The NBA lockout is of concern to NBA fans and sports casters, even though it shouldn't be because there is zero percent*
*that's the fewest percents as you can have!
chance they'll miss any of the regular season, and even if the regular NBA season was canceled in its entirety, would that be so bad? It's meaningless, anyhow, and just allows people to think that LeBron James might actually be good at basketball.
What the NBA fans and sports casters aren't talking about, at least prior to today, are the people who actually are affected by the NBA lockout -- the people who work for the teams and who now are starting to be laid off. You may have heard of them: They're the team employees who don't get signing bonuses starting in the millions, and so they can't afford to take three months off without pay.
Luckily for them -- or at least two of them-- the Heroic Lifesaving Angelic Probably-Would-Be-Elected-God-But-He's-Still-Pretty-Humble Kobe Bryant**,
**why is there no emoticon for sarcasm?
and other LA Lakers have leaped to the rescue. Or, at least, "dropped their pocket change and decided not to pick it up" to the rescue:
Kobe Bryant insisted on giving some of the team’s playoff bonus to two members of the Lakers’ video department whose contracts were not renewed after the season.
Chris Bodaken and Patrick O’Keefe split about $65,000 of the Lakers’ playoff bonus. Bodaken started with the Lakers as a ball boy in 1986 and spent the last 10 seasons as their director of video services. O’Keefe was the Lakers’ video coordinator for six seasons. They both hope to be re-hired by the team when the NBA lockout ends. For now, they are thankful for Bryant’s financial gesture.
My source for that quote is "The Hoop Doctors," which called the move a "nice gesture" by the Lakers. (I heard similar sentiments on CNN, home of the staged walkout.)
And gesture it is. In that a gesture helps out not at all. Imagine a starving Ethiopian. This'll help you:
Now gesture at those kids. Give them a wave. Or a thumbs up. Feel better about yourself?
Neither should Kobe and the Lakers.
The NBA pools playoff money and gives it to teams based on how far they advance in the playoffs, and the teams vote on what to do with it. The Lakers last year got $604,000 in playoff money, and voted to give 10% of their bonus to two guys who are out of work.
"They're a huge part of our team," said one player.(Source.) No, they're not. They're at best less than 10% of the extra money your team makes.
Let's put this gesture in perspective.
The LA Lakers were valued at $584 million by Forbes in 2008, the latest year I could find. That was more than double the value just 9 years before. Their revenue that year was $191,000,000. Even with the recession, they're rolling in money.
Oh, and they're going to pay Kobe Bryant $25,000,000 THIS YEAR ALONE. That's on top of the $24,000,000 they paid this spoiled jerk last year, and in advance of the $27,000,000 he's supposed to make next year.
In 2010, all but two of the players on the Lakers' roster earned over $1,000,000; of the three who didn't earn that, two earned $474,000.
And they voted to give $65,000 to two guys who are unemployed.
Now knowing all that, I think we can see exactly what gesture it is the players made to these two guys -- it involves the middle finger, and the players showing exactly what they think of the lower-level employees who work for their company.
Well, F$#*(# them, I say. Why are they being given any credit? Why is this story being reported as something good? This is no more good than Kobe high-fiving those guys on the way out the door.
Kobe Bryant could pay their entire salaries and not notice the money missing from his account. But he's a hero because he voted to give a miniscule portion of some of the extra money he was offered last year to a few unemployed guys? He takes a helicopter to work, and I'm supposed to applaud him for leaving a small amount of money on the table.
I like sports as much as the next guy. But I think it's time we started actually thinking about what it is we're idolizing, and stopped pretending that every single thing some genetic-lottery winner does is worth kissing his a$# over. You want to cheer for someone when they put forth effort in 40% of their playoff games, that's your prerogative. But the lead on this story should've been "Selfish athletes vote to screw over little people."