Remember in the movie Jerry Maguire when projected No. 1 draft pick Frank Cushman's father shook the fellow agent's hand, letting Jerry know that his son will sign with him on draft day.
"You know I don't do contracts, but what you have is my word."
"And it's stronger than oak."
Little did we know the selfish quarterback and his father would go back against their word, only to sign with a different agent and throw Mr. Maguire and his agency to the streetside curb.
This is what worldwide sports have come to these days. Coaches, agents, and star-studded athletes don't just go against their words, they go against legally binding contracts that were signed in permanent ink.
For every successful tenure of Frank Beamer, there has to be one or more Bobby Petrinos or Bobby Hugginses. For every Jerry Rice, there are too many Terrell Owens's, Chad Johnsons and even Dez Bryants. And for every John Stockton, there tend to be a dozen Joe Johnsons.
We don't need to go any further with the name calling. Even though Joe Johnson ranked as the 187th most efficient player according to ESPN’s PER ratings in 2014-15, he was still the second-highest paid player in the league, at $23.2 million.
Apparently it is all about the money. But how much cash do these athletes, coaches, and so-called role models really need? For every dollar that the NBA's highest paid player, Kobe Bryant, made in 2015, he earned just as much off the court in endorsement deals. The 19-year pro was able to put food on the table for his family by earning just over $287,000 a game according to his base contract in 2015. And that was based on an 82-game season. Take into the equation that he was hurt, and he actually earned $670,000 per game for the 35 games he played in 2014-15. Add Bryant's money earned from endorsements and the 5-time NBA champion earned roughly $1,414,000 per game played in the regular season, all while watching the Lakers sink to a lottery position, on the bench.
Now don't get me wrong, these athletes were born to play this game. They were put on this earth to dunk on 12-foot rims, run 4.4 40s, and bench press 500 pounds.
But the ego and the selfishness of earning the extra buck is what bothers me and every other blue-collar American worker. These athletes come across everyday major problems – like having to provide enough garages for their 12 cars, or trying to decide whether they want to take the personal limo or private jet to their next awards banquet. I, on the other hand, can't even pay the monthly rent until the paycheck comes in the mailbox.
Let's look at DeAndre Jordan for example. It was well known Jordan was courted by a few teams during the free agency period, while he was still "dating" the Clippers. He was considered to be free-game to anyone. Anybody who wanted to ante up and pay him a max contract, that was.
In walked the Dallas Mavericks. They pulled out the red carpet treatment and wowed Jordan. They made him a max offer on a 4-year deal. He was coming back to his home state of Texas. And that is when the marriage of DeAndre Jordan and the Mavericks was set to take place. With a strong handshake, of course.
In the wedding party was best man Chandler Parsons, as he was the lead recruiter and good friend to Jordan. Also standing at the altar for the Mavs were newly added free agent Wes Matthews and star player Dirk Nowitzki, who had already downed four steins of German beer before the procession started.
The wedding official was none other than multi-billionaire owner Mark Cuban, and next in line to the best man was head coach Rick Carlisle. Carlisle had brought success to the Mavericks organization before. He won a championship with Dirk and a rag-tag bunch of role players in 2011, and was widely regarded as one of the top coaches in the association.
But little did Rick know, Jordan still had feelings for his old fling. It went down as one of the weirdest wedding breakups since Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries.
Jordan had one too many wine coolers one night, and called his ex (the L.A. Clippers). He wanted to come back. All of this only happened after JJ Redick cried about the Clippers’ offseason grade of an "F" on national radio, and CP3 was on vacation.
So Chris Paul jumped out of his banana boat with Dwyane Wade and Lebron James, and flew to LA. Even "The Truth" aka Paul Pierce made an appearance, emojis and all.
Even though the Clippers had every opportunity to wine, dine, and maybe if they’re lucky, 69 Jordan during the free agency period, they waited until he got sized for the tuxedo to pull out their bag of tricks.
You think Mark Cuban has balls? How about Steve Ballmer. It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to call on a guy that has already bought the ring and "gave his good word" to the Mavericks.
Dallas, meanwhile let Monta I-Want-To-Shoot-The-Ball-Everytime Ellis and Tyson Chandler, a watered down version of DeAndre Jordan, go to Indiana and Phoenix, respectively. The Mavs' roster was shaping up nicely to bring in a max player like Jordan.
Until… The run of emojis on Twitter came raining down like gunshots in a back alley in Compton.
Ballmer, Pierce, CP3, Redick, coach Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin all made the trip to DeAndre’s home in Houston. Apparently Jordan had a change of heart. So what else to do, other than guard the door and play some cards.
While Ballmer was playing with Monopoly money and Pierce with drug dollars, they told DeAndre - you have to play with hundreds, since we are holding you hostage until the signing period gets here. Even Blake Griffin chimed in on Twitter, with this picture:
Mark Cuban was left at the altar, frantically texting Jordan until the 11 o’clock hour - when free agents were allowed to legally sign contracts, even though DeAndre had given "his word" nearly a week before.
Apparently DeAndre’s word meant as much to some people as that girl everyone knows they can get with at a party.
Next, let’s look at some coaches who are as shady as Eminem.
You look at the longest tenured football coaches and who do you see? Frank Beamer, Bob Stoops and Bill "AARP Card" Snyder. That's really it. Out of the 66 coaches in the Power-5 conferences, only seven have been prowling the sidelines for 11 years or more. The average tenure of a coach in the FBS is 5.1 years, as high as 8 in the Big 12, and as low as 3 in the Pac 12.
Using Dexter Freebish's hit single "Leaving Town," you can say that football coaches stay at their respective schools about as much as a male figure agrees to sit in the front row at church.
Names that come to mind are – the always greasy Lane Kiffin, who shunned Tennessee for USC, and then got what he deserved by getting fired on the airport runway after getting trounced at Arizona State; Bobby I-Can’t-Drive-A-Motorcycle Petrino, who left up-start Louisville for the Falcons, only to leave Atlanta in the middle of an NFL season, go to Arkansas, and then got caught cheating with a student. And who can forget Brett I-Have-7-Chins Bielema, who left a star-studded Wisconsin program for more sandbox toys (money) to play in the SEC sandbox.
I could talk about Chizik leaving Iowa State for Auburn, but that was one of the best things to ever happen in the city of Ames, Iowa, other than McDermott leaving, respectively.
I'll bet any reader on this website a 12-pack of Natty Lite that John Calipari will have recruiting sanctions brought against him in the next 5 years, or immediately after he leaves Lexington, KY. Speaking of Kentucky and the slick-back-haired Italians, Rick Pitino fathered a child with a waitress, and STILL kept his job at Louisville. Even used car salesman Bob Huggins, who told Kansas State he will be their savior, spurned the Wildcats to unpack his permanently packed bags for West Virginia.
And one of the biggest reasons why we see a watered down product on the field/court comes right back to my first sentence – agents.
They are the ones who can alter programs, make fans cry, and change successful programs for decades, because, like Rod Tidwell said in Jerry Maguire, the only thing that matters is, "Show Me The Money!"