In spite of multiple teams digging deep into G League and hardship-exception reserves due to health and safety protocols throughout the NBA, the Christmas Day tradition has gone full steam ahead with a five-game slate on national television. After Thursday night's victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green put forth his feelings about the prospects of playing on the holiday.
Draymond on having to play on X-Mas on the road: "I have a 7 year old, 5 year old, 1 year old... It's a bit frustrating to have to go on the road (on Xmas) for the second year in a row. So now I'm gonna miss my kid's first Christmas and now her second Christmas. It's fucked up."— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) December 24, 2021
Green's comments prompted hellacious discourse, mostly along the lines of "Well, he makes millions, boo hoo, suck it up, quit complaining, etc.," becoming extremely aggravating as it further developed.
Yes, Draymond Green makes a boatload of money to play basketball. Money can certainly buffer any sort of personal hardship endured as a professional athlete, and many athletes do make quantities that vastly surpass net incomes of entire households.
However, I struggle with the conjecture of personal views of what money and fame mean to athletes and people in general. Multiple players, such as DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love, have been open about their struggles with mental health, and how money — while incredibly valuable as an asset — is not a cure-all. Wealth and fame make things easier in some aspects without a doubt, but with that comes responsibilities that are also taxing and difficult.
So often "They play the game they love, and get paid to do it" is used as the crux of arguments. Do most players like basketball? Without much doubt, yes. But, the issue is that we regularly act as if professionals are being paid to do a hobby.
Prepping for games is a near non-stop task throughout the year. Warming up and stretching with a trainer three hours pre-tip, shooting around after, the game itself, cool down and stretching again after, weights somewhere in between, and then travel and rehab. Only to repeat the process on end for much of the year.