The minimum yearly salary of an NBA player is somewhere around $440,000. Not a bad paycheck for 99 percent of us. But despite that fact, guys in the league are still looking for a way to make a quick buck. And recently, the most popular way for NBA players to try and stack a little extra green is to collect the Greg Oden dunk bounty.
Kevin Martin collected a cool grand courtesy of John Salmons for dunking over G.O. in Sacramento. Ricky Davis put up $500, which went uncollected, for any Clipper who could jam on the big man's dome. I'm sure these wagers aren't anything new, but this is the first I've ever heard of such things in the NBA.
I don't know the exact reasoning, but guys seem dead set on getting paid at Oden's expense. Maybe it's a way to spice up what can seem like a long and relatively meaningless preseason. Maybe in these tough economic times even the high-end wage earners among us are hard up for some quick cash.
Whatever the motivation, G.O. wants you to know he doesn't mind being the object of the bounty. In fact, he takes it as a compliment.
"It's kind of flattering," says Oden. "People respect my defense enough that they’re actually paying money to see if somebody can dunk on me.
"I’ve got a bull’s eye on my back, so I guess guys are coming after me."
As previously noted, the results of those "coming after" G.O. have been mixed. Oden flipped the script on the Clips, dunking ferociously over and over again on the other team from L.A. while avoiding any attempts at posterization. Kings guard Kevin Martin threw one down while Oden was rolling late from the weakside, sparking a minor controversy as to what exactly constitutes being dunked on, but according to Oden, Martin's jam qualifies.
"I mean, I was in the vicinity," said Oden. "I’ve had this argument a lot. When you’re in the vicinity; if you’re in the picture, you got dunked on."
So the big man knows how to take his medicine, but let it be known that when it's Oden's turn to play pharmacist, the same formula applies.
"I’ll (dunk on) a couple of guys, and they don’t have to be in front of me. Even if they’re behind me, I’m counting it."