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Samardo feels NBA lockout drain... Jamaican already loses J$2.5m due to strike

Published:Thursday | November 3, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

The impasse between the National Basketball Association (NBA) owners and the players union over revenue sharing has had far-reaching implications, with Jamaican Samardo Samuels feeling the pinch, having already lost US$30,000 (J$2.5 million) due to the lockout.

"It has cost me around US$30,000 in salary for first two weeks," said Samuels in an exclusive interview with The Gleaner yesterday.

"It is tough because I have been working all my life for this," said Samuels, who will be entering his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I have my parents around me and so they don't let me spend money on unnecessary stuff, and so I just buy things that I need," he said.

Samuels, a forward/centre, signed a three-year contract with the Cavaliers in 2010, which earns him slightly above the league minimum US$472,000 (J$40.6 million) per season.

Samuels, a 6' 9", 260-pounder who hails from Trelawny, has spent most of his summer working on his game in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. His season was cut short last term by a torn ligament in his right wrist that required surgery, but he said he is 100 per cent healthy now and ready to play.

"I am ready to go and I am ready to play basketball," Samuels said.

"Playing basketball is my job and so I have to stay focused on my job," Samuels continued. "The lockout is a strike and so I have to stay focused because I still go to practice and workout and I am still doing my daily routine, and I also get more time to spend with my family."

Samuels, who left college for the NBA as a sophomore, is now back at Louisville University, where he is currently completing his bachelor's degree in communication studies.

"I am pretty close to finishing it because I think I have about three semesters to go. I took one class already and I got like a B in it," said Samuels.

"I have also been working out with the Louisville players and coaching staff here and they have been helpful to me," he said. "Coach Rick Patino has been helping me in getting access to the gym and the weight rooms and so they make my life a bit easier."

Moving up

Samuels went from an undrafted rookie out of Louisville to the Cavaliers starting line-up last season and earned a reputation as a hard worker and tough defender while averaging 7.8 points.

"There were some bright spots last year that I can work on for this year," said Samuels, whose team ended the season with 19 wins and 63 losses. "Last year we lost a lot of games, but I have learnt a lot from those losses because when you lose it makes you tougher, and I know that I will be a lot tougher this season," he said.

He added that his Jamaican fans expect great things from him this season.

"I am going to be hungry to represent you (Jamaica)," Samuels said. "I am going to be hard-working on the court because I am going to play out my heart to get the job done," Samuels assured.