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March 29, 2012
Just think about the scene for a moment:
The press conference has broken up, and you were the object of the intense media scrutiny. You've had enough microphones on your shirt to make you look like some sort of cyborg. Your parents are here but they look haggard and drained, even though you've made them proud with your poignant words while simultaneously bringing untold joy to thousands of your fans.
You ride the elevator down in relative silence, chit-chatting softly with two members of the local media and your parents, but clearly, you're just ready to go home and rest. And just as clearly, you're coming to grips with what must assuredly be a bright future.
So you head into the street, and show your affection for your parents one more time before everyone splits up for the day. You've got college work to get back to, after all, and they've got adult issues like work to deal with. But before you go, you've got just one more thing to give your dad. . .
A hamper of dirty laundry!
Yes, such is life for Adonis Michael Thomas in the aftermath of promising Memphis fans that he will return for one more season. He will make millions playing the sport he loves, but it won't be this year. Probably next year, if all goes well.
But in spite of all that, in the final analysis, right now, he's just like you and me. He's got to deal with the same mundane day-to-day problems that we all do.
That's what makes the whole Adonis Thomas situation so refreshing. Thomas isn't "exactly" like you or me--he can do things normal human beings can scarecely conceive of--but he's so humble and in touch with his feelings. He has incredible body control on the court and mind-boggling mind control off it.
His mood rarely seems to change. Win or lose, he's level-headed and thoughtful. About the only time he's tipped his hand lately was when he was openly crying after Memphis lost to St. Louis, their season in ruins. That's not how Thomas wanted to end his college career.
"I felt like I owe the city another year," Thomas said with extraordinary candor. "The injury just held me back this year. I wasn't able to be a part of the team. There's a lot of unfinished business left, and I hate losing."
"I owe the city another year." Is any explanation necessary? That statement alone speaks volumes about Thomas and his deep love for the city he grew up in.
So now, he's coming back. And his parents will be taking care of his laundry for another year.
Doesn't that help put everything in perspective?
Part of the reason Adonis made his decision public when he did was to save his parents, Eric and Sandra, a lot of stress.
"I was wavering but made my final decision (Tuesday) night," Thomas said. "I called my dad and told him my decision, and he was fine with that. So we decided to make it public."
"Big E," as his father is known affectionately, seemed relieved to have the business over with.
"This was way more stressful than the recruitment," Big E said wearily. "Anybody who hasn't been through this, there's no way for me to explain how difficult it was. But this was about business. This was about the rest of Adonis' life, his career.
"We had to do our homework, get all the information right. We had some good people helping us. We had to get it right. This was so nerve-wracking. But I'm so happy for Adonis and ready for the next phase."
The next phase will be watching his son up close and personal, like he always has. I asked him if he was happy to have Adonis around a little while longer. The weary father gave me a slight smile, the first one all afternoon, as he answered:
"Yeah, I'm happy he's staying for one more year."
So happy I guess he doesn't mind doing laundry for another year.
Leroy Watson, Jr. is the Managing Editor of TigerSportsReport.com, and may be reached via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@leroywatsonjr)
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