Twenty-nine years ago, in 1987, the Indiana Hoosiers defeated the Syracuse Orange for the national championship on a late jumper by Keith Smart. It was one of the most dramatic national title games we’ve ever seen, and it gave Bob Knight his third national championship.
A reserve on that team, Todd Jadlow, played two more years for the Hoosiers and went on to play professional basketball in Europe, where, sadly, he got involved with substance abuse.
“It was a lifestyle,” Jadlow said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I go around the country and I talk and I share my story now to help out the foundation that I started. I tell the story that the first line of cocaine that I did, little did I know that that one line of cocaine was going to turn in to be my inspiration for winning basketball games throughout my professional career. We had forgotten about the fact that we’re playing this game because we love this game. It all became about the party afterwards. ‘All right, guys, let’s get this win and let’s get the night started.’ So it wasn’t just me; it was the whole culture that I was around – almost like it was just there for you.”
Jadlow was asked what his typical night was like.
“Oh wow,” he said. “A normal night would be game ended, we’d go home, get cleaned up, meet up in a nice restaurant, have dinner, go back to somebody’s apartment or house, invite a bunch of women over, there’d be a lot of cocaine, a lot of alcohol consumed. That would go on for hours. Then we’d go to nightclubs. We’d hang out in nightclubs, continue the same manners of action, and then we’d come back home and there’d be even more people involved. There’d be more women, more guys to our group – I guess you’d call it a posse – that would come over and it would last all night. It would be like that after every game on every weekend.”
During certain parts of the season, Jadlow would play a game on Friday and be off until Tuesday. No practice, no nothing.
“Between Friday night and Tuesday, it was just a blur every week,” he said.
After his career, Jadlow’s life continued to spiral. He received two DUIs on the same day, one of which involved his 2-year-old daughter, who was a passenger in the car. That’s child endangerment. Jadlow’s license was also suspended at the time.
“I ended up sitting one year in jail in county jail in Johnson County, Kansas,” he said. “After that one year, I was transferred to a corrections facility and I was placed into a group called a therapeutic community, which is an intense behavioral modification program, which lasted close to six months. So I went through that program, and after I completed that, I went on to another part of the corrections facility – what’s called the center, a work-release situation where I’m allowed to go out and work. I did that for another two months. After that, I was released.”
Jadlow was still on probation and ordered to participate in a sober-living house for three months.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” he said. “The time I was in jail, I thought, ‘Screw this, I’m going to go back to living that life. I’m going to have fun.’”
But one day while he was living in the therapeutic community, Jadlow listened to a guest speaker, who told him he should be ashamed of what he had done.
“He was very honest, and it hit me,” Jadlow said. “It hit me in a way that really woke me up. I’m the type of person who, if you’re not in my circle, I don’t want anything to do with you. If you’re a stranger, you’re always going to be a stranger. And for some odd reason, after that speaker came and spoke, I went to one of the counselors and I asked if I could talk to that guy, which is completely out of my character.”
“Just by talking to him, it really turned me around,” Jadlow said. “He became a mentor to me. He kind of showed me the way. I’ve lived a lie for almost thee-quarters of my life. In essence, I never grew up, which is a shame. It took this individual coming in to really make me take a hard look at myself to make a change. It was kind of the defining moment of my life, that day in the therapeutic community when he talked.”