by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
Dirk & Dwyane
Dirk Nowitzki, 40, played his final home game with the Dallas Mavericks last night. Few NBA players, if any, have ever meant more to their franchise: 21 uninterrupted seasons with the same franchise, the most in NBA history; an NBA championship, the Mavericks’ first and only; an NBA MVP award (in 2007). And he’ll retire as the league’s sixth all-time leading scorer, one of seven to surpass 30,000 points.
The seven-footer from Germany will also retire as the most prolific scorer in NBA history born outside the USA.
Dwyane Wade, 37, also played his final home game for the Miami Heat. An HOF career, if not quite to the magnitude of Dirk’s. Three NBA championships, 13 All-Star Games in 16 seasons (mostly but not exclusively with Miami), 30th in career scoring.
Both legends put up 30 points last night (both have been Finals MVPs).
Jamal Of America
Then there’s Jamal Crawford, 39, presently of the Phoenix Suns, his 8th NBA franchise. Last night Crawford, playing the role of Devin Booker, scored 51 points in the Suns’ loss to Dirk’s Dallas Mavs.
Crawford is the oldest player in NBA history to put up a 50-spot. He’s the only one to do so with four different franchises. He’s the NBA’s all-time leader in 4-point plays (55) and also in Sixth Man of the Year awards (3). He’s started less than one-third of the games he’s played in, yet he is 51st on the NBA’s career scoring list (and if he plays one more season, he’ll move up at least another five spots).
We’ve posted before about how Crawford is criminally under-appreciated. He’s also deserving of a spot in the Hall, we feel.
If you watched ESPN last night, they never altered the narrative. They went in thinking “Dirk and Dwyane” and they weren’t going to be inconvenienced by Crawford’s historic night. Part of being the WWL in the past 10-20 years is almost always siding with frontrunners (which is why we get 24-hour non-stop LeBron and why GameDay will make more trip to Columbus and Tuscaloosa come autumn). That’s just how it is.
“I’ll Take ‘Over This Game’ for $110,000, Alex”
The only singular accomplishment more impressive than Crawford’s yesterday belonged to James Holzhauer, a 34 year-old contestant on Jeopardy! In an episode that was taped on February 11, Holzhauer crushed the game show’s single-day record for cash awarded, taking home $110,914.
What’s weird about that total? Holzhauer’s daughter was born on November 9, 2014 (think about it).
The previous mark, set in 2010, was $77,000. Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas and, we assume, something of a polymath, has a four-day total of $244,000-plus. He’ll take on two new challengers tonight.
Holzhauer graduated from Naperville (Ill.) High School, his wife was once a contestant on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, and not surprisingly, he is an avid bridge player, a trait common to many highly intelligent people. Us, we still can’t beat our chess computer app that came with the Mac.
Yesterday on CNBC host Wilfred Frost, the son of acclaimed Seventies journalist David Frost, had on as his guest Jes Staley, the CEO of Barclays Bank. Staley, 62, earns a relatively paltry salary of $5 million-plus, but he’s the former CEO of JP Morgan and also worked at Blue Mountain Capital, and he’s probably doing alright.
Which is, you know, bully for him.
Anyway, at the very end of the chat Frost asked Staley about the obscene ratios of CEO pay to the median salary of employees at those CEOs institutions. This was NOT an on-the-fly question, as a graphic was posted as Frost posed the question.
Staley’s mood turned sour on that question, and he simply said he was not about to opine on what other CEOs earn. We get it. But here is where Frost got lost. Why didn’t he push him and ask why not? If there were only some figure in Frost’s life, a role-model perhaps, maybe even a family member, who could serve as an inspiration for holding powerful men to be accountable when conducting an interview with them. To make him a more intrepid interviewer.
For what it’s worth, there are CEOs, not all, but entirely too many (in our opinion), who earn 100x, 200x and even 300x what the median salary of their employees is. If you want to delve into the data, you can start here.
Where this issue gets sticky—and it’s a lively debate among six of us high school friends on the same text chain—is that if someone like me asks, “Well, just how much is enough for a CEO?” we are accused of being a socialist. Hardly. We’re capitalist, we’re just not into the whole feudal lord-serf model.
One of my friends, a successful dentist who runs his own small shop with five or so employees, wondered if I was just against the idea of people being successful or working hard. I asked him if he pays himself 100x more than his employees. Of course not, he said.
For the record, two of these buddies who own their own small businesses tell me they’ve never paid themselves more than 5 to 10x median salary of their employees.
And that’s healthy.
Another friend is a big-time consultant and when we ask him why he feels free to advise CEOs to lay off workers earning below $75,000 a year but never advises them to trim their salary. His stock reply: “Is the CEO’s salary the reason the business is underperforming?”
My (and others’) reply is, “No more than the guy doing the $75,000 a year gig. Moreover, as the LEADER of a team (be it CEO, king, or whatever), maybe the symbolic gesture of your being willing to sacrifice something, when that sacrifice is so relatively minuscule compared to your employees/loyal subjects, would make for a happier, productive workplace.”
Anyway, we believe in capitalism. We also believe that a ceiling of 100x as the maximum ratio (after perks, mind you) from CEO: median salary would make for a more economically viable country and a happier society.
And if Wilfred Frost is serious about this issue, he and CNBC should devote a half-hour to an hour program on it and invite every CEO they can find (and list every one who turns down their invitation).
Maybe you have a family member or loved one who is advancing in years. Maybe you’re grappling with the eventuality of them moving to assisted living, and the financial burden.
I’ve had some time to ruminate on this lately, and I believe I’ve come up with a solution to the problem: Rob a bank. Better yet, attempt to rob a bank.
Do you know how much a nice assisted living facility costs these days? We have an extended family member whose costs are in the five figures per month. And even here in sunny and relatively cheap Arizona it’s not unusual to spend $4,000 per month.
Which is why we suggest robbing a bank: to the elderly. Now, imagine this. A car of four octogenarian or older ladies pulls up to a bank (they park in a handicapped spot, which they’re entitled to, for easier egress). They enter and pull a Bonnie and Clyde. Here are the resulting scenarios I’ve envisioned:
A) They get away! Woo-hoo! Now you have funds to pay for that assisted living facility. Probability? Low.
B) They DON’T get away. Nearly as good a result and a much higher probability of occurrence. If you make this an armed robbery, you’re looking at jail time. But who cares, especially if you’re female? Now the state has to pay to house and feed you. You have all the time you need to write birthday and graduation cards to your grandkids. You don’t have to worry about what to wear. Or when to clean the house. Instead of being out $5 to $15K per month, the state is footing the bill. And you have an always available pool of peeps with whom to play bridge or gin rummy.
And seriously, what’s life imprisonment when you’re 87? Especially if you don’t even know who or where you are?
(This may be the best idea we’ve ever had)
For the record, Mama Dubs is on board as long as I can promise her the detention center has Turner Classic Movies. Still looking into it…
Quick Hitters: The Baltimore Orioles are handling the Chris Davis Futility Infielder situation all wrong. Take a lesson from Bill Veeck. Celebrate it: bat Davis first and offer fans some type of giveaway if he gets his next hit at the game they attend…Fellow Brophy Prep alum Matt Zemek (read his stuff; he’s terrific) and I have come to the conclusion that the Final Four telecast would be much improved by putting Ian Eagle-Jim Spanarkel on one game and Jim Nantz-Bill Raftery-Grant Hill on the other. Granted, we’d prefer to see the former crew on Monday night. Our guess is that Nantz guards his territory very, very assiduously…Magic Johnson? I really don’t care, but my suspicion is he thought, “Life’s too short to deal with LeBron’s bullsh*t every day. And after all, I was more of a winner (which he was).”
Come Sail Away
This one, by Styx, was always an angst-ridden choice at the junior high dance. Is it a slow song? Do we still dance close after the “A gathering of angels appeared above my head…” line, after it makes the transition from ballad to rocker ? This was released in 1977, just a month after Star Wars, and at a time when being intergalactic was really cool. It shot to No. 8 on the charts and was the breakthrough hit the band had been searching for.
True fact: When we first moved to Phoenix in 1978, the local NBC affiliate (Channel 12) would play the closing keyboard part as its signing off music. I wonder if anyone from Styx was even aware they were doing that? The world was such a different place before social media.
Manhattan Murder Mystery
8 p.m. TCM
Because “Manhattan Perv Mystery” would’ve been a documentary and not much of a mystery. Anyway, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton team up once again, this time in 1993, as a married couple who believe a neighbor has been off’ed and seek to discover the truth. It’s a comic turn on Rear Window.