POST 50
03/20/2013 04:02 pm ET

Adrian Dantley, Former NBA Star Working As Crossing Guard Just For Health Benefits, Isn't Alone

How one former NBA star is spending his retirement has caught the Internet's attention -- but it's a situation many post 50s are all too familiar with.

Adrian Dantley, an NBA All Star and Olympian who used to play forward for the Utah Jazz, is now clocking in as a crossing guard in Maryland making $14,685 a year, sports blog Deadspin reported.

But this isn't a classic tale of a monied star gone broke: Dantley, 58, is helping little ones cross the street in part for the medical benefits as the frugal millionaire "doesn't want to pay health insurance," an "associate" told Deadspin. The NBA, much like many employers, doesn't offer retiree health care. (In 2010, only 25 percent of early retirees and 16 percent of Medicare-eligible retirees had benefits through their former employers, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute). Part-time crossing guards in his county are eligible for the same health care benefits as full-time employees, Deadspin reported.

Dantley's statement to ABC News -- "I'm a regular guy" -- rings truer than he may know in one particular way. More than 8.9 million adults age 50-64 were uninsured in 2010, according to AARP. Boomers are expecting to work well into their retirement, not just for the structure and the regular paycheck, but for the much-needed health benefits (a sizable 40 percent of respondents in a 2010 EBRI survey). But with the realities of layoffs, failing health and forced early retirement, younger boomers may not yet recognize how unrealistic this intention may be. That's why companies like Starbucks, which also offer part-time employees health benefits, are regularly touted as a great job for older workers.

And so, the story is not just about a former NBA player helping kids cross the street. It's about the very real struggle many across the country are experiencing as they fight to meet rising health care costs in the years before Medicare kicks in. Dantley found a new job with benefits at 58. Others aren't so lucky.

(h/t AOL Jobs)

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