99 miles from LA…(plus 1,451 more to the Toyota Center)

My fellow Americans, our long national Dwightmare is over…our system of free agency works; our great collective bargaining agreement is a CBA of limits and not of license. Here the fear of the blank checkbook rules. But there is a higher power, by whatever name we honor him—Lebron—who ordains not only scoring but passing, not only offense but defense.”

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D12 is a Rocket. Doesn’t make him an a-hole. Or an underachiever. Or afraid of Los Angeles. Doesn’t mean he can’t handle playing Kobe to Kobe’s Shaq. Doesn’t mean he made a mistake, or wronged anyone.

Fans love to gripe about everything pro athletes enjoy. The money. The connections. The Twitter followers. Fans don’t love to acknowledge the realities of life as a pro athlete that suck. The lack of privacy, for instance. Say it’s Opening Day. You call in sick to work and go to the game with a buddy. Drink some brews. Get some sun. Good times.  No worries about anyone seeing you. No worries that strangers will snap your picture and post it all over the interwebs, and that before the national anthem is over, millions of people will know you’re playing hooky.

Say your wife is about to give birth to your first child. Many, if not most jobs, are cool with you prioritizing this once-in-a-lifetime miracle. In sports, where social and gender sensibilities evolve with tectonic slowness, a player missing a game—one game!—because of childbirth is still, sadly, a talking point.

Let’s say you graduate from college. You did well in your major. Upon graduating, you find out you’ve been drafted to work for a company in Cleveland/Salt Lake City/Orlando/Sacramento. Doesn’t matter that you’re qualified and interested in working in NY/LA/Chicago/Miami. You’re required to spend at least 4 years with the company that picked you (bear in mind: the average career in your field is only 5 years, and anyone nearing 30 is past their earnings prime). Voice any displeasure with this or angle for a way out, and you’ll be publicly eviscerated by millions. They’ll curse at your wife and kids. In public. Continue reading