Perhaps Dwyane Wade should learn to hit. You know, scrap the basketball career that has held him down for so long, and learn to play a sport where he can make some real money.
Maybe he and LeBron James should ask Ozzie Guillen, the new manager of the soon-to-be Miami Marlins, for an invitation to spring training. I mean, come on. These guys have families to feed.
Just when you thought your hatred for the trash-talking, self-promoting, under-achieving, fourth quarter-collapsing Miami Heat couldn’t rise to a new level, here comes D-Wade complaining about how underpaid he and his fellow NBA stars truly are. During a lockout, no less, with a commissioner-imposed deadline of today to have an agreement in sight, or risk losing the entire season.
To be fair, Wade didn’t bring the issue up on his own, but his response to a Yahoo! Sports question about how much NBA stars are truly worth gave us a new insight into just how out of touch these people really are.
Wade is scheduled to make roughly $16 million for the upcoming season, if it’s played, yet he believes he’s being cheated. So what, in his mind, would be fair compensation for a player of his skill in the NBA?
That’s right. Triple his current salary. Wade believes he would be making $50 million per season if it weren’t for that pesky salary cap.
“In terms of driving revenue, if the NBA had no cap,” he said Wednesday, “I’m sure [bidding for my services] would get to $50 million.”
“Like baseball, where they have no cap, you see the players that fill arenas, that people come out to see ... look at how much money they make on their deals.”
Dang. If only dad had taught him curve balls instead of jump shots. Truth is, of course, that no player in baseball has ever had even a $30 million average per year contract, but don’t bother Dwayne with facts while he’s negotiating.
“You’ve got guys — starting with Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe and LeBron — all players that individually people wanted to come to see,” Wade said. “For what they’ve done for the game ... their organizations ... I don’t think you can really put a dollar amount on it.”
Except for that $50 million amount. You can put that on it.
So while arena workers, vendors, ushers, floor sweepers, merchandise sellers, ticket-takers and parking lot attendants — just to name a few — risk having their incomes deleted by the cancellation of the NBA season, the players are negotiating with the owners from a standpoint of, “Shut up and be grateful we’re not demanding what we’re REALLY worth.”
In the recent NFL lockout, I came to the defense of the players for the first time in any major sports labor dispute.
I thought the owners, who were making guaranteed fortunes every year from their billion dollar television contracts, were wrong to demand another billion dollars of the revenue split in their agreement with players whose contracts are NOT guaranteed. An NFL owner can cut an underperforming or injured player any time he wishes, without having to pay the balance of a multimillion dollar contract.
Not so in the NBA. Many NBA owners are taking a bath under the current agreement. The league’s “soft cap” has allowed so much of the talent to congregate in just a few major cities that the rest of the franchises can’t bring fans through the turnstiles often enough to meet their expenses and make profits that can be poured back into their teams.
And Dwyane Wade is grumbling about not making “baseball” money?
Commissioner David Stern has said that an agreement must be in sight today at the latest, or the entire season may be scrubbed.
Let them scrub it. See how much Wade and his pals make playing X-Box for the next seven months.
Unless they go to Europe, which is fine. They can go wherever they want. Just as long as they go.
Bob Frantz is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.