After reading some comments on the previous post, Jamal Sampson sent this along:
For the [Smart Gilas] insider who responded to what I wrote, I would say I respect what he has to say. I know other players don’t get paid on time and still play, and I respect all the players on the national team, they’re a great group of guys, but their situation is different from mine. They have to play to keep their jobs on this team.
As one player told me, basketball in the Philippines in political, and they have to keep their mouth shut and play. Otherwise they will be out of a job, and there are plenty of players available just waiting to take their jobs.
I’m in a lil different situation, and have job offers from a lot of other places in the world, including job offers like in China where I would be making considerably more money per month, so why would I wanna stay with a team not paying on time and obliging to the contract, when I can go somewhere else where I get paid on time and make more money? That just wouldn’t make any sense to do.
I signed for less money because I love the country, how nice and friendly the fans are, and the players on the team, who are a great group to be around. Also, the country probably has the most supportive fans I’ve seen anywhere, to be honest, and that I loved. But financially, I would look kind of dumb to be playing and staying somewhere making less money, and not getting everything I’m supposed to, when I have other offers, and one I know I would be getting the things in the contract honored fully. So I hope the guy who wrote that can also see my side and kinda where I’m coming from.
One more thing I want readers to know, it’s not just a money thing. There’s other stuff in contract I haven’t spoken on that hasn’t been honored, such as plane ticket I have for family, cellphone stuff, stuff to do with condo. It wasn’t just money, there were other stuff in contract not met. Basically, they put whatever they had to in the contract to get me to sign, then once I did, they didn’t or couldn’t uphold it.
Meanwhile, I know for a fact that people involved with the SBP and Smart Gilas are already aware of the previous blog post. I imagine every Pinoy basketball fan would be interested to hear a reply from them, and this blog remains open for them to air their side of the issue.
I got a curious email tonight from Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman, containing a long and impassioned message in response to the series of emails from Jamal Sampson that was posted on this blog. Let me just preface, with all due respect to Coach Toroman, that while very inspiring especially for Smart Gilas fans, the message contained little about the meat of Sampson’s allegations against the SBP, his contract situation.
That said, it’s worth a read for every Pinoy basketball fan. What follows is Rajko Toroman’s email, in full:
In the name of truth, [and the interest] of Smart Gilas players, SBP, and basketball fans, I felt obliged to give a comment on Jamal Sampson’s statements and accusations.
In a very short time that he spent with Smart Gilas team, J. Sampson’s become “informed” about everything and anything. The relationship between SBP and PBA, SBP and players, SBP and me, players’ motivations, “fears”… I am impressed.
WHAT IS THE POINT HERE?
Turns out everyone is guilty about something, everyone is immoral, incompetent, unprofessional, except Saint Jamal.
The man is able to make a fight between two eyes in the head. And all this, for his alibi.
I have to admit, he is an expert in changing the essence of the issues.
What is the issue here?
The issue is that J. Sampson refused to help his teammates, to win the tournament in Dubai. He betrayed these good guys (as he says), who left their heart and sweat on the floor of the Dubai arena in order to achieve the best possible result.
THIS IS THE FACT AND THE POINT IN J. SAMPSON’S CASE. EVERYTHING ELSE IS EMPTY TALKING.
THE HISTORY OF THE CASE
After the friendly game we had in Dubai, Sampson said that his knee was injured. The team doctor told me that he examined his knee and that there were no visible signs of injury, no swelling. When we came to Dubai, he was taken for a checkup with orthopedist. The conclusion was the same, no visible signs of injury.
When we came back to Manila, Sampson was sent on MRI check up. Again, this time confirmed with MRI, no restrictions in practicing and playing. Meaning, J. Sampson is not and was not injured. HE DIDN’T WANT TO PLAY.
According to the information that we got in Dubai, this is the scenario that he was repeating with other teams also, e.g. when he was playing at Arabic games for Jordan team Zain, on the first game he INJURED his back. On the whole tournament, played only for a few minutes on some games. As we were told, the same happened in China. It seems that he is very well known as “the one that is always injured”.
With everything that was happening with Sampson, I had every reason to believe in the new information.
Chronologically, things were happening in this order:
1. When he came to Manila, on the first two weeks, he was very good in practice. I think he had like a hundred dunks (all that while “sleeping on the floor”). While negotiating, he was asked to play one game against PBA team. Refused it twice. Didn’t want to play before the contract was signed.
2. After the contract was signed, his debut for Smart Gilas was on the third game against Barako Bull. Back injury happened in the 3rd minute of the game. I really was not bothered, not because of his possible injury, it’s part of the job, but with the way he was showing it to everyone in the gym. That made me suspicious. And after this game he left to [go to the] US for Xmas holidays.
3. When Sampson came back, we arranged a friendly game against San Miguel on January 5th, only because of Jamal (who didn’t practice with the team for 20 days), just to be at least a little bit prepared for the game that we had in the PBA on January 6th, against Purefoods. AND WHAT JAMAL DID? HE DIDN’T SHOW UP! Later he said that he didn’t know about the game, which of course was not the truth. I personally told him that we’d have a game because of him, and also staff member checked on him about 1.5 hours before the game, and he said that he is dressing up for the game.
Next day, came the PBA game against Purefoods. Sampson said that he couldn’t play because of stomach troubles. Again, he was showing everyone he was sick. If it were not sad, it would be ridiculous.
After all this came the Dubai story.
That is Jamal Sampson. The man and the player that cannot take the responsibility. Alibi player who accuses everyone on the way to take the money.
His comment about my assistants is beyond every sense for good taste. For your information, Jamal, the best coach in Europe for the year 2009 is a Serbian coach who never played basketball, but still is making miracles with his team. You don’t have to be tall to be a good coach.
I personally was not criticized much in Jamal’s letter, probably because it would be useless, because I have results behind me, European competitions and Olympic games. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if, after this letter, he has something “nice” to say about me. That would be so Jamal. I have no intention to answer anything else anymore. I have more important things to do, not time for waste.
ABOUT ME TREATING PLAYERS LIKE KIDS
In case Jamal wanted to offend me, I have to disappoint him. THEY ARE MI KIDS! I am their teacher. I can be a father to each and every one of them. My goal is not only to make them good basketball players, but respected people also, not drugged and drunk losers. And yes, it is tough sometimes. And Maybe they are not always happy with me being tough, but at the end of the story, when I see successful people, honest and honorable warriors, my heart is full, and I am sure, theirs too.
AND JAMAL, THEY WERE FAITHING OVER THERE IN DUBAI, LIKE MATURE GROWNUPS! EVERYONE, EXCEPT YOU!
And you, you took a liberty to doubt their motives, to doubt everyone’s motives, in this project.
This expensive project is dedicated to the people of the Philippines. This is for the country, and happiness.
God gave you the body to be a great basketball player. But that is obviously not enough. You don’t like basketball. You don’t know and you’ll never know how it is when you are on the throne. How all the sweat and blood and tears are forgotten when the medal is around your neck, and when you know that this small thing is a big thing to each and every soul in your country.
I know how this feels, Jamal, and I will do everything in my power to give this feeling to my players. I feel sorry for you, because you’ll never know.
And YES, for that [to happen,] it’s gonna be discipline, and we will live like a family, and everyone will be on time (because you have to respect other people) and we will go for meals together, and we will finish them together (it is elementary decency) in good manners and mutual respect. And YES, there will be no place for the ones who are not ready to respect the team spirit. We have a difficult task in front of us, and we can make it only if we are like one breed.
You, Jamal, you didn’t want to share the air with us. In a very short time you made enough troubles that others can’t in 10 years.