The Pandemic Diaries May 15, 2020
Hi, everybody. Yes, it’s me, Antoine Jackson, in the flesh. My two ugly brothers thought some cosmetic improvements could be made to their weekly broadcast, and here I am. They’ve talked about all kinds of stuff, just not the important things. Like playing ball. Today is the day the teams start withholding 25% of players’ salaries on account of the lockdown.
League executives have already taken a pay cut, back in March. The league protected player salaries for March and April, even though there weren’t any games. I hear some complaints, but won’t name names. And, maybe some of the complaints are justified. I mean, I don’t know anybody else’s financial situation, just my own. And, let’s face it, I’m not a charity case. Taking a pay cut of 25% still leaves me far better off than almost everybody else in the country. Players’ average salary this year is more than seven million bucks. Most Americans would be thrilled to have one percent of that as an annual salary.
The cut only applies to cash compensation, so things like my apartment aren’t affected. Maia and I talked, and we’re writing a check to the Minotaurs for a quarter of the rent every month. Just seems fair, you know. And then, if the apartment becomes subject to the salary cut, we won’t have so much of a change in circumstances. We’re then giving away a third of what’s left over. We can more than afford that.
What we’re doing is splitting that into thirds. One-third goes to Aunt Kamesha’s clinic in Florida. She and Logan figured out that her biggest need in the future is nurses and specialists. So, she’s putting some of that money into scholarships for nurses and a few other specialties. She’ll eventually have a podiatrist and a chiropractor on staff as well as a medical lab scientist, all part-time. Another third goes to Dena for the clinic and food bank. And the last third goes to Maia.
She reads a whole lot. I mean she’s always reading something. She learned from her Grandfather, Mister Jake, how to craft internet search queries. No joke, he doesn’t know shit about the internet, but he was an editor for more than half a century. Learned how to do searches of microfilm; the internet is easy, in comparison. She finds small businesses that are about to go broke, and sends them some money. Usually about a thousand bucks for each employee. All anonymous, her bank finds local banks to handle the transfers.
This is not me blowing my own horn; I do enough of that on the court. I’m not just good, I’m real good. And that doesn’t happen all by itself; I had a lot of help. Without my Aunt Kamesha, I’d have been stuck in Special Ed in New York. Without my brothers Logan and Tommy, I’d have been just one more above-average black high school player. Without Maia, I’d have gotten into all kinds of trouble, just like all those other flash-in-the-pan black ball players. That’s right, NBA players are overwhelmingly black and ungodly rich. We’ve got more than our share of delinquent assholes, and I could easily have become one of them. Except for Maia. So, we’re just giving back.
All of us here at the Minotaurs are doing that. ‘Cause it’s a good thing.