the perils of being young

10 09 2008

So it seems Monta Ellis did something that was out of the bounds of his contract and has seriously messed up his body. I can appreciate both sides in this.

The Golden State Warriors are paying Ellis an exorbitant (though in keeping with his skill level in the NBA) amount of money. For that money they expect their player to keep healthy, be a good citizen, play hard, and help them win basketball games.

On the other hand Ellis is a young, extremely fit man. He has mates and he has money (loads of it). Why can’t he go out and do the things other young men and women do? Would we tell a young brain surgeon not to go snowboarding because he could fall on his head? I’m guessing no, we’d say he’s endangering himself and his career but we’d let him do it. Likewise why shouldn’t Ellis enjoy himself?

It seems to me that it comes down to whether you believe the Warriors “own” Ellis. In a sense they do. Ellis has submitted to their contract demands and in exchange he’s rich. If he wanted so badly to skydive or snowboard or zorb (as John Hollinger mentions in this post) then he should have had it written into his contract. I doubt whether he would have been able to sign such a large contract but if he wanted to do those things then he should have fought for them. BTW wouldn’t it be cool if a player DID have those conditions in his contract?

At the same time the team is taking a risk. In a way Ellis is like one of those players who busts themselves to overachieve so they can score a sweet deal then basically do nothing to live up to it. Some of them turn up over weight and unmotivated (I’m thinking of you Boris Diaw).  In this case Ellis showed how immature he is. He thought he could do something prohibited in his contract and unfortunately for him something went badly wrong. Of course he won’t lose his contract and his millions, I imagine he’ll get a fine and/or a suspension, but I hope he learns for the future.

Unfortunately for young athletes it’s ultimately the teams that rule. NZ sport is littered with examples of this. The NZ league team has immense trouble assembling a full squad for games. Invariably our players are either not released or scheduled for surgery when we need them by the clubs. Then there was the ridiculous situation of the NZ football team in the Olympics losing Ryan Nelson, their best player, half way through the tournament to return to his club. At the point we still had a mathematical chance of making the playoffs.

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One response

11 09 2008
Travis Outlaw

Monta Ellis is the next Jay Williams

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