Blinded by the giddiness of the NBA draft and impending free agency, we completely missed a significant story: in a wide-ranging interview, Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut trashed NBA players and the league’s culture for spending excessive amounts of dollars on material goods, cheating on their wives and being terrible role models. We can’t tell you enough how much we love candor from athletes, and this is a perfect example.
Here’s the scary part: the story ran in Australia two weeks ago. And the mainstream media has either ignored it, or simple doesn’t care. (Just a guess: you won’t find anyone at the four-letter writing about this … the last thing you want to do is bash your investment. Which is just another reason it’s difficult to take ESPN too seriously.) If Sports Illustrated turns this into a cover story (an Australian basketball player on the cover? Won’t sell!), Al and Jesse will head to Milwaukee to behead Bogut’s husky.
After the jump, some choice Bogut quotes and our dimestore analysis:
Bogut said: â€œThe public’s got it right – a lot of NBA stars are arrogant and like to spend lots of money and have lots of girlfriends and all that.
“The smarter guys don’t do that. They like to live a regular life and want to retire and be set up. About 80 per cent of them go broke by the time they retire or come close to it.
“We have compulsory tutoring each week where they teach you to manage your money and they tell you about all the things that can happen to you, people trying to take advantage of you, but it’s amazing how many guys totally ignore it. I guess if you’re a normal person and suddenly you’re getting $10 million a year, it can go to your head.
“But it’s just the culture over there. I would never want my child to be brought up in an environment like that, where if you have money you’re supposed to flaunt it and make everyone jealous.€
About the only thing we disagree with here is that 80 percent of NBA players probably aren’t broke when they retire. If we had to blindly guess, the number’s probably closer to 33 percent. Still, in the wake of the Marion Jones near-bankruptcy news, you can’t be completely sure.
We’re fully on the Barkley side of things in the whole ‘are athletes role models?’ debate. They shouldn’t be. But sadly, they are. Basketball isn’t like football or baseball in that you need equipment to play – you just walk out to the court in sneakers and call next.
That’s our guess as to why it’s so popular in the inner city, and that’s why urban youths are often draped in NBA jerseys. And thus the kids want to be like Kobe or LeBron or Melo … and so when Lebron talks about getting in on the rap album craze, kids are interested. And they see the commercials and the bling and the cars and the furs and the women. What impressionable kid wouldn’t want that? Think any of them know LeBron’s take on Darfur?
Again, we have no answers for this. There are no solutions. Think about it – if we capture that Mega Millions lottery this week (damn right we’re going to play – it’s up to $126 million!), how difficult will it be for us to resist the urge to splurge? You either have that switch ingrained in your skull that tells you, ‘no, that new Ferrari isn’t the smartest purchase’ or you don’t. And for whatever reason, many NBA athletes either don’t have the switch, or can’t find it. Perhaps the posse has put tape under it so said player can’t flip it?
The Bling and I (Sydney Morning Herald)
Andrew Bogut Media Blackout: Crimes Against Omission (The Starting Five)
The Bogut Identity (Armchair GM)