What Adonal Foyle’s Words and Legacy Can Teach Us

Adonal Foyle

Adonal Foyle

Eric Fishbin, Sports Editor

With the eighth overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors selected Adonal Foyle of Colgate University. Since then, Foyle has been regarded as one of the NBA’s most brilliant minds, and his off-court accomplishments set him aside from the rest. The two-time Patriot League Player of the Year winner is one of nine NBA players to be inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. Foyle founded Democracy Matters (a club that remains active at Colgate today), served as the Vice President of the National Basketball Players Association, and continues to be talented with a pen. 

  Foyle is unsure how he can say goodbye to basketball in the beginning, but realizes that his love is and will stay “immortal.” He invites us to nostalgically look back through his life and where basketball has taken him; from his childhood days playing in Canouan, Saint Vincent, where he fell in love with it for the first time right into Cotterell Court, the gym that fits 1,750 people and opened in 1959, where he hoisted two Patriot League titles. 

Foyle makes reference to the right-knee injury that kept him off the court for some time during his career, and ultimately ended it in 2010 during his tenure with the Orlando Magic. But Foyle knows that his career had to come to an end at some point.

From his experience, he only hopes for NBA players who come after him to appreciate their time in the league because it does not last forever. Rather, it comes and goes “like the flickering of a light.” He recognizes his role in a system that is greater than him, and amusingly notes that he hopes to be thought of every so often. 

In the concluding lines and in an intricate style, Foyle displays his off-the-court “poetic prowess” and offers a farewell to his many teammates, whom he will always regard as brothers; brothers whom he went to battle with as a team for all of his 13-year career. As he says goodbye he offers some advice for Colgate students in his swan song, though some of the advice may be for himself. 

His farewell to his playing career was not a final goodbye, though. Foyle was the Director of Player Programs for the Orlando Magic from 2010-2012. In 2015, his book Winning the Money Game: Lessons Learned from the Financial Fouls of Pro Athletes was published, in which he offers financial management advice for athletes and their families. 

Since then, he has worked on ABC Television as an analyst, a Community Ambassador for the Golden State Warriors and most recently as a Director of Life Skills for the NBA. Perhaps most importantly, Foyle continues to stay engaged in political activism and is a model for how an athlete can use his or her platform effectively; trivializing those who think he and every other basketball player should “just shut up and dribble.” 

He represents what Colgate tries to show us: that we can go after our loftiest dreams and find happiness in our own ways; all the while remembering that “Wherever you go, go ‘Gate!” 

As he stepped away from the game he has known since he was a young child, Foyle wrote a love poem  to the sport, in which he sought to find peace after his inevitable retirement due to injury:

“Love Song to a Game” by Adonal Foyle

How should I tell thee goodbye?

What can you say about a love affair to rival that of Romeo & Juliet? This is not just some melancholy ode to a hackneyed love of mortals.

I found our love deep in the entrails of the Caribbean Sea. Love that swept me to a land where our embrace became mythical.

You showed me a world that few have dreamt of.

Colgate’s golden steeple, a sojurn where ancient teachings flooded my mind. 

There in the Chenango Valley where 13 sang my soul to flight, basketball laid siege to my soul.

I do not cry for the passing of our love for it stands radiant while my brittle bones crumble through swift time.

I have known you by so many faces; I will spend my end of days recalling.

You have infected so many with the allure of riches and black gold. But I am not angry with you my love. For to a boy who was lost in the bosom of nothing you gave hope and home.

Like the flickering of a light we come and go without much fuss. So I leave you to fend off seekers, hoping they too will cherish your unyielding countenance.

As for me, I will forever live in the glare of your loving embrace. From time to time I hope you will look in on this pitiful fool.

I will miss brothers of a quilt struggling with burning lights. If I offer advice, pierce beyond the glaring lights and see the faces behind the wall. Don’t be fooled by the magicians’ nibble fingers. For this is a life with mirrors and screens. Its only truth lies in the understanding it will all end.

The sound I will take home is the symphony of thousands of screaming friends.

Warriors, Magic and yes, Memphis too, I sing you praise, hope, blessings,

Flowing from a boy’s songs of thanks to you and you and you,to all I knew.

Please stay my “immortal love.”

Contact Eric Fishbin at [email protected].