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Athletes need reality check

March 26th, 2009

With the economy in its current state, everything is affected – even sports. That apparently has the Detroit Pistons’ Rasheed Wallace losing some sleep. Wallace is scheduled to be a free agent after this season and projections are that the NBA salary cap is going to shrink in the next two seasons, giving teams less money to dish out to their players.“It’s going to change a whole way of living for some guys, having to take those pay cuts,” Wallace recently told reporters.Poor Wallace.Through the 2007-08 season, basketball-reference.com claims Wallace made $129,368,249 since he entered the professional ranks in 1995.As a player with at least ten seasons of experience, the union guarantees Wallace a salary of at least $1,306,455 next season. In 2009-10, a player new to the league will receive no less than the league minimum of $457,588.How much, exactly, will a player have to change his lifestyle? What type of lifestyle do NBA players, who averaged a salary of $5.356 million in 2009, have that can’t be financed by a few million dollars? Now I know NBA players complain that their job is physically demanding and their bodies go through hell. There are probably days when they wake up and don’t feel like they can play. They’re always on the go and rarely have time to see their family (or in the case of many NBA players, families). Still, they roll out of bed and perform in front of soldout crowds. That is just so heroic.I’m not saying what NBA players do is easy. It’s certainly not and they’re some of the best athletes, if not the best, in the entire world. But in the cities they play in, there are teachers and businessmen who don’t want to go to work, yet they do, and they are less compensated.While these tough economic times continue, Wallace may have to settle for a lousy contract of, I don’t know, $6 to 7 million this offseason when he is negotiating his deal.All I’m saying is Rasheed Wallace, and others, better think twice before asking for sympathy. They’re living in a country where you hear about mandatory furloughs every day. The economy is hitting everyone hard, Rasheed, and you’re not above that.Rasheed, next time you want to complain about your absolutely devastating financial situation, I think you should take your millions of dollars and sit in your house (the one that was featured on “MTV Cribs”) and cry to yourself. You’re not going to get much sympathy from anybody else.