CHICAGO - As a young kid back in the 70s, I used to watch basketball on our wood-paneled, low-definition black-and-white Zenith TV set.
Even with its occasional spotty reception, especially on those rainy July days when the rooftop antenna gets drenched, I was still grateful and embraced the simplicity of the world back then.
Along with the advent of electronic wonders such as flat screen TVs, the sport of basketball has since moved on, breaking barriers and toppling down the walls of indifference and exclusion.
Sadly it seems, the PBA got stuck behind.
With by-laws that are stale and archaic, the league is slowly rotting like the tombstone of a passing era.
Months after their dwindling fan base mocked and pelted them with harsh criticisms over rigid requirements for Fil-Am draftess with established identities, the league somehow thought it was a wonderful idea to pull off another stunt.
This time, the esteemed board of governors decided to stand by its obscure "draft dodger" rule that now requires Thirdy Ravena to pen a letter to explain why he shouldn't be banned for skipping the draft and choosing to play elsewhere.
Edicts are anchored on common sense. This one drowns from the lack of it. Adherence to logic is just as important as reverence for the law.
Out of fear of potential retribution, can you imagine our overseas-bound nurses, teachers and accountants having to write to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) office and explain why they're going abroad?
IT'S STUPID, AUTHORITARIAN.
Thirdy, a hero in Ateneo blue, saw green pastures in the land of the yellow rising sun and lingered. Instead of cheering on and taking pride in another brown man's glory, the PBA rolled out the red carpet of arrogance.
Kiss the ring or you are not welcomed here.
So the picture looks like this: The league can cut, trade or suspend any player at any time but a prospect needs its tacit approval to audition and take his talents elsewhere?
I thought only two letters separate equity from inequity. I am so wrong. It's apparently three.
I'm not going to pretend that we're close friends but Thirdy and I are cool. I call, he answers. I text, he buzzes me back.
In honor of that acquaintance, I've written a draft where he can pick pointers from.
Hi, this is not Thirdy. Please allow me to relay my lack of remorse for not entering the draft.
Much as I wanted to join the PBA, the pay in Japan is not only good, it's triple the pleasure.
Their league swept me off my Nikes. Clean, politics-free, and spectacularly well-ran.
I get lonely out here sometimes but never hungry. The ramen noodles are gorgeous, succulent. And the sushi is simply divine. Damn, they even have spicy, almost authentic tacos, too.
I hope I made the right choice, I'm not stupid. I went to U.P.
I miss my bedroom but, thank God, my contract includes free accomodations at a nice apartment so I've never lost sleep.
Also, I figured that the best way to advance my career is to drive the car my team has provided for me, also for free.
I can express my happiness in so many more words but I have exit interviews to go to. We just finished a season, you know.
Thanks for listening. And at the risk of sounding like a jilted, disenchanted PBAer wanna be, I merrily bade you sayonara.
Looking forward to not seeing you [anytime] soon.