First off, let me say I'm all about family. Family first, family always. If it wasn't for my family and friends I wouldn't be the person I am today or have the strength and confidence to pursue my goals in life. I'm born and raised in Seattle (3rd generation) so I completely understand how someone could get homesick living away from their hometown, but the actions of Ilya Kovalchuk are baffling to me.
Ilya Kovalchuk, a superstar winger for the New Jersey Devils retired from the NHL with 12 years and $77,000,000 left on his contract. The explanation given for his sudden departure was during the lock out he realized how much he missed his family and wanted to be home on a permanent basis. Certainly there are cultural differences between Russia and the United States and New Jersey has its issues, but C'MON MAN! Is it worth turning your back on 77 mil? Is the situation really that bad?
From a capitalists perspective it's completely irresponsible to leave that much money on the table. There will come a time in your life where you wish you had the financial resources to take care of a problem or take advantage of a tremendous opportunity. Trust me, I'm speaking from experience. In addition, wouldn't his family want him to be the most successful person he could be? How does turning down a lifetime of money help with that?
We all hypothesize on what we would do if we were in a certain situation. This is one of the reasons sports is so compelling to us. We put ourselves in the shoes of multi millionaires and super human athletes and judge them based on our limited exposure and abilities. That being said I don't think there's a single person reading this blog that would make the same decision Kovalchuk made. Ask yourself, would you spend the next 12 years in Siberia for $77,000,000? My answer is, I'd find a way to make the best out of it and return home with enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life. People have done a lot worse for a lot less. Your thoughts?