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View Full Version : Beno Udrih - Fantastic Story



DerekRE_3
05-22-2011, 01:20 PM
I've gone back and forth about posting this for a few years now because it's a great story but on the other hand it brings attention and I don't think any of the parties involved want attention. Read it, enjoy it (or not) - then forget about it - I really donít think Beno nor my friends want any publicity from this so I hope everyone can respect that.

A little background - A close friend of mine has a son that is the same age as one of BJax's (Bobby Jackson) kids. Their kids went to school together and during daily drop offs & pickups at the school parking lot they struck up a friendship. That friendship eventually turned to business when Bobby decided he wanted to move and my buddy found him his new home. That eventually led to a few more players working with my friend and his wife to buy/sell houses.

Not long after he became friends with Bobby he started to notice some changes in his speech and in his muscle control. Months went by and it was getting worse - he started heading to the doctor for every test known to man and after months of various doctor visits they finally diagnosed him with ALS aka Lou Gehrigís Disease. A virtual death sentence where the average life expectancy after diagnosis is 2-3 years. I can't begin to describe the pain of hearing that when he was in his mid-forties, had a wife, and a kid that was 8. Obviously we were devastated.

My friend continued to work as much as he could but within a year he ended up in the hospital where they were forced to put him on a vent to breath and a feeding tube. He spent a week in ICU, two months in the hospital and was eventually released to home where he was now bed-bound and unable to speak; communicating by moving his eyelids as you spell out words.

Enter Beno.

Beno was referred to my friends by one of the other players. He was looking for a more permanent place after signing his big contract. When he had started to get sick my friend had made sure his wife, who had worked as his assistant for years, get licensed as an agent so she could have something to fall back on if/when he couldn't work. She began to work with Beno and his girlfriend on finding a new home and as often happens, struck up a friendship.

It didn't take long for Beno & his girlfriend to figure out something was a bit different with their real estate agent. She'd often refer to her husband as her business partner but they never saw him, she'd sometimes need to take her son along when they were out looking at houses because her husband couldn't watch him, or she'd have to schedule around doctor visits to show houses. Eventually she told them about her husbandís condition and his outlook.

What happened after that was nothing short of amazing if you ask me. You might expect a pro player to vanish quickly and not get involved in such a situation but that is not what Beno did. Beno started showing up at the house. He started picking up their son to take him to a movie or out to eat. Once the season began he started bringing their son to games. Heíd call up my friends after a game and ask if their son could come over and watch a movie with him & his girlfriend. Heíd show up with a new jersey or a designer beanie, just random gifts after a road trip that showed that even when he was away from home he was still thinking about this kid.

This wasnít a one-time publicity event. Two or three times a week Beno was doing something with their son. While he was having a horrible season on the court and getting crucified on the message boards he was simultaneously taking it upon himself to take care of this kid who had just been told his dad was going to die. This lasted the entire season until Beno and his girlfriend went away on summer vacation.

I watched Beno during that season with mixed emotions. My favorite player of all-time is A.C. Green - the toughest player to play the game and a class act all the way. To watch Beno Ďcompeteí three years ago, or should I say not compete, was beyond frustrating for me as a Kings fan and went completely against what I want in a player. I value effort and heart over skills and bravado on the basketball court. I didnít see that effort and heart from Beno on the court that year but what I saw off the court was more effort and more heart than just about any person that Iíve been able to witness in my lifetime.

I know Iím sounding a bit melodramatic when I say this but what Beno did that year was nothing short of saving one boyís childhood. Thrust into a situation where his father canít speak to him, canít give him a hug, let alone the things a father typically does with a son like play catch or throw a football around, there was not a lot of joy in that house. Hope, but not much joy.

All of the family and friends took the time to help out but the focus always remained on our sick friend and keeping him alive. There wasnít a lot of focus on play time or the fact that a young boy had just lost his childhood to a horrible disease. Unintentionally he had become an afterthought.

Beno changed that. He took a kid that was being pushed aside because of time, stress, and circumstances and made him the center of attention. Life for this boy was no longer about medical machines, doctors visits and sitting at his dadís bedside. It was about having fun, going to a ballgame or hanging out with a friend watching a movie.

Iím not sure if Beno did this consciously or if it was merely happenstance; but what he did was allow this kid to be a kid. He taught him to have fun again, that it was okay to enjoy himself, hang out with friends and live his life even if his dad was there in that bed. To me that was far more valuable than anything he could have done on the basketball court.

To this day they remain friends. The movies and ballgames have been pushed aside by schoolwork and little league practice, but the bond is still there through text messages and phone calls. Just last week Beno was making plans to come to a little league game, sit on the bench with the team and sign autographs for all the kids.

As for my friend, heís still here as well. Hope remains as a possible misdiagnosis may point to a form of Lymeís disease instead of ALS. Unable to move any limb more than a few inches, he still canít speak and still relies on machines to breath and eat. Heís only left his house once in the past two years but through hours of painstaking physical therapy and effort, he can now sit in a wheel chair and be moved out of his bedroom that was his only view for more than a year. His new favorite view: watching his son play catch in the backyard. Just a kid being a kid.

Source: Sactown Royalty
(http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2011/5/11/2165889/beno-the-lost-year)
I know it's long, but it really is worth the read. Amazing story.

305sportsfan
05-22-2011, 01:33 PM
Always nice to see athletes, and celebrities, putting their fame to good use like this, nice find, thanks for sharing.

xbrackattackx
05-22-2011, 01:38 PM
great read. Touched my heart hate for kids to lose parents. Beno is awesome for that.

TrueFan420
05-22-2011, 09:17 PM
great story and read

DrDre94
05-22-2011, 09:42 PM
Great read... I totally respect Beno and I'm sure many others do. :)

MattColby
05-22-2011, 10:06 PM
Good for him.

Good man.

jkiddvc20
05-22-2011, 10:13 PM
Sad, sad story but it is a real great thing what Beno is doing for the little kid.

:clap:

schilling
05-22-2011, 10:32 PM
It's a shame, acts of kindness like this won't make the news, ESPN, etc, but things like fights or trash talking will. I'd rather hear this stuff than listen to analysts going back and forth about what a player said about the other team.

Good for him. I have a lot of respect for the guy and I hope it becomes more recognized. I wish I'd hear stories like this from any of the players on the teams I root for. This is what sports needs.

Robbw241
05-22-2011, 10:37 PM
Wabeno is the man!

ManRam
05-22-2011, 10:41 PM
Good read. ALS is such a scary and terrible disease.

It usually doesn't affect children, so that makes this all the more emotional story. Good for Beno :clap:

tyfreaks brotha
05-22-2011, 10:43 PM
Wow I'm suprized some douche hasn't come in talking **** about the Kings yet... Great read though.

tyfreaks brotha
05-22-2011, 10:44 PM
It's a shame, acts of kindness like this won't make the news, ESPN, etc, but things like fights or trash talking will. I'd rather hear this stuff than listen to analysts going back and forth about what a player said about the other team.

Good for him. I have a lot of respect for the guy and I hope it becomes more recognized. I wish I'd hear stories like this from any of the players on the teams I root for. This is what sports needs.

100% agreed

Superior_Knicks
05-23-2011, 02:24 AM
Great story. I hope they can keep that relationship for as long they live.
I am now officially a Beno fan.

KnicksorBust
05-23-2011, 02:57 PM
Great post Derek.

thekmp211
05-23-2011, 06:48 PM
lots of new-found respect for the man.

roshan3ai
05-23-2011, 09:08 PM
Great story. Gotta love hearing about hearing about such generous deeds

Johann
05-23-2011, 10:35 PM
Nice story.

EaglePride615
05-23-2011, 11:06 PM
almost brought a tear to my eye. thats beautiful for a person to do that just so they can be happy and enjoy a childhood.