Lebron Should be Named NBA MVP

Image result for images of basketballMOST VALUABLE PLAYER: LEBRON JAMES

After watching the NBA Playoffs my opinion was solidified even more as to why Lebron James deserves to be named the NBA MVP and not James Harden or anyone else as a matter fact. Let’s look at the ups and downs of the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.

The Cavs started the season with Derrick Rose, who turned out to be a total head case. Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder were big disappointments. Isaiah Thomas was out with an injury and when he returned, it’s obvious that he had the Kyrie Irving syndrome. JR Smith, refused to get along with Dewayne Wade, who was nothing but an asset to the team but petty jealousy and the inability to move past Lebron and D. Wade’s friendship fueled that fire. Tristian Kardashian has done nothing but shine a big spotlight on the team with his shenanigans. Tristan nor JR were major factors during the season and their play during the playoffs has been subpar. K. Love and his panic attacks have kept him from being a factor but at the end of day, he’s making millions of dollars and needs to start performing. Kyle Korver can’t play defense or want so if he’s not making 3-point shots, he’s a waste of space on the floor and a none factor.

Luckily, Koby Altman looked at the mess and decided to shake things up and got rid of some of the problems. By doing so he brought in some good young players, who understand the importance of being a role player. However, these new players haven’t totally gotten up to speed but through it all Lebron has placed the team on his shoulders and carried it through the season and now through the playoffs. Lebron has done a lot with a little and that is what an MVP looks like to me.

You can’t say that about James Harden. Harden will collapse every time the spotlight is on him to take the team the next level. He’s not Magic Johnson, who told the team in the locker room when Kareem was out, and the championship was on the line, “No Fear 32 is here.” Harden is not Michael Jordan, who had the flu and was throwing up during a critical playoff game but goes out and gets’ the job done. He’s no Larry Bird, plagued with chronic back pain and is lying on the floor but took hit upon himself to get back in the game and win. Hell, he’s not even Steph Curry so can someone explain to me why Harden or anyone else is being considered over Lebron for the MVP award? Lebron is all of the players I mentioned and more because he’s had to do it alone in a number instances, whereas Magic, Jordan and Bird all had great supporting cast and very good coaches. Lebron has lacked both (i.e. a good supporting cast and a good coach) except for his time in Miami. He’s is averaging 34.1 points per elimination game this playoff series, which is more than Jordan and Chamberlain, he’s averaging more minutes and he’s 33 years old.

At the end of the day, Harden, Curry etc. have other people they can rely on and Lebron has only himself and that’s why he should be MVP.

 

 

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The World of Sports: Cocktail Hour with 1raregrl, the Muse and the Assistant

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Normally, since it’s football season, I would analyze all of the NFL football games but there has been so much going on in the sports world that I decided to do something different for my blog this week and that’s give some tidbits about a couple of professional sports.

BASEBALL:

Let’s start with the Dodgers. This team went from languishing in the bowels of “never being great again” to making it to the World Series this year. Clearly, once the team was out of the clutches of an incompetent owner to more competent owners and better management success was just around the corner. On a side note: I was watching a football game on Sunday and an announcer said that “the Astros deserve to win the World Series because the people in Houston have been through so much.” Seriously, that is one of the dumbest statements I’ve heard from an announcer and they make plenty of dumb statements. News Flash, it’s may the best team win, whether it’s the Dodgers or the Astros, don’t look for the Dodgers not to play to win or the Astros.

FOOTBALL:

The cream has not risen to the top for any NFL team. No one team is making enough waves for the media pundits to make any predictions at this time. Actually, it’s been a very interesting season and I’m glad that there are no real front runners. That being said, there are some really bad teams and honestly those teams have always been bad and will probably continue to be bad because of poor leadership from the top down to the coaching staff.

Albeit I am not a Patriots fan and never will be, the one thing I can say and will continue to say is that Belichick has gotten it right and what I mean by that statement is that his game plan is not built around a person, not even Tom Brady, it’s built around the team.

Cleveland Browns:

Let’s talk about Hue Jackson, who has become the new Jeff Fisher and Bill O’Brien of the NFL. Clearly, Jackson is having a difficult time communicating his vision for the Browns. He has a quarterback merry-go-round going on because he’s allowing the media dictate who the quarterback of the team should be. He should do what Dallas did when Troy Aikman went 1 and 15 his first year as a starter, they stuck with him and developed him and he turned out just fine.

Throwing DeShone Kizer under the bus in front of the media because he stayed out late on a Friday night and the game was on Sunday was unprofessional and classless. Besides, it was Friday night, young people are able to do that without a problem. If he had a problem with it, he should have discussed it with him privately and not told the world. Someone needs to communicate to Hue Jackson that great leaders inspire people and that’s not what he’s doing.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

Big Ben’s head clearly is not in the game and it’s time for him to move on.

Atlanta Falcons:

What is it going to take for the Falcons to realize that Matt Ryan is not a leader in pressure situations? Why does the offensive coordinator continue to call for a pass play on short shortage instead of running the ball? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Matt Ryan is not that guy. This is why it’s important to win when you go to the Super Bowl, because you may NEVER get back there regardless of how much talent you have on the team.

Denver Broncos:

Defense wins games but the team still needs to have some semblance of an offense. Trevor Siemen is young and they just need to stick with him. I am all about giving the young QB’s an opportunity but the team has to have a coach that has the ability to communicate effectively with the GM.

Los Angeles Rams:

The jury is still out, I don’t care how many games they win.

San Diego Chargers:

Yes, I said San Diego Chargers. They need to return home. I don’t care how much of a media darling Philip Rivers is, he’s not a Hall of Fame QB. Honestly, it’s time for him to hang up his cleats as well.

Miami Dolphins:

They called Jay Cutler out of retirement, paid him millions of dollars and now he’s out for he’s season. Oh well those are the breaks, no pun intended.

Basketball:

Celtics:

Kyrie Irving wanted to be the “focal” point of a team and now he has the opportunity since Gordon Hayward is out for the season. The strange thing about him wanting to be the focal point is that he was that before LeBron turned to the Cavs and as Shaq put it “he didn’t do anything.” If the rumors are true that Kyrie was taking advice from Kobe Bryant, a man who was accused of rape and has no friends because he’s inept at fostering relationships, good luck with being the “focal point” of anything accept your ego.

Thunder:

The BIG three on this team will be amazing once they figure out how to ensure that everyone on the team gets’ involved.  The Thunder will be one of the teams to beat in the West.

Cavaliers:

There is a great deal of talent on this team and once they figure out how to play together, they will win another championship.  LeBron is the best player in the league by far.  D. Wade won a championship in college and won a NBA championship before LeBron so he knows how to win.  Honestly, T. Lue needs to improve his substitution abilities.  His substitutions suck and that’s real talk.

Check out Oneraregrl Live on Facebook tonight at 9:00 PM Central time and 7:00 PM, PST.

1raregrl

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#dougwilliamsNHOF

NBA Owners vs. NFL Owners

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It’s my opinion that NBA owners are more progressive than NFL owners. Some people want to say it’s “old money” versus “new money.”  It is my opinion it’s ignorance vs progression, plain and simple.  As the old saying goes “Ignorance is Bliss.”

It is blatantly evident that the NFL owners decided to blackball Colin Kaepernick because he openly expressed his displeasure with the police brutality taking place in this country against people of color by kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. The Miami Dolphins chose to hire Jay Cutler, who had retired from football and was a mediocre quarterback at best, instead of giving Kap an opportunity.  The Baltimore Ravens sent a survey to fans and ultimately decided not to hire Kap.  This kind of blatant shunning of a player is sickening.  Colin has not committed any crimes, beaten his girlfriend or broken any laws but because he chose to exercise his constitutional rights, the owners have blackballed him under the guise of “fear of losing” fan support, which is garbage and we all know it.

I never approved of what Colin did, not because I felt that he was wrong but because I knew this would be the end result of not thinking his actions through. At the end of the day, a person cannot do what they want to do on their employer’s dime, without suffering the consequences.  That being said, NFL owners lack the mental fortitude needed to become more of a player oriented league and stand up for what is right.  NFL owners are greedy and don’t really care about the players or the fans.  They only care about lining their own pockets and to hell with everyone else.

Mark Cuban said it best when he was asked to provide his thoughts on the Colin Kaepernick situation, Cuban said: “I don’t know what his status is in the NFL, but I’m glad the NBA doesn’t have a politician litmus test for our players.” “I’d like to think we encourage our players to exercise their constitutional rights….  Cuban’s statement reflects the difference between NBA owners and NFL owners.

I’m going to end this blog with Cuban’s statement because in my opinion that sums it up in a nutshell.

1RAREGRL

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#dougwilliamsNHOF

 

 

 

 

The Genie is out of the Bottle: Only the League can put the Genie Back

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I’m sure my readers are perplexed about this title and wondering what the heck I’m referring to. Well, I’m referring to the lack of competitive spirit that is rampant across the NBA.  Take the San Antonio/Rockets game five, what happened to James Harden, who’s being touted as the next MVP, really?  Is that what an MVP looks like in the NBA nowadays?  Unfortunately, the answer is yes that is what an MVP in the NBA looks like today.

Sportscasters are saying that Harden’s performance was lackluster, he didn’t show up, was the real James Harden kidnapped and the list goes on but at the end of the day the problem is bigger than James Harden. Don’t get bogged down in heaping negative comments on Harden about his lack of play.

With the exception of LeBron James, and a few honorable mentions like Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Kawahi Leonard, the NBA lacks players that have a true competitive spirit. The reason for this lack of competitiveness is most of the players in the league today are one and done in college. Therefore, what fans are being forced to watch are young men who are not coachable, lack a competitive spirit and don’t know how to win.

Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, are players that spent three (3) years or more in college. Magic and Bird brought their rivalry to the league and it made for great basketball history but we don’t see that any longer.  Michael Jordan won the National Title as a freshmen and he spent two (2) more years in college but never won the title again because it’s hard.  Those additional years give players a competitive spirit; they’re taught how to be a team and how to strive for success against the odds.  NBA fans are forced to watch microwave basketball players.  They’re in college for a hot minute, come to the NBA and perform like freshman college player for years.

They spend more time on social media than they do working on their craft and that’s because they don’t understand the fundamentals of basketball and you only get that from time and coaching. Today’s players are drafted into the NBA and told to use their athleticism to win a championship for a team, well that’s not working very well at all.  Instead, fans are watching teams fall apart if they get behind.  We’ve only seen the Cavaliers fall behind and come back.  That’s because of LeBron James and although he came into the league out of high school he had a different group of players to mimic and that’s why he’s the last of the Mohegan’s in the NBA.

It’s time for league to realize that they have got to put the “genie” back in the bottle or the games will continue to get worst and the game will lose more and more fans.

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At This Tick Of The Watch It’s All About Skill and LeBron James has Skills

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As I watched game three (3) of the Cavaliers and Pacers, I wasn’t shocked that the Pacers were leading in the first half. I would have been shocked if they were losing.  After all, they were playing at home and the Cavs hadn’t been playing much defense in recent months.

That being said, my expectation was that the game would be closer than what it was at half time.  It was great seeing how hyped up the Pacers players were and the energy from the crowd because that brings another dimension to the home team.  However, that same hype can be a turning point for a team and I knew the Pacers were going to lose game three when Stephenson made a great shot and screamed “this is our house” on the court.  I looked at him and said, “The Pacers just lost the game.”

There was something inside of me that said, the Cavs will come out in the second half and play like the champions they are.  What I didn’t expect to see were Kyrie, K. Love and T. Thompson sitting on the bench most of the time but that was one of the best coaching decisions T. Lue has made during this playoff series.  It also speaks volumes to the professionalism of the starters on the team.  They were well aware that for whatever reason they didn’t have it that day and the other team members did so they encouraged Coach Lue, to allow the other players to play and leave them on the bench.

Another very important thing that was shown was LBJ’s ability to elevate the game of the other members on the team.  LeBron was absolutely amazing in that game and he has proven time and time again why he’s by far the best player in the NBA right now.  I’m not taking anything away from Westbrook, Curry, Paul, Thomas, Leonard, Harden and the list goes on but LBJ is in a league all by himself and his skills are dominate on the court.

I was watching the game and screaming every time LBJ sailed down the middle of the lane and Pacer players just moved out of his way because they knew there was nothing and I do mean nothing they could do to stop him.  LBJ can be named the MVP each season but that’s not what he’s about, he is about the team effort and winning championships.  His determination is unmatched in my book because when he gets’ that look in his eyes and lowers his shoulders, that’s when you know it’s all about skill and LBJ has a lot of skills.

1raregrl

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#dougwilliamsNHOF

Professional All-Star Games: A joke or what?

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Fans have been asked to PAY and sit through “All-Stars” games for the NFL, MLB and the NBA for far too long and get nothing in return. The attendance at the NFL Pro Bowl saw decreases through the years when it was held in Honolulu but attendance increased when it was held in Glendale, Arizona and Orlando, Florida in 2015 and 2017, respectively. I am not a fan of the NFL Pro Bowl because there is too high of a propensity for players to be injured playing in a game that doesn’t mean anything.  With respect to the NFL Pro Bowl, it is my recommendation that the players be given a lettermen jacket and a check.  Stop requiring the players to play in a game that could result in them having a career ending injury.

The MLB All-Star game was a joke initially because there was no incentive to win and if there was a tie, the game could end in a tie, which resulted in fans crying foul. In an effort to prevent tie games and provide additional incentive to win, MLB reached an agreement with the players union to award home-field advantage for the World Series to the champion of the league that won the All-Star Game.  After several extensions it was agreed that awarding home field advantage to the winning league would remain in place until 2016.  Starting in 2017, home field advantage in the World Series will go to the league championship team with the highest regular season win-loss record.  I wonder if this change will cause the game to go back to having tie games and the players not having an to incentive win.  Only time will tell.

The NBA All-Star game is a total joke and something needs to be done sooner rather than later. Fans spend a lot of money during All-Star weekend and are not getting a return on their investment.  The skills contest, 3-point shooting and dunk contests are absolutely horrible.  Why don’t more players participate in the contests? Why are only four players participating in the dunk contest?  Yet, during the “joke” all-star game several players are dunking like crazy?  Why didn’t Steph Curry and James Harden participate in the 3-point shooting contest?  The all-star game is supposed to be the elite of the elite in the league and they should give the fans something to cheer about.  Instead, they are boring people to tears and charging fans a fee to see them be the Harlem Globetrotters.

Some fans of the game are saying the players are afraid to lose because it could impact their brand. Really, I thought being a competitive basketball player was their brand and more importantly their job. If that’s truly the case, these players are selfish and don’t need to play in the All-Star game.

Fans pay to see a competition, not men patting each other on the back and feeding each other’s egos. If this continues, my recommendation is to give the NBA All-Star players a lettermen jacket, a check and let them be on their way as well.  There is no need for fans to pay to see weak performances.

 

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New York Knicks: The Saga Continues….. There is a Storm Brewing

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The two pots represent Dolan and Jackson

The saga of the New York Knicks continues. Let me start by saying although the Knicks are the beloved basketball team of the Big Apple, the team has only garnered marginal success through the years.  The team has only won two NBA Championships and that was back in the early 70’s.  The Knicks won the NBA Championship in 1970 and 1973.  To be the largest market for NBA basketball it has been difficult to sustain good coaches and good talent.

The problems confronting the Knicks today are the same problems they’ve had in the past. Clearly, the Knicks biggest problem is management and that’s even more evident given the Phil Jackson public lashings of Carmelo Anthony and James Dolan’s dislike for Charles Oakley that spilled over into a full blown debacle a couple of days ago that resulted in Oakley being removed from the arena and arrested.  The fallout from this mess is coming fast and furious.  First, James Dolan fired Frank Benedetto, the Senior Vice President for security of Madison Square Garden today saying “the termination is related to the Oakley incident.”  Second, Dolan has banned Charles Oakley from coming to Madison Square Garden and stated “hopefully not forever.”  If I’m Charles Oakley, it’s forever because I would NEVER set foot in Madison Square Garden again.

On to Phil Jackson and his recent antics where Carmelo Anthony is concerned. It is never appropriate or professional to chastise an employee in public which is exactly what Jackson has been doing to Carmelo lately.  Jackson making statements that Carmelo holds the ball too long, which results in timing issues for the team when running the triangle offense.  At what point is Phil Jackson going to realize that he’s the GM, not the coach, and that the team rarely runs his 100 year old triangle offense?  Tweeting references about Carmelo shows his lack of leadership in the role of a GM.  Clearly, he lacks the skills necessary to be the GM and should probably consider moving on and trying to get a coaching job somewhere.

Next on the list of Knicks debacles was the treatment of Charles Oakley at the Knicks game a couple of days ago. Charles Oakley purchased a ticket to the game and for reasons unknown to anyone, security went up to him and asked him to leave the arena.  Seriously, who does that?  Charles Oakley is saying that he didn’t do anything to deserve being removed from the arena.  Several sources have reported that management is saying Oakley was making derogatory remarks and appeared to be impaired.  When several members of the security team went up to Oakley and asked him to leave, it caused him to become angry and get into a shoving match with security personnel which resulted in him being arrested and booked for assault.  Question: Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have one person speak to Charles Oakley, instead of a group?  I would not have been comfortable with a group of security people telling me to leave the arena and I had purchased a ticket.  Come on people, what has happened to just respect for others?

Rumor has it that because Charles Oakley has been critical of the Knicks management, it has resulted in him having a tempestuous relationship with James Dolan, the owner.  As a result of this simmering distain Dolan and Oakley have for each other, Dolan would prefer that Oakley not attend games and has subsequently banned him.  Okay, if Dolan is that small minded, he’s just stupid and an idiot. Why would you stop someone from purchasing a ticket to a basketball game? Also, why would he remove/ban a player that played ten (10) years for the team because he made some unflattering remarks about the organization’s management?  Were the statements true, so you couldn’t handle the truth?  News Flash, it’s a basketball game and people make all sorts of remarks all the time, including booing the referees.  Are you going to start removing fans from games now?

Given the current climate, I don’t see any A-List free agents being interested in going to the Knicks.  Dolan should ask Mark Cubin what happens when you do and say stupid things about players in the NBA.

This is not the NFL folks the NBA players run the League!!!

 

#1raregrl#nflplayershealthinsurance4life#dougwilliamsNHOF

Athletes and Drugs: Is it primarily an NFL Thing?

 

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It has long been a question in my mind given the number of NFL athletes that are sanctioned for illegal use of drugs each year, if NFL athletes are the biggest offenders. I just don’t get it.  Sadly, most of the athletes in the news are NFL players so I decided to research 2016 and determine which professional sport has the most athletes either fined or suspended for drug use.

Based on the information I was able to locate for 2016 from Spotrac the numbers are as follows:

  • NFL suspended or fined 32 athletes;
  • NBA suspended or fined 2 players; (O.J. Mayo has been banned for 2 years); and
  • MLB suspend or fined 82 players and this number includes minor league baseball players as well.

Spotrac is a source that tracks suspensions/fines assessed on players by all of the professional sports teams. If you would like to check my source you can go to www.spotrac.com/nba/finessuspensions.

Another piece of information that I found interesting is that a lot of these players are suspended or fined for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) use. Athletes are also suspended/fines for issues related to domestic violence, fighting, illegal hits etc., which the above-referenced numbers do not include.  Unfortunately, drugs whether it’s PED or some other substance is the biggest problem.  One thing to keep in mind is that 2016 is not over so more fines to come.

The leagues make an enormous amount of money from these suspensions/fines. The NFL is making approximately $16M in 2016 from these suspension/fines.  I can understand when tempers flare on the field and a fight breaks out because as the old saying goes “boys will be boys” but the drug thing is mindboggling.  They may as well just set their money on fire because that’s what you’re doing when you purchase illegal drugs and end up getting popped for it.

Are basketball players less likely to do drugs than football and baseball players? With respect to my initial question, clearly drugs are not just an NFL problem and NFL players are not the biggest offenders.  It crosses all of the professional sports and ethnicities but the problem is real and it’s one that has to be dealt with.

Should consideration be given to legalizing certain drugs?

1RAREGRL

#NFL#players#healthinsurance4life

The Disparity between the NBPA, NFLPA and MLB just keeps Growing

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With the recent approval by the NBPA to retroactively extend health insurance to retired players with three (3) years or more of service in the NBA, I’m going to ask a question that I’ve been asking since I started writing my blog, why don’t NFL players have better health insurance once they retire?

The NFL is the most profitable of all the professional sports and the most violent, yet it has the worst player contracts and the worst health insurance. Why?  There are a couple of answers to this question, one being that the NFLPA lacks the leadership to effectively make changes around player contracts and health insurance.  Another response would be that the owners have all the power and the players have none.  Also, the media plays a huge role in this disparity as well.  The media constantly reports on the “big money” contracts the NFL players receive.  Believe me when I say, a lot of those contracts are “smoke and mirrors.”

The only real “guaranteed” money is the signing bonus; the rest of the contract is primarily tied to contingencies, performance etc. In most instances, a team can release a player at any time and the player’s money is gone unless he gets’ picked up by another team.

When an NFL player retires they only receive health insurance for five (5) years after retirement. That’s insane when most of the ailments that come with having your head and body knocked around like a rag doll don’t kick in for decades after the players have retired.

The NFLPA is in dire need of a leader of Michelle Roberts caliber, the Executive Director for the NBPA. The NFLPA needs to fight for better guaranteed contracts and health insurance.  It would be very difficult for NFL players to pay into a health insurance plan for retired players because the bulk of their contracts are structured poorly and since most of the money isn’t really guaranteed they don’t have a lot of incentive to reach back and help those that have come before them.

Food for thought:  NFL players allow the media to goad them into making negative comments about other players.  This behavior will keep them divided and the only way they’re going to make any strides against the League and the owners is to work together collectively.  The players need to strike and give serious consideration to changing the current pay structure.  The pay structure should be changed whereby the players are paid over nine (9) or twelve (12) months, instead of sixteen (16) weeks.  This would be an incentive to the owners because the owners get to keep money in their accounts longer, earn interest and have longer investment options.  Also, this kind of payment plan will hopefully help players budget better, retain their money longer and refrain from frivolous spending.

1RAREGRL

Why African-American athletes are asked what they are going to buy?

 

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It never fails every time an African-American athlete receives a notable contract the media immediately ask, how they plan to spend their money.  Why?  Most recently C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trailblazers was asked what his purchases would be with his increase in salary.  Dirk Nowitziki and Kevin Love received notable contracts and neither of them was asked how they plan to spend their money.

This question assumes that all black athletes come from poverty and have no desire to do anything except spend their money without any forethought.  It is these kinds of questions that continue to shape the opinions about people and the media is the primary source of this kind of mind control.  An increase in salary doesn’t mean that the person is going to go out and purchase a bigger house, a fancier car or throw it away gambling.  It annoys me that the media puts these young men on the spot every single time their contract changes financially.

The media makes a point of highlighting the salaries of athletes, which I feel is unprofessional and classless. In the real world, salaries are never discussed and it’s really taboo because it can create animosity in the workplace.  I understand that professional athletes are bound by their respective collective bargaining agreements and discussions regarding salaries are common but the media shines a spotlight on the athletes to a degree that is borderline sinister and mean spirited.  How an athlete plans to spend his money is nobody’s business, especially not the media, who is lying in wait for the athletes to make a mistake so that they can say how the person didn’t deserve the money.

The next time an athlete is asked that question, he should asked the reporter how he spent his last raise.

1RAREGRL