The Ruder Reality

This will be my last column for the Vanguard.

As per the hottest trend in sports, I’ve demanded a trade.

I don’t care where – the Tribune, the Oregonian, the DailyBarometer – hell, I’ll even go to the Daily Emerald.

No one reads the VG, our offices are in the subbasement, andlet’s face it – my writing puts these other hacks to shame. I wouldhave demanded a trade a long time ago if I’d known that Icould.

Luckily (for me that is), some of my equally talented peers inthe NBA have shown me the light.

The list of players who have demanded trades just thisoff-season reads like a modern dream team: Shaq, Tracy McGrady,Vince Carter, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Peja Stojakovic, Jason Kidd.

These NBA luminaries have taught me the following:

1) Contracts don’t matter.

Forget my contract with the Vanguard. Look at Shaq. The BigAristotle had two years worth over $50 million left on his contractwith LA when he made his pouty face and said he wouldn’t playalongside the alleged rapist next year. Less than a week later -kazaam! – he was in Miami with the Heat.

2) Loyalty is WAY overrated.

Forget the fact that the Vanguard was the only place willing togive me a chance to write.

When the Orlando Magic worked out a sign and trade for TracyMcGrady in the summer of 2000 he was a 23-year-old with upside.They gave him the maximum contract – seven years, $93 million – andbrought in Grant Hill, one of the best NBA players at the time, totry to win.

Things didn’t work out, but the Magic quickly became T-Mac’steam and he became one of the NBA elite.

What to do?

Obvious – demand a trade.

3) When you’re the man (so far, women don’t demand trades),being in the best situation to win doesn’t matter.

Forget the fact that the Vanguard won the statewide award for”general excellence” and is the most creative of the in-statepapers.

Shaq passing up a fourth championship in LA to catch some raysalongside the supermodels du jour in South Beach? No brainer.

Talents like Shaq, Tracy and myself don’t let common logic,courtesy or any of that crap stop us from doing what we know isbest for us.

My NBA brethren know that the salary cap space their immensecontracts take up is so valuable that they can dictate theirsituation.

You might think management would step in and say, “Looky here,big guy, we’ve got you for two more years.”

Nope. If Shaq says he doesn’t want to play for the Lakers 30percent of their payroll disappears into thin air, and they can’tlet that happen.

Instead, they trade away the most dominant player alive for someserviceable talent so that they at least get some return on their30 percent.

My $25 a week salary doesn’t quite match up to Shaq’s $28million. And, yeah, I know columnists are not typically traded, butI’m confident my demands will be met.

When you boil it all down demanding a trade is all about onething: ego – and lord knows I’ve got that.

I may not make gossip column headlines with drug bust escapadesor celebrity romances, but I did name my column after myself, I didmake sure my picture would run with my column and I certainly don’tcare what anyone else thinks.

The Vanguard has been good to me – good people, goodopportunities, good paper – but it’s time for me to go.


Because I can.