is waiting for the season to start
Join Date: Apr 2008
Feschuk: NBA players see “relatives” multiply as holidays draw near
Good read... Kobe takes a helicoptor to "work" everyday to avaoid LA traffic and Bonners still driving a '06 Grand Prix lol
Ah, the joys of being an NBA player at the holidays. The Raptors, for instance, get a Christmas break that will last most of four days. And during those lazy hours some of them, if history repeats, will also get text and phone messages from vaguely familiar numbers requesting random acts of generosity.
“This the time of the season when NBA (players) find out we have new family,” Reggie Evans, the Raptors forward, pointed out on Twitter a while back. “And the first thing they ask is can they have some money.”
Don’t get it wrong: It is, Evans will acknowledge, the season of giving, and acts of charity are annual NBA rites. But for the league’s athletes, it’s also supposed to be the year of saving. With union chief Billy Hunter recently proclaiming a “99 per cent” chance of a lockout after the current collective bargaining agreement expires in the summer, players are being encouraged to sock away their own personal work-stoppage war chests. Though usually synonymous with lavish spending, NBAers will have you believe their austerity measures are sincere and real.
In other words, if you’re on the gift list of a pro — or, um, trying to get on one — don’t be expecting the usual loot. Kobe Bryant, who earns about $25 million in annual salary and takes a helicopter to work every day to avoid L.A. traffic, told reporters in Toronto on the weekend that he was buying his two daughters “Transformers”—as in, regular-folk toys in lieu of, say, the pure-bred unicorns you might expect to land under the trees of the offspring of athletic elite. And perhaps the modest hauls will go both ways. Evans, when his family asked him what he wants to unwrap, said he could think of just two items: “Starburst and Skittles.”
You can argue Evans is attempting to teach by example. But he’s a generous man who makes $5 million (all figures U.S.) a year, a rare success story who grew up in a hardscrabble housing project in his native Pensacola, Fla. And so the calls come.
“Out of the blue moon it’s, ‘Hey, I’m such and such, and I know your momma ...’ That can be pretty much accurate. But I’m like, ‘I ain’t got time for new relatives popping up,’” said Evans, 30, and currently out of the lineup with a foot injury. “People are just coming at you in so many different ways (asking for money), and Christmas season brings ’em out, I guess. I end up changing my number.”
Said Derek Fisher, the L.A. Lakers guard who is the president of the union: “Everybody knows what you do and how much you make. So you’re going to have more requests to make donations and do things at this time of year. I think guys are still being very generous for the most part, but they have to be very careful about not spreading themselves too thin.”
Sometimes it’s difficult to know how to take vows of frugality from NBA types. In a league in which the average salary now tops $5 million a season, the players’ penchant for conspicuous consumption is a popular assumption. It was only a few years ago that the players’ association, worried about the out-of-control spending of its members, circulated a startling statistic, warning active players that some 60 per cent of NBA players go broke five years after they’re out of the league. That number, a union spokesman now claims, was more scare tactic than verifiable fact, although the list of financially trouble alumni is sobering.
Princely spending is a problem for some, although Matt Bonner, the former Raptor who now plays for the San Antonio Spurs, cheerily pointed out that he is still driving the 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix he bought a few years back, and the Wall Street Journal recently reported that Knicks guard Roger Mason Jr., in a decision triggered by impending labour unrest, has traded in his Bentley convertible for a used Cadillac Escalade. Still, while vanity and gluttony and greed have marked the evaporation of many an athlete’s fortune, a less sinister human trait can also be the cause. As Jarrett Jack, the ex-Raptors guard from Washington, D.C., was saying a while back, generosity, and too much of it, can lead to financial ruin, too.
“People wonder how somebody who makes what we make can blow it, but it’s a lot easier than you would think. It’s a lot easier. Trust me . . . You can really blow it. I know what I’m talking about,” Jack said. “Just think about it. You’ve got a mom and dad, so if you came into some money, you probably would shoulder their financial responsibilities. Sister, brother? You’d probably help them as well. Maybe they’re in school, you pay their tuition. Maybe you pay off your mom and dad’s house. You might buy them a new car. And let’s not forget your mortgage, your new car. You might have a wife and kid, take care of them. A baby mama. It’s not just money coming to you.
“I’m not saying it’s not manageable. It is. But friends can ask for things. It can get out of control if you don’t know how to handle it — especially when you’re young. It happens fast.”
That doesn’t mean Evans, like many players, doesn’t share the wealth. Lockout or none, this month he held his annual barbecue for the residents of his old neighbourhood, complete with food for all, and prizes of NBA jerseys and balls. But even Santa has his limits.
“You’ve got to be careful how you take care of your family members, because a lot of family don’t want to work. They want to sit on their butt and collect from you,” Evans said. “I actually love people who come and say, ‘I want to borrow some money.’ Because when they say they want to borrow some money, I know they’re not going to give the money back. So when they ask for more money, I say, ‘You already owe me some money.’ You discredit yourself one time, and when you come back, the bank’s closed. Thank you very much, and have a good Christmas.”
Artile: NBA players see ?relatives? multiply as holidays draw near - thestar.com
Last edited by Ex2k; 12-22-2010 at 02:36 AM.