It’s been a while since I wrote a newspaper column. I guess you could say that I just took some time off to rest.
Of course, if I were a player in the NBA, I couldn’t use that term. Fans who save money all year to attend one game wouldn’t take too kindly to the word “rest.” So the NBA came up with the fancy term “load management.” Sounds better, than “rest,” don’t you think?
It started when Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James sat out a prime-time TV game a while back, for “load management.” Heaven forbid that the Lakers’ higher-ups would use the term “rest.” Rest is way too soft to describe why LeBron James took a night off. No. Macho Stud James sat out due to load management.
Bet he got paid, too. Lebron James makes $35.6 million a year. The pros play 82 games a year. That means LeBron James makes $434,146.34 a game, whether he plays or not.
To put that in perspective, he made more money the night he didn’t play than most people make in years. To be more precise, folks who make $60,000 a year would have to work more than seven years to make as much as LeBron made in one night for not working.
If you’re a police officer in North Carolina, making an average of $48,000 a year, you’d have to work almost nine years to make what LeBron made in one night for not working.
In the real world, people who work for a living can’t use rest as an excuse for not showing up for work. And please don’t call in tomorrow and tell the boss you need the day off for Load Management. He or she might lighten your load by telling you to look for another job.
In the real world, where I grew up, people worked for a living, and they worked hard. My dad may have taken a sick day from his job at Burlington Mills, but I don’t remember one. And I know he never took a day off for load management.
His work ethic is something that lives with me to this day. He got to his third shift job an hour early. “If you’re 10 minutes early, you’re late,” Dad always said. To prepare for slick winter roads, he tried on his snow chains (actually, I did) in August, to know how many links to drop.
Maybe Dad is the reason I have no patience for spoiled, millionaire basketball players who can’t play three games a week without taking a night off every now and then. They’re not first responders or ER doctors, for crying out loud.
I guess I’m more of a throwback kind of guy. Dad told me to play hurt, and I did. With permission from the opposing coach in eighth-grade basketball, I played with a cast — wrapped in foam rubber — around my broken right hand.
Speaking of throwback kinds of guys, John Havlicek died recently. He played for the Boston Celtics, and was one of the most tenacious guys ever to play the game. His Celtics teams won eight NBA championships. LeBron won’t even come close.
And I promise you, John Havlicek never took a night off for load management.