Mavs Donuts: The Sporks In The NBA Drawer

Nazr Mohammed and Etan Thomas are two of the sharpest knives in the NBA players drawer. But in recent days, as both men issue viewpoints on the lockout, they're demonstrated an acute disconnect from the financial realities that separate them from basketball fans and the real economic world. And these ‘sharpest knives in the drawer' come across like a couple of sporks.

DONUT 1: Today, union reps will vote on whether to accept the owners' revised proposal. (See it in its entirely, and talk about it, here on Boards). Fans can hope that commissioner David Stern is correct in his "hope (that) events of next week will lead us to a 72-game schedule starting on Dec. 15,'' as he says.

The 50/50 split of BRI seems doable. The "system issues'' that would provide the owners their "competitive balance'' while restricting the players' big-money movement may not be deemed acceptable. (Though maybe the fellas ought to examine this as completely as's David Lord has. So much misinformation, some even coming from our own Tyson Chandler, saying a new proposal would block him from returning to the Mavs. Pssst: We've crunched the numbers. It's not true. We've crunched the numbers the same way Mavs management will. There's no reason not to be able to afford all of Dallas' free agents. This story is yet another reason why so many fans choose to invest about 10 cents a day to Go Mavs and Go Premium! )

I've forwarded this info along to Tyson Chandler himself, by the way. "I'll make sure I pass the word (to my agent),'' TY tweeted back.

DONUT 2: But for certain, no matter how they vote, there is a faction of the players – otherwise accomplished and intelligent men – who are blind to what's occurring in this country beyond the parameters of 94 feet by 50 feet.

DONUT 3: From Nazr Mohammed, a 34-year-old center most recently with the Oklahoma City Thunder: "If this deal is accepted,'' Nazr tweets, "I advise guys to stay in school and get your degree, Master's if possible. You might be able to make more money that way than playing in the NBA …''

Nazr Mohammed is at the end of a contract that paid him $30 million over five years. Last season he made $6,883,800.

Good for him. That's the going rate for a backup center who works hard and who contributed to OKC's playoff run with 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per playoff game.

DONUT 4: Now, had he passed on his $6.883 million contract last year to instead pursue his Master's degree – that is, had he opted to join the rest of us "civilians'' – he would:

*Spend approximately $30,000 annually, for three years, to gain his Master's at the University of Texas. (Want an MBA? Make that $50,000 a year for the tuition alone, not counting room and board.)

*Enter a real world where holders of Master's degrees don't suffer from the 9-percent unemployment rate that bogs down the rest of the country but nevertheless deal with a surprising 2.3-percent unemployment rate for people of their educational level.

*Earn, on average, only $8,000 more annually than a co-worker who only has his Bachelor's degree.

*Possibly be lucky to get a job in Texas, where the economic and employment issues are less crushing than elsewhere. Indeed, I would be happy to place him just south of his present OKC haunt.

Nazr, with your newly-gained Master's degree and your 13 years of basketball experience, I can land you a job in my local school district, Lewisville ISD. I know personally that my ISD is loaded with educators who have their Master's. You can be the head boys' basketball coach. You will make between $41,400 and $56,926. Plus you will receive a $6,000 coaching stipend. You will also teach a couple of history classes.

And if you want to help out with the girls' volleyball team as an assistant coach, we can get you another stipend of $3,000.

When, Nazr, can the my friends at the LISD expect to hear from you?

DONUT 5: Nazr was specifically writing about rookies coming into the league in this era, and it's true that rookies don't start out making $6,883,800. First, they might have to get by on a salary a bit less than what Mavs rookie Dominique Jones is on the books for.

DONUT 6: DoJo's contract calls for him to be paid $1.2 million last year, $1.2 million this year, $2.3 million next year and $3.3 million the year after that. Nazr's tragically stupid advice presumes that a kid like DoJo, or a superstar college freshman, is truly desirous of skipping the NBA to instead remain in school for the full four years to gain a Bachelor's and then – remember, with no scholarship help – stay in school for three more years to get that all-important Master's.

DONUT 7: By the way: Let's say Dominique Jones preferred the MBA to the NBA. Tell me, Nazr, where does the kid find the $50,000-a-year fees? Or do you think the UT's Master's program is in desperate search of really tall business students? staffer Chuck Perry is at UT, studying to be a doctor. He's taken a survey of fellow students and passes along some dollars-and-sense regarding tuition:

*UT grad school for Computer Science: 8k a year for instate tuition

*UT Med school: 14k/year in state tuition

*Kellogg MBA: 50k+/year tuition.

These are the best and the brightest, Nazr. The future Dr. Perry is saving up pennies and taking out loans and working his ass off and trying to survive on the way to finally realizing a career dream. It will eventually pay off with a salary that, until he's about 30, will be a salary used to pay off the debt he incurred by spending almost a decade of study.

"Dr. Dominique Jones'' has a cool ring to it. But I don't see it as a fiscal reality, Nazr.

DONUT 8: Each of Mohammed's 12 biweekly checks last season were, before taxes, worth about $575,000. Those constitute 575,000 reasons why it is terribly irresponsible to advise a young man to pass on such riches for the false promise of higher education giving him a greater payday.

DONUT 9: Nazr Mohammed is not a stupid man. He's just an ignorant one.

Players attorney Jeffrey Kessler is not a stupid man. But by comparing his union members to "plantation workers,'' he's just an ignorant one.

And former Dallas Mavericks center Etan Thomas, late of the Atlanta Hawks, is not a stupid man. He's just an ignorant one.

DONUT 10: In a column written for ESPN, Thomas says, "(What if) the concession workers, parking lot attendants, janitors, food vendors, secretaries, scouts, trainers, mascots, dance teams and every other employee affected by this lockout would turn their anger on both sides and follow the lead of other protesters around the country. What if they start "Occupy the NBA? If Occupy the NBA were to happen, would the occupiers see the NBA CEOs as the 1 percent who want to impose their corporate greed, power and will on their employees?''

In a twisting of facts as bizarre as it is blind, Etan Thomas fails to see HIMSELF as one of the 1 percent.

Etan, allow me to help truly define you.

DONUT 11: The American median income today is $26,000. If you make $109,000 a year, congratulations, because you are in the top 10 percent of American earners; at $109,000, you are essentially rich. If you make $1.6 million (approximately the NBA veterans' miminum) you are not just a "1 Percenter'' – you are in the top 0.1 percent. And if you make $9 million a year, you are in the top 0.01 percent.

The Mavericks employ five players – Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, Jason Terry, Caron Butler and Jason Kidd – who are at or above that income level. These people are not "1 Percenters.''


In all of the United States, in and out of basketball, there are only 2,000 people who earned $10 million or more last year. These guys are not just "1 Percenters'' and should not be "Occupying Wall Street.''

These guys are "0.01 Percenters.''

In 2006, Etan Thomas earned a six-year, $36,772,500 contract that allowed him to make … $16,000 PER DAY. This is why the word "fair'' is so inappropriate here. This is why slavery comparisons are sickeningly insulting. This is why Nazr Mohammed is correct about the importance of education – but how the lack of education is most painfully obvious when athletes like Nazr and Etan expose themselves as being completely out of financial touch with "the concession workers, parking lot attendants, janitors, food vendors and secretaries.''

I was on FishSports at Twitter last night "getting to know'' one of the "0.01 Percenters,'' Amare Stoudemire, who had a photo snapped of himself while he endured the lockout aboard his yacht.


Wine. Cake. Cigars. Yachts. "Admiral Amare.'' And fellas, you've been exposed as being among the "0.01 Percenters.''

DONUT 12: The NBA players are well within their rights to fight against ownership that has made so few concessions. I support and respect their authority, of course, to do what they are told to do by their hearts, their heads and their wallets (if not their agents).

I am not "anti-player.'' I do not label the players "selfish'' for battling for what they desire. No, I am not "anti-player.'' I am "anti-ignorance.''

But this latest flood of foolishness reminds me of the possibly exaggerated story of President George Bush marching through a 1992 photo op and demonstrating some amazement at the new-fangled scanner technology that had been in use at grocery stores for 20 years.

President Bush wasn't a stupid man. It's just that if you are a 1 Percenter, an 0.1 Percenter or an 0.01 Percenter, you are likely too rich and too busy to bother buying your own groceries.

Dallas Mavericks products in The Store! YES. WE. DID.

Dallas Basketball Top Stories