I've been a Latrell Sprewell fan for years, ever since he came to the Knicks. He's always been the kind of player who lays it all on the line, and while his mouth (not to mention his hands around his coach's throat, though that was years ago, in a very different situation) has gotten him in trouble, I've always thought his heart was in the right place.
But in a recent interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, he said something that really, really, really annoyed me. When talking about his reason for refusing to sign the contract extension he's been offered, he said: "I've got my family to feed."
Sprewell's current team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, offered him a 3 year extension for $27 million. Spree is 34, and his abilities are not what they once were. Also, he's on the last year of a huge contract. He's going to make over $14 million this year, and he's been making this kind of money for years. The guy is a millionaire many times over. He'll make more money this year than most people make in their entire lives. And he's talking about feeding his family? Man, you're family's taken care of. They're good.
On top of this, Spree has always struck me as the kind of guy who cares about winning more than anything. In the last game of the 1999 finals, he was the only Knick who really came to play, and at one point, it looked like he may win the game on his own. Now, in the twilight of his career, he's playing on a team with a legitimate chance at a championship. He's playing with Kevin Garnett, the best player in the league. And he's being offered what looks to me like a fair deal. And this man, in this situation, says: "Why would I want to help them win a title? They're not doing anything for me." Aren't YOU supposed to want a title? Isn't that why you play the damn games? To get a shot at the title?
I've been a Sprewell defender and a Sprewell apologist. I've gone to great lengths to explain to friends that he has been misrepresented in the press, misunderstood, vilified. But now, I only have this to say:
Fuck you, Spree. Fuck you for spitting on the sport that made you a millionaire. I hope you get traded to the Clippers.