Professional athletes are often ill-prepared for life after the game. Some go back to school to finally finish that degree, while others test the saturated waters of the sports television business.
And then there are athletes like former Puerto Rican basketball star Jose Ortiz, whose passion for a specific non-sports field — forestry, in his case — can provide a coushy retirement.
That may have been the case for the player better known as “Piculin” until he was arrested Wednesday after police found 218 marijuana plants at his home in Cayey, Puerto Rico. During the raid, police also collected 40 rounds of assault rifle ammunition, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Ortiz was studying up, too: “Agents also found numerous documents, including pamphlets on how to cultivate marijuana and a notebook with instructions related to the plants’ cultivation”
Keep reading for video highlights from Picu’s career and the charges he could face...
Ortiz, 47, played two seasons (1988-1990) with the Utah Jazz after two years at Oregon State where he played against UCLA’s Reggie Miller and won the 1987 Pac 10 player of the year award. The 6-10 center, who played for more than a dozen international pro teams during his 24-year career, helped the Puerto Rican national team to a gold medal at the 1991 Pan American Games and competed on four Olympic teams.
The marijuana plants found in Ortiz’s home are reported to be worth around $150,000. If found guilty, Picu could face up to 40 years in prison.