The Commish Online                                                                                
NBA: Living in Hell on $17 mil/year
December 12, 2003
by William K. Wolfrum

NBA players have it rough. Really rough. There are racist elements surrounding the league, complicated plots and conspiracies and nightmarish authority figures trying to control these proud athletes.

We know this is true, because they tell us all the time.

This week, two high-profile players came forward with their own personal plights of woe. For Rasheed Wallace and Antoine Walker, telling their stories was painful, but necessary.

First, on Wednesday, Wallace lashed out at David Stern and the rest of the NBA, saying the league exploited African-Americans in brutal and nasty ways.

"That's why they're drafting all these high school cats, because they come into the league and they don't know no better. They don't know no better, and they don't know the real business, and they don't see behind the charade."

What is Wallace, who is making $17 million this year, angry about? Well, it seems the NBA is trying, in an Oliver Stone-like conspiracy, to have its players do charity work, or at least appear to be doing charity work.

"They try to glorify stuff with the media being there when they do things in the community, but that's not me,” Wallace said. “I don't need a TV camera to let me know on the inside that I'm doing something good."

Wallace is standing tall in a sea of madness. Sure, he’s been arrested for marijuana possession, nailed with 41 technical fouls a couple years ago and consistently comes as the biggest jerk this side of Saddam. It doesn’t matter though. The man can score 20 points a game easy, and has no fear of NBA Gestapo.

"I'm not scared of the NBA. I'm not scared of the NBA officials. If I feel as though myself or my teammates have been dealt a wrong hand, I'm going to let it be known,” Wallace said. “I'm not going to sit up here like most of these cats and bite my tongue. That's not me."

Rage on noble warrior. It is refreshing to see a young man stand up against the ruthless NBA, regardless of the ridiculousness of it all.

Aside from the NBA itself, another prime villain was pointed out this week by Walker. His name is Danny Ainge, currently director of basketball operations of the Boston Celtics. Ainge obviously set out to destroy Walker, and Antoine is not going to have it.

"I can't understand it, unless he was trying to put me in a situation where he didn't want me to succeed," Walker said. "Obviously, he's going to ship me West. He didn't think individually I'd shine in Dallas, maybe team-wise. But if I'm putting up minimum numbers and I'm just an average player with this team, he can live with that because he knows that's what he's going to get in return anyways, with Raef (LaFrentz)."

Oh, Ainge, you devious bastard. The former Toronto Blue Jays .200 hitter blatantly lied when responding to Walker’s outrage.

“Time will answer all the questions,” Ainge said. “I'm not going to get into a squabble with Antoine Walker. Every player that gets traded is emotionally hurt, and their pride is hurt, and I understand it. I've been a player and I've been traded twice. I understand his perspective.”

Any person with a basketball IQ higher than the The Rook's can see right through Ainge’s charade. There is no conceivable way he would get rid of Walker for the good of the Celtics. What Ainge did was specifically treacherous, because not only did he attempt to destroy Walker (whose scoring average has plummeted to 17 a game at Dallas), he attempted to ruin the Boston Celtics. Can’t anyone else see this?

OK, I’m sure there are skeptics who will point out that Walker, who gets paid $14 million a season to play basketball, shot 39 percent from the field and 61 percent from the free-throw line last season for the Celtics. That Walker launched eight three-pointers a game, with seven of them being poorly timed. That his rebounding dropped to 7.2 a game and that he’s not considered much of a team player.

These are just numbers people. Antoine Walker has been wronged and he is not going to stand for it. Think of him in your prayers as he sits in the sauna in Dallas with Mark Cuban personally mixing him margaritas.

These are just two cases where the NBA and its management have been outed as the evil people they are. There are so many more. Only time will tell when Kevin Garnett and his $25 million a year finally stands up about how abused he is in Minnesota. Or when Allen Iverson will denounce practices as the work of the devil.

Just remember people, basketball players, at their core, are good, strong, family loving people who would never wrong anyone. Take Kobe Bryant for instance, showing his love for wife Vanessa with a new tattoo and a $4-million diamond. That’s the kind of loyalty and love these players have in their hearts. With God on their side, someday the players will overcome the treachery of the NBA.

William K. Wolfrum is a freelance writer in Southern California.  You can reach him at