Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/13/11
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. On Monday, union reps will vote on whether to accept the owners' revised proposal. 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 5050 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 we expect to hear from you? 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 similar to what Mavs rookie Dominique Jones is on the books for. 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. (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?) 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. 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. 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 protestors 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. 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' minimum) 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.'' 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). But this latest flood of ignorance reminds me of the possibly apocryphal 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.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rick Pitino thinks Louisville should be fined $10 million for scandal

Browns LB Armonty Bryant indicted on felony drug charge

Report: Danny Ainge 'excited' at chance to add Al Horford

Pat Haden collapsed on USC campus

Colts on Andrew Luck contract: ‘It’s going to be a shocking number’

GW basketball coach kicked out of daughter’s HS game


A-Rod is (inadvertently) hurting the Yankees

Report: CM Punk to have back surgery, UFC debut delayed

John Elway: 2015 Broncos could be best defense ever

Lakers and Cavs discussed Kobe-LeBron trade in 2007

Report: Hiring Scott Brooks could help Knicks land Durant

Report: Tyreke Evans to undergo surgery, miss rest of season

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

Terrell Owens says Cris Carter 'begged his way' into HOF

QUIZ: Name every WWE Heavyweight Champion

Three NHL players who can cement their legacies like Peyton Manning

Top 11 story lines for the 2016 NFL offseason

Vince Carter: I’ll know when, but I’m not ready to retire

Bill Polian: Peyton Manning could 'immediately' be successful GM

Villanova Wildcats: The quietest No. 1 team ever

Craig Sager: From the brink of death to the NBA All-Star Game

Michael Oher slid backwards during play in Super Bowl 50

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker