Ralph Sampson, the former University of Virginia and NBA basketball star, was a big deal at one time. Sampson has made lots of money and lived the high life. And this is how he ends up.

The article refers to “the mothers of his children;” Sampson is reportedly seriously delinquent in child-support payments to several of these women. According to the article: 

“Sampson was arrested at his home near Atlanta on charges of failing to pay almost $250,000 in support to a third woman, an Alexandria woman with whom he had fathered a child in 1987. He also was charged with falling behind again with payments to one of the women who was subject of [a] settlement in 2003.”

And he’s headed to jail for other offenses: 

“Under the proposed settlement, Sampson, 46, would plead guilty to a charge of mail fraud stemming from his purchase of an automobile through one of his corporations in late 2004. The charge carries the least potential jail time of the four counts brought against him this year by a federal grand jury.

“Sampson was scheduled to face trial on those charges [today] on U.S. District Court in Richmond. The proceeding now is set as a plea hearing before Judge James R. Spencer.”

Sampson is on the verge of signing a legal agreement.

But there is a hitch:

“Sampson’s attorney, James C. Roberts, said announcement of a settlement is premature until he discusses it with his client. ‘There isn’t an agreement until it’s signed,’ he said.

“Roberts confirmed that a sticking point in the settlement discussions remains Sampson’s request that his jail term be delayed until the spring. The oldest of his four children with former wife Aleize Dial Samp son is starting college this semester. ‘It’s solely for the benefit of his children,’ Roberts said.”

So this is Sampson’s version of fathernood? No, Mr. Sampson, what you do for your kids is marry and stay married to their mother. Failing that, you remain responsible for the welfare of your children. The best thing for Sampson’s son is to see the old man in prison. 

That will drive home the idea that idea that bad behaviour eventually has bad consequences. Even for pampered athletes.