September 19, 2011
We've heard several times over the past few months that many NBA players live paycheck to paycheck, a state of affairs that undermines the conception that they're all overpaid children. It's amazing how expenses can pile up for young men with tons of new responsibilities.
Depending on who you ask, this lockout may last many more months. If that happens, many of these paycheck-to-paycheck players may need some financial help. The good news is that several union members are prepared to lend a helping hand, including one of the league's titans. From Lance Pugmire's interview with Billy Hunter for the Los Angeles Times (via EOB):
"They've been deeply involved in the meetings we've had. I know Kobe is intimately involved in interfacing with colleagues and sharing in a pool of revenue to help the others get through this. Kobe has volunteered to do that in the event others need, he and others are prepared to loan money if necessary."
Congrats to Hunter for engaging in serious corporate-speak by using "interfacing with colleagues" when he means "having conversations." He is certainly proving that he deserves to hold on to his job as union leader whether decertification happens or not. Not everyone understands business culture that well.
The story here is odd for a few reasons. First, we've been conditioned to think that highly paid athletes are greedy egotists, not people that would help their peers when in need. Second, that's especially true of Bryant, who has been called a ballhog and teammate-freezer-outer since shortly after he entered the league as a prep star in 1996. While Kobe isn't typically discussed as a guy with many friends around the league, it's nice to see him going to bat for other athletes now.
Then again, for all we know he'll charge obscene interest rates and cut the knee ligaments of anyone who doesn't pay him back. The man would be a terrific loan shark. He'd even have a signature maiming: manipulating the jaw into a permanent underbite.
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