The Corner


Week before last, I had a column that dealt with equality: equalities and inequalities, of different kinds. I got what I thought was an interesting letter from a reader — looking to the NBA. The highest-paid player, he said, is Kobe Bryant, at $30.5 million. The lowest-paid is a man named Mario West, at $20,000. By the way, West must be a superb athlete. Anyone near the NBA is.

Our reader says,

I notice President Obama hasn’t come out decrying the inequality that exists in the NBA. And it’s much, much worse than published salaries indicate. With endorsements, investments, personal appearances, and whatnot, Bryant is closer to a hundred million dollars a year, which means he makes about 5,000 times as much as poor West (who’s between teams).

Now, is President Obama ready to accept that Kobe is worth 5,000 other NBA pros? I mean, this is not at all like comparing a corporate CEO with the newly hired 19-year-old janitor who didn’t graduate high school. No, no — the 555 NBA players are the best of the best. The best in the world. There are literally millions of guys in America alone who’d trade positions with Mario West in a heartbeat — me among them. I know guys who would pay the team for a chance to dress up with the Heat, and rebound for LeBron. Talk about inequality! Talk about unfairness! Yet no Democrat utters a peep. What cat has their tongue?

And yet nothing could be fairer. And everybody with half a brain knows it. Why is Kobe down in the spotlight high-fiving L.A.’s rich and famous while I’m up in the cheap seats? I know why. And Kobe knows why. And Jack Nicholson knows why. And President Obama knows why. 

In a column last week, I had a note on rap — a reader had asked me what I thought of it, and I answered him in this column, very briefly. Afterward, an Army officer sent me a letter on rap and other types of music. I wanted to share the final paragraph:

Incidentally, rap is also great music for soldiers. Playing loud rap right before you go outside the wire on a mission kind of puts a little confidence in you, makes you not so terrified. Makes you forget you might be about to die. That’s a precious, precious gift. Fear can cloud your judgment and get you killed. I’m for anything that helps my soldiers remain calm and stay on target.


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