n the wake of the death of Sean Taylor, the Washington Redskins safety who was shot in his Miami-area home on Monday, some pro athletes are talking like they are on high alert.
"You are aware that you're a target," Allen Iverson, the Denver Nuggets all-star, was telling reporters the other day. "A lot of people want what you've got."
What they've got, many of them, is hard to miss. Take wristwatches, for instance. On an evening not long ago, an NBA player stood courtside wearing a diamond-encrusted wristwatch that, if it could have talked, might have been heard to shout: "I am worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or, if you're philosophically against paying retail, at least a few Gs at any reputable pawn shop!"
It didn't impress one observer, a street-smart type who has worked as a security guard for pro jocks.
"That's the kind of stuff," he said, "that keeps me in business."
Indeed, ostentatious displays of outrageous wealth aren't on the recommended list for players hoping to avoid being the next target of what some are calling a criminal trend. This past summer saw a couple of Chicago-based NBAers – Antoine Walker and Eddy Curry – bound with duct tape by thieves while their suburban mansions were ransacked. In September, NFL cornerback Dunta Robinson was held at gunpoint while his Houston-area home was robbed.
And the list of victims – which includes Lamar Odom of the L.A. Lakers, robbed at gunpoint last year – goes on.
"I guess you've got to start circling the block before you go home," said Raptors
point guard T.J. Ford. "People following you home (as the thieves did in the Walker case) ... that stuff is getting a lot scarier, to tell you the truth. People coming into people's homes, that's scary, especially when you've got kids around."