip-off. His career average of 46 points per game is the highest of any PBA player, import or local, and Bates will probably always be remembered as the best import in league history. Throughout the '80s, he was a superstar in the Philippines, one of the nation's most famous and infamous ballers, whose legacy lives on today.

In the same breath, coming to Manila could be considered one of the worst things that ever happened to Bates. In the Philippines, all of Bates's self-destructive habits were enabled, if not encouraged. He could score at will, average almost 50 points a game, and be worshiped by a nation of devotees who treated his ability to put the ball in the hoop like it was proof of the divine. And here's the clincher: Bates never had to quit drinking. Time would eventually catch up with him, but for a few wild years in the mid-1980s, he had found his proverbial free lunch. Catastrophe could wait."
 On the other hand,  his stature as a hero in the Philippines is probably a large reason why the AirAsia Philippine Patriots hired him as a skills coach and he seems to be doing ok.  The Philippines may have been instrumental in his road to alcoholism but it may still be able to help him stay sober and into a better life.

1 comment:

The Nashman said...

I used to be scared of Thirdkill during the Black v. Thirdkill era. Black was boring european-style 2 points is 2 points player while Thirdkill was athletic. Buti nalang panalo pa rin ang SMB.