NBA players’ tone-deaf bubble whining is bad for business

Those self-entitled NBAers, including career misanthrope JR Smith, who have seen fit to share with America their Disney Prep woes — substandard bedding, food that doesn’t meet with their palates — reminds me of an old gag: A man, way down on his luck, enters a monastery where he takes a vow of silence. Every …

Those self-entitled NBAers, including career misanthrope JR Smith, who have seen fit to share with America their Disney Prep woes — substandard bedding, food that doesn’t meet with their palates — reminds me of an old gag:

A man, way down on his luck, enters a monastery where he takes a vow of silence. Every 10 years he is allowed to say just two words, both to the head monk.

He enters his cell, and for the first 10 years doesn’t utter a word, not a peep. Then the head monk visits to hear the man’s first two words.

“Hard beds,” he says.

The monk leaves and the man resumes his silence, another 10 years.

The head monk re-enters to hear the man’s next two words.

“Cold food,” he says.

The monk leaves and another 10 years pass, not a word.

When the monk re-enters to hear the man’s next two words after 30 years, he’s told, “I quit.”

“Doesn’t surprise me at all,” says the head monk, “you’ve done nothing but gripe since you got here.”

And that brings us to the NBA gripers who have taken to social media to whine about their accommodations in ESPN’s business sibling Disney World. Those who have chosen to publicly share their misfortune with all are Smith, Rajon Rondo, Joel Embiid, Troy Daniels, Ben McLemore and Montrezl Harrell.

Before we get to Smith’s Instagram on the matter, let’s review:

Smith is a longtime professional, 34 years old and often expendable for his childish, ugly behavior.

Perhaps he’s unable to grasp what’s going on throughout the country as per the COVID-19 virus, but thousands of once-thriving businesses have been forced to close. The unemployment totals are huge and growing. Cases of COVID in the U.S. are now 3.5 million and death from the disease is at 137,000.

Yet Smith felt compelled to share this with us about the hotel food:

“You want a mother-f—king Ferrari to run like a Ferrari because you paid for it as a Ferrari, but you keep gassing it up with mother——n Chrysler s–t.”

Increasingly under Adam Silver’s commissionership, this is how NBA players choose to communicate with the public. If Silver is appalled by this — as he should be — he has kept it to himself as the NBA, like the NFL and MLB, continues to take decent-headed fans for granted.

This is another league in which its players demand unconditional respect in exchange for none. And that, I’d suggest, is bad for business.

Unanswered questions in Woj-senator flap

This Adrian Wojnarowski-Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley imbroglio is only missing one thing: good answers.

When Hawley asked a good question — will “Free Hong Kong” be one of the social messages the NBA will allow players to wear on their jerseys? — Wojnarowski, ESPN’s top NBA reporter, since suspended, classily responded with “F–k You!” — in line with the current standard for civilized debate.

ESPN colleague Maria Taylor then expressed her unconditional support for Wojnarowski.

So what does that mean? Were Wojnarowski and Taylor simply serving as NBA on ESPN shills, hundreds of millions in Red Chinese money at risk?

Or do they sincerely support Red China’s oppressive, enslaving dictatorship over Hong Kong’s pro-democracy desire and activism to be free of Red China?


The New York Times this week printed a lengthy piece strongly suggesting that ESPN is home to systemic anti-black racism.

And that made me gag.

After all, it was ESPN and The Times that joined to cost veteran ESPN tennis analyst Doug Adler his health, career and reputation when, on The Times’ preposterous prompt, ESPN fired Adler as a racist after he complimented Venus William for her well-timed “guerilla tactics.”

First The Times, then ESPN, frightened by a tweet filed by a credibility-deficient freelance Times tennis reporter, decided Adler, with no context or reason, suddenly decided to call Williams “a gorilla.” Adler soon suffered a heart attack in addition to unemployment and infamy.

Last week, on ESPN’s YouTube site, a long, 7:45 interview appeared with ex-A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell, the only MLB player to take Colin Kaepernick’s cue to take a knee during the national anthem.

The first question “asked” by Marly Rivera was, “We all know what happened. You knew what could happen by taking that knee. Why did you do it?”

Catcher Bruce Maxwell kneels during the national anthem with the A’s.AP

Having left it on the lip for Maxwell to tap it in, he sounded like Martin Luther King Jr.

The wishful story was Maxwell, a biracial player, was ostracized by MLB for taking that knee. He was a victim of MLB racism, sentenced to play in Mexico from where he spoke.

Except Maxwell was invited to remain with the A’s but chose to leave. That didn’t make the 7:45 cut. Nor did Maxwell’s ensuing arrest and copped plea for holding a gun to the head of a female food deliverer.

But ESPN’s Rivera left all of that out. Didn’t fit the racial-bias angle.

Readers do the writing

Readers write: Chris Dellecese asks, “How on earth will Fox televise baseball without 472 cutaways to people in the stands watching the game that we’d like to be watching?”

Fox can use file footage and the Yankees and Mets will rely on audio fantasy, piping in crowd noise, the way CBS’ golf telecasts from the South have included the sounds of chirping birds that don’t fly south of Duluth.

Craig Smith asks if there’s a betting line on how many games Yoenis Cespedes plays before he’s re-injured.

First I’d consult the tournament schedule at his golf club, the dates of the member-guest. But mostly I’d keep in mind that this is the last year of that four-year, $110 million deal, since adjusted, his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, wrangled from the Mets.

The Mets install cardboard cutouts of fans during summer training camp at Citi Field.Corey Sipkin

Igor Ekshtayn won’t spend $86 for a cardboard photo of himself to be seen in the Citi Field stands, but he wants to know how much for a photo of his car in the parking lot.

Many suggestions for the NFL Washington team’s new nickname. Several have suggested the Lobbyists, while reader Mike Gressman would have the team honor all the lawyers in D.C. by naming them the Sioux. Mel Gross would go with the D.C. Comics.


Odell Beckham Jr. has joined Cam Newton in declaring he’ll no longer play as a humble man. Two of the NFL’s all-time, all-about-me showboats are going to be less modest!


On May 9, Mike Francesa authoritatively declared this summer’s thoroughbred Saratoga meet “has already been canceled.” Thursday, right on schedule but without spectators, the Saratoga meet began.


Happy 80th, Verne Lundquist. His wisdom — “The most dangerous word in the English language is now ‘SEND’ ” — sustains.

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