The Rich are Different

Especially the Tall Ones


by Wilt ("The Stilt") Walton


I didn't pay much attention to this Latrell Spewell thang until recently, when an arbitrator decided to reduce the length of his supsension and reinstate his contract with the Golden State Warriors. I generally ignore sports news (with the exception of the Grand Holy Sport of Professional Football), and when the Sprewell story first broke I just briefly logged and noted it.

But now I'm steamed.

Let me put it to you this way. What do you think would happen to YOU if you went off the handle at work and punched out your boss?

Hmm. Let me think about this one for a minute...

First, I think you'd be making a bee line for the want ads.

Second, you might consider hiring a decent lawyer to keep you out of jail. (But lawyers are expensive, and you ain't got no job.)

On the other hand, if you are a member of the American royal class known as the "professional athlete," you might just shrug your shoulders, adjust your crown, and aim your Ferrari in the general direction of the next foxhunt.

"Oh, Latrell, your royal highness, we just can't live without you and your awesome basketball skills. Please forgive us for being so rash and inflicting this draconian punishment on you for what was so obviously an unfortunate misunderstanding. Here, take this $16 million dollars as a small token of our sincere remorse for our foolhardy actions."

I don't know who the owner of the Golden State Warriors is, but he can probably empathize with a man of Sprewell's elite status. The rich are different from you and me, as Scott Fitzgerald famously remarked. In the middle of all this is the team's coach, who actually has to work for a living. Oh, sure, he gets the big bucks, too, but he also gets the thankless job of playing the maestro in an ongoing game of "musical egos." And if the team sucks, who gets the bum's rush? Latrell Sprewell? No, I don't think so.

"Gee, Latrell, the Golden State Warriors really stink this season. Your scoring average is down. You seem a bit distracted. Here, take this hefty salary increase, maybe you'll feel better."

Of course, not having attained the dizzying heights of wealth and fame experienced by demigods such as Latrell Sprewell, I am in no position to pass judgement. So sue me. Better yet, slap me upside the head a few times and then stomp me viciously. Maybe afterwards, I'll apologize for existing and hand you a few million bucks.

Then again, maybe I won't. After all, as my Uncle Spludd used to say, "Life just ain't fair."

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