Peaches And C.R.E.A.M: Atlanta Hawks Handing Joe Johnson $119 Million

Christopher MathewsContributor IJuly 1, 2010

ATLANTA - MARCH 31:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Philips Arena on March 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The economy is sputtering. Toyota is recalling north of 200,000 faulty engines. Oil is still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. And Atlanta Hawk Joe Johnson is going to get $119 million.

Call me a "hater", "kill joy", "old school" or any derivative thereof, but this is down right John Mcllvaine ridiculous. For those of you too young or disinterested, Mcllvaine averaged less than 4 points per game and was awarded $35 million for it by the then Seattle Supersonics. No wonder they had to move.

Joe Johnson averaged just over 21 pts and a combined 9.5 in rebounds/assists last season. So he'll essentially get paid $1 million per point of last years production. Not to mention he averaged 11.8 points in the second round of the playoffs while shooting...wait for it - 29.5 percent.

So if you figure the playoffs are where "reputations live" Johnson is getting paid a whopping $1.8 million per point of last years playoff production. I guess the Hawks will be relocating to Seattle soon.

I mean, this is the same Joe Johnson that was booed out of the playoffs right? The same Joe Johnson that hogged the ball all season like a paranoid ball boy, right? The same Joe Johnson that admitted the Orlando Magic were a better team during a heated playoff series - right?!

Apparently money grows on peach trees in Atlanta and the Hawks GM has a drawer full of seeds. That's it. I'm going to Atlanta to gather soil samples so I can sell peach tree seeds on EBAY. I'll use the proceeds to relocate to Dekalb county where I'll stand on the corner of some peach named avenue and throw money in the streets.

Since the money boom of the 90's the NBA has thrown away barrels of money. Just a few eye popping examples:

Bryant "Big Country" Reeves: 6 years, $64 million (1997); Juwan Howard: 7 years, $105 million (1996); Vin Baker: 7 years, $86 million (1999); Keith Van Horn: 6 years, $73 million (1999); Allan Houston: 6 years, $100 million (2001)

That's a combined $428 million on 5 players with a combined 7 All Star appearances (4 by Baker) and 1 Finals appearance (Houston). Sadly those examples are just a fraction of the many over blown contracts handed out in the NBA.

In retrospect, no man is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But professional sports, in this case the NBA, is big business. The thinking by the players is get as much as I can while it lasts. In all honesty, you can't blame them.

So, the next time you attend an NBA game, remember those stats when you fork over $250 for good seats, $25 to park, $10 for a program, $8 dollars for a personal pizza and $12 for 8 ounces of beer.

While you're digesting that thought, remember the owner and GM signed off on the star player who's mysteriously gained 15 pounds and just so happens to be in a suit on the very night you attend a game that will probably set you back 6 months.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. Literally.

I have a sudden urge for a peach.