Saturday, November 6, 2004

The Wisdom Of Latrell "Spending" Sprewell.


Give it about two months….and some athlete will just show everyone the exact distance between their world and actual reality. A few months ago, it was Barry Bonds complaining about all the walking he has to do getting paid only $17M a year to play baseball. He asked if we “wanted to do it”. Classic.

Now, it is resident NBA idiot, Latrell Sprewell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last season, he signed a two-year deal….which pays him $14.6 M this season. That is quite a salary, considering he really isn’t an NBA star anymore….more like a few tiers below.

Yet, Spree wants a contract extension. Well, that’s really not that outlandish. He wants one that pays him more than he’s getting paid now. Well, that’s pretty undoable in today’s NBA economics where Kevin Garnett is by far the best Wolves player and gets a bulk of the cap money. Then, after pondering about not getting one….he said “why should I help them win a title. They’re not doing anything for me!”


Not doing anything for you??!?!? Uh….they are paying you $14.6M this year. What you are making this year, Spree….230 families can live off [if every family brought in $60K]. He also said “I’ve got kids to feed.” Oh, now c’mon. If you are struggling to feed your kids….maybe you have to bite the bullet and sell one of those Bentleys you have in your 14 car garage. Or maybe he just runs out of money after gassing up the Hummer to go to the Piggly Wiggly.  Perhaps a night job cleaning the arena after games could help make ends meet. 

I guess Sprewell was insulted by Minnesota’s offer of a 3-year deal worth $27M. Geez….only $9M a year??? Man, how can you live off of that??  Geez, look at him!!  He can't even afford to get his hair cut anymore. 

Hey. I’m not one of those guys that complain about athlete’s salaries. If people pay the money for the tickets…and the networks pay that money for the TV rights….and their “union” has a deal worked out….then they can get what they want despite the importance of their work. If this was the NFL, where there are no guaranteed contracts, I’d have a little more understanding of getting what you can while you can. But in the NBA where you cannot rework deals….and they get paid more than fairly…an NBA star whining about a nearly $15M salary is quite boorish.

Especially from Latrell Sprewell. This is the same guy that will forever be known for choking his COACH during a 1997 practice. And, no…not just in the heat of the moment….he left the practice facility, cam back, and choked him again. Imagine if you or I left work, came back and choked our supervisor. Yeah, then I’d be struggling to feed my kids. After the incident which originally garnered an 82-game suspension….Spree thought the punishment was too harsh. “I wasn’t choking him THAT hard,“ he said. “I mean, he could still breathe.“ He sued the Warriors and NBA for his $6.4M in lost salary. This came a few years after Latrell got into a fight in practice with Jerome Kersey. He left, only to come back with a 2 x 4.…..then threatened he’d come back with a gun. So the Warriors and NBA suspend him for the rest of the year….and he’s banished from Oakland.

On to New York…where he did help that team get to the 1999 NBA Finals. Give him a few years…and another dumb incident came about. He reported to the 2002 training camp with a broken hand….one that the Knicks had no knowledge of and one he gave no explanation for. The team fined him $250K and barred him from their facilities. The NY Post reported that Spree broke his hand in a fight…after someone blew chunks on the carpet of his yacht, “Milwaukee‘s Best“. The Post said he took a swing, missed and hit a wall. Spree filed a $40M lawsuit against the paper.

So, he’s just trying to stay afloat in America. The Metro CareRing in Denver, where Spree and his Wolves lost a game Thursday night, offers free meals for people struggling to pay their bills [especially with winter coming up soon and heating bills skyrocketing]. Of course, Spree is on the defensive. “Hey, they didn’t offer $27M….it was only $21M!!!!” Well, now that is different. “That is low for what I do.” Yeah, really low for playing basketball.

Maybe some teachers and social workers can scrape some money together to donate to your kids’ needs.

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