- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Remember the Washington alumni game? Sure you do: ESPN Insider/NBA analytics guru Kevin Pelton was live on the scene, and his report for this very blog was really interesting, particularly compared to most alumni games. The contrast between the long-term history of Washington basketball -- i.e., before Lorenzo Romar took over a decade ago -- and the litany of pros Romar has churned out in his 10 years at the school really was instructive. All it takes is one coach and a few great classes for an entrenched perception to shift. That's exactly what Washington has done since 2002, and Romar deserves most of the credit.
Unfortunately, the current NBA players who helped Romar get that message across now have to pay for the pleasure. On Wednesday, Yahoo! Sports reported the NBA has fined Spencer Hawes, Quincy Pondexter, Tony Wroten and Isaiah Thomas $15,000 each for participating in the game. (It "wasn't immediately known" whether Terrence Ross and Nate Robinson were also fined.)
Why the fines? The NBA's collective bargaining agreement says players can't participate in any public offseason games before July 1 or after September 15 without league approval. Apparently, a few guys forgot the whole league approval bit, and UW went ahead with its first alumni game not knowing a handful of its players would soon be chipping in to the NBA's bottom line.
Fortunately, $15,000 isn't overly punitive. Imagine if the fine was really steep. Imagine the chilling effect! Alumni games going underground like fight clubs, chaos in the streets -- one shudders at the thought. Instead, everyone learned a timeless lesson: Before you do anything, read the CBA. Even Jay-Z knows.