It took a little while, but locked-out NBA players bowed before public pressure and took the highly unusual step of giving the proceeds from their proposed December 19 charity basketball game to, of all places, charity.
Originally, the plan was to donate a small percentage of ticket and broadcast revenues to charity, with the rest going to NBA players suffering 'financial hardship' during the lockout. Surely, the players reasoned, the public would sympathize about having to scrape by on the NBA minimum salary of around $400,000.
But in the face of the horrendous PR this plan generated - not to mention general indifference to the absence of pro basketball - the players abruptly changed course. Profits will now be donated to UNICEF and other charities.
Assuming there is a game. As of presstime, sales had been delayed twice due to seating configuration problems.
Outside of this catastrophe-waiting-to-happen, NBA players continue to shoot themselves in the foot in attempting to put a positive spin on their plight. Boston Celtics guard Kenny Anderson has publicly complained that the lockout might force him to sell two or - gasp! - three of his fleet of eight luxury cars. Others voiced concern about the absence of a 'hangin' money' allowance of several thousand dollars per month.
Then there's NY Knicks center and Players' Union president Patrick Ewing, who has tried to garner support from other labor organizations. 'I don't see us being different than any other union ... except for the pay scale being a little different,' he said. That, of course, is analogous to saying, 'Rhode Island isn't any different from Texas, except for its size.'.