Latrell Sprewell once infamously said “I got my family to feed” when the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t give him a contract extension in a year when he was still making over $14 million. Josh Smith‘s comments at his intro presser with the Los Angeles Clippers have garnered some similar criticism to what Sprewell received, although there are pretty significant differences with what the two men said.
Smith turned down a bigger contract offer from the Houston Rockets to sign with the Clippers for the minimum. The forward is still making about $5 million a year from the Detroit Pistons until 2020, so he’ll be making over $6 million total in 2015-16. Here’s what Smith said about taking a pay cut (via ProBasketballTalk):
“It wasn’t about the money because of the Detroit situation. But at the end of the day, you know, I do have a family. So, it is going to be a little harder on me this year. But I’m going to push through it and try to do long-term after this year. But I think, this year, focusing on doing something special with this group of guys – we have the opportunity to do something special. Right now, this is what I want to focus on.”
On the surface, these comments do seem a bit tone deaf. The normal person doesn’t like to hear an athlete “complain” about supporting their family when still making millions of dollars, and that’s what many people take from these comments when Smith talks about it being a “little harder” on him.
Smith probably should’ve phrased what he meant better (again, the use of the word “harder” implies that there’s a hardship of some kind), but this isn’t as bad as the Sprewell stuff since Smith isn’t really complaining about his situation. It was his choice to take less money, and he was trying to say that things will be a bit different for him.