Saturday, September 24, 2011

NBA Players Feel the Financial Pinch

It appears that the NBA lockout is going to kill the upcoming season. This means players are not going to be getting their usual paychecks in November. As a result, many players have looked at the option of playing overseas to replace their income. Others have had to cut back on luxuries, become more thrifty, and heaven forbid, even entertained the idea of getting a regular job.

I recently heard that Delonte West had applied for a job at Home Depot. I thought it was a joke at first, but I have seen it reported from several news sources. I'm not sure if it was just a publicity stunt, but Home Depot does have a history of employing athletes as they prepare for the Olympics.

I have mixed feelings about this. First of all, I admire someone who can swallow their pride and take a massive pay cut and is willing to work at jobs that other players may feel are below them. At the same time, I can't imagine a new employee making more than $20 an hour there, so it makes me wonder if he couldn't just find some sort of endorsement deal that would pay better. (Never mind-I just remembered that he has tattoos on his neck and a criminal record).

What really freaks me out about this story is the fact that a guy who was playing in the NBA just months ago and has 7 years experience in the league appears to be out of money. Even if you are the worst player in the NBA and sit on the bench every game and make the minimum salary, you should still be able to save enough for a situation like this.

I should not criticize others for how they handle money. I'm no Mark Cuban. I have, however, learned to live modestly since I have as many kids to support as Shawn Kemp. I'm just shocked when I hear that guys who were making good money for years are broke. He must have attended the MC Hammer school of money management.

I thought I might be of service to NBA players who find themselves in a tight spot when it comes to their finances. Since I learned how to scrape by years ago, I can share some suggestions for NBA players who may be feeling a pinch on their lifestyle as a result of the lockout.

* Trade your Mercedes in for a Kia Optima (the official car of the NBA)

* Order your soft drinks with less ice to get more for your  money.

* Marry a Kardashian. I hear they are loaded and there are still a couple left.

* Try to break into the movies like Kareem, Shaq, Rick Fox, and Gheorghe Muresan did.

* If you have a posse or entourage, you may want let some of them go since it it hard to afford parasites when times are tough.

* Go back to school and finish your degree if you never did.

* Pray the lockout ends soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Jock Strap

I remember when I graduated from grade school and moved to the big leagues of Jr. high. I was introduced to some awkward things like public showers and having to wear a jock strap during P.E. class. Since I played sports, I quickly became accustomed to athletic supporters and over time, wearing one meant that you were serious about your sport and were ready to play. It wasn't until about 5 years ago that I finally phased them out of my life.

Several years ago I wore an old supporter during a 5K race and by the time I got home, the serrated leg straps had carved some nasty lines into the back of my legs. I'm not sure what material it was made out of, but the straps may have just as well been made of bicycle chains. When I went shopping for a new one, I noticed they were harder to find and I only saw them being sold with cups for sports like martial arts and baseball.

I'm usually 10 years behind the times, so I finally realized that jock straps are "old school" have been replaced by spandex undershorts. I love them. They are comfortable and don't ever lose their elasticity and don't cause chafing. (and as an added bonus they don't put your cheeks on display for everyone in the locker room.)

An athletic supporter is to today's athlete what a rotary phone is to today's 911 dispatcher. I am glad that jock straps have joined the obsolete crowd of carburetors, vinyl records, and VHS tapes. Long live spandex undershorts!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Euroleague Insights

With the recent NBA lockout, there has been talk of some players going to Europe to play ball. I have respect for anyone who plays professional ball weather it be in the NBA or overseas. There have been many great players who have come out of Europe and I am not trying to disrespect the talent, however, I do find a couple things amusing about the European leagues.

The other day I was watching some highlights from Euroleague and nearly busted up laughing at the announcers. I believe it was a team from Greece playing one from Turkey and every player's name had about 7 syllables so it made for some tricky commentating.

The players in Europe seems to be much more physical. I think I would prefer playing against better talent and looking like an untalented fool as opposed to playing with more physical players and looking like a wimp.

What's up with the ball? The red, white, and blue balls were cool in the ABA, but the two-toned and striped ones are ugly.

I thought I had seen some ugly uniforms in the NBA over the years, but at least they were not bright neon and pin striped.

There are some other strange subtleties that I can't remember right now but watching European ball is kind of like watching a Canadian football game and then noticing something disturbing like a field goal planted in middle of the end zone.

I guess I should not be too critical of European ball since that may be all I have to watch next year for my basketball highlights if the NBA doesn't get things resolved soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tattoos in the NBA

I was recently watching an NBA All star game that I had recorded back in 1992. As I was watching the game, something jumped out at me. I could not see any tattoos on the players and Dennis Rodman was even playing in the game! Things have sure changed over the last 20 years. Now it's rare to find a player with virgin skin.

Kenyon Martin, DeShawn Stevenson, J.R. Smith, Carlos Boozer all sport a ton of tattoos, but The Birdman has taken it to new levels over the last couple of years and has to be the most inked player. Not to be outdone, Andrei Kerilenko got a beast of a tattoo on his back during the post season.

  Maybe having some winged D & D monster on his back will give AK some more lift. Maybe it will intimidate other players. It will probably just make them wonder what he was thinking.

I was recently surprised to learn that Kevin Durrant has a ton of tattoos on his torso, but you'd never know from seeing him in uniform. I suppose some guys are a little more subtle than others. That's probably a smart business move if you want to project a clean image and be more likely to get endorsements by relating to a broader segment of society.

I'm not going to judge players who opt for tattoos, but they can be distracting and I think many guys are going overboard. I just feel bad for the players who have poor quality or lame tattoos, but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.