Skip to content

Is it “bad” if LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul don’t tip?

Aug 6, 2011, 10:30 PM EDT

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (L) and teammate LeBron James wait to leave the stadium after losing the NBA Championship to the Dallas Mavericks in Miami Reuters

Step carefully, children. We’re near the edge of a dangerous ledge.

So NBA players not tipping is not a breaking story. It’s been talked about for ages. Fairly often it comes with certain racial implications that are fairly well documented (or at least claims thereof have been). But instead of going down that road, let’s start with how this is currently relevant. On Jason Whitlock of’s podcast, a well-respected Las Vegas columnist shared the following story, as quoted by

“People at the Cosmopolitan said when Chris Paul had his bachelor party here last month, he had LeBron in and the whole gang.  They were comped well into the morning.  The word is that they never left a tip for any night that they were out getting comped.  We’ve heard that about LeBron, that’s been common.  I’m sure you’ve heard the nicknames that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen had out here.  The dealers called him  “Hoardin’ Jordan”, and Pippen was “Scottie No-tippin’ Pippen”.

via Las Vegas insiders claim that NBA superstars (LeBron, Melo, Wade) refused to tip at Chris Paul’s bachelor party |

So that’s fun.

There’s no point in getting into the racial implications, because this is a basketball blog and I’m not a well-tenured professor on race relations in this country, plus I’m definitely not here to make any sort of high and mighty or insightful headway using this ridiculously stupid topic that could be inaccurate. From a practical perspective,  even if the racial implications did create a cultural divide based on an income gap, you would think that would be somewhat effected by the millions and millions (and millions) of dollars these guys started making when they were 18-21. They make so much that to tip, even at a standard rate of 20% for meals and however you determine drink tips (I always heard a buck per drink plus 10% on the tab, but then, I drink in tiny, terrible bars that usually have Natty Light on tap), isn’t going to so much as phase them. Money means nothing to them, that’s pretty obvious from their lifestyle and approach to spending (they’re not wasteful, but we can tell from media reports these guys like to have a good time). So then there’s this question.

Do they not tip because it’s an ethical decision, or is simply a case of oversight and being inconsiderate?

You’ll remember Mr. Pink from the Quentin Tarantino classic “Reservoir Dogs” not tipping out of principle. It was his contention that it’s the service staff member’s choice to work in that profession, and that they shouldn’t be rewarded extra simply for doing their job. It should be noted that in all likelihood Mr. Pink is shot at the end of the film. I believe this is what LeBron James would refer to as “karma.” Is it the case that James, Anthony, and Wade, who are treated like gods nearly everywhere they go, who are waited on hand and foot, really don’t tip because they don’t feel it’s right? Or is it more likely a simple oversight wrought of arrogance? You have to think it’s the latter.

Even if there was an ethical reason for the players not to provide a reasonable tip, it would be overshadowed by the sheer amount of money they have and the service they demand. But maybe that’s the key here. What if the service really was that bad? What if they did not receive the sterling personal attention they were expecting?

Even still, a small tip should probably be considered. Maybe they just thought it was added onto the bill. In that case, shouldn’t you leave something additional anyway, considering the amount of time and attention your party no doubt drew?

One more thing. The idea that this is an NBA-general thing is definitively not true in my experience. A few years ago I spoke with the waitstaff at the Cheesecake Factor at Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas (I was broke and in Las Vegas for work, this is what you end up doing). The staff there told me how Rasheed Wallace would routinely eat at the bar while his wife shopped and that he always tipped exceptionally well. Same story for Shaquille O’Neal, and Donte Greene. Kobe Bryant is known to be a decent tipper as well. So it’s not everyone. But these guys, apparently, are the exception.

This should help James and Wade’s public opinion greatly.

Also, who doesn’t tip at a bachelor party? Seriously, guys. It’s a bachelor party. You’re supposed to show off and be nice to everyone because you’re acting like morons.

  1. asublimeday - Aug 7, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Hahaha “trueballs” is right. Not one comment about MJ being notorious for not tipping but uh oh Lebron doesn’t tip and here we go. Doesn’t matter anything he does gets slammed by some sportswriter and a bunch of no life followers. Oh and by the way “randysavage4ever” nice job of taking away the credibility of Dwayne Wades championship by saying Shaq was the reason they won it. I though u were pretty stupid but then I read where u said Rose is better than CP3 and realized u have no credibility

    You’d be hard pressed to find a knowledgeable basketball fan who doesn’t think rose is better than Paul. It’s common sense at this point.

    • blueintown - Aug 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      No it’s not. See?

    • mytthor - Aug 7, 2011 at 1:19 PM

      You’re right that it’s “common” sense but the common opinion often isn’t the right one. Paul’s less flashy but is a much better player still. Rose can get there, he has the talent and lord knows he has the athleticism, but he doesn’t yet make the players around him better, and he doesn’t have a jump shot. Paul can score at will, make players like Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza good, and make David West, a guy who’s one elite skill is shooting 17 foot jumpers, an all-star.

    • bigmeechy74 - Aug 9, 2011 at 7:47 PM

      paul is the best point guard in the nba when he’s healthy and every knowledgeable basketball fan knows that

  2. usdiveteam - Aug 7, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Rose (mvp)

  3. diablito0402 - Aug 7, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Expected for lbj, biggest piece of crap in basketball, but wade, that shocked me.

  4. rayrsatx - Aug 7, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    What is so surprising here? Do you actually think that self centered, selfish NBA players would actually give a dam about the fans that worship them & the people that serve them?

    • willhnic - Aug 8, 2011 at 5:41 PM

      Hey folks. I hate to tell you this…but I have been out with many high paid business professionals that don’t tip either. Both black and white. I think athletes are demonized for whatever reasons. Note that these articles talk about 3-4 names. You do understand that there are hundreds of well paid athletes in sports…so do the math. Don’t blame all players for the bad judgement of a few. Oh…and don’t only blame athletes because they get disproportionate media attention when going to local bars and clubs. Trust me…they are the same as the rest of us. Quit hating…

  5. rayrsatx - Aug 7, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    It’s this inflated ego that causes NBA Superstars to lavish upon themselves the finest clothes, cars, jewelry, & manorial plantations that money can buy yet lacks the compassion to compensate a restaurant worker who depends upon the proceeds! Lebron & company are losers off as well as on the court!

  6. sportsfanatic99 - Aug 7, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    So here is your comment on MJ and Pippin. I used to be a waiter at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House in NYC back in 1998. Mike, Pippin, and several others came in and of course had their ENTIRE meal comped including wine. This was obviously a VIP table and a fellow waiter was assigned only that table for the entire night. When they finished dinner Mike threw down a very meager tip I think it might have been a couple of $20’s which when you think 8+ people and wine at a steak house would have been $1000+ and warrented a tip well over $100 and really should have been $200. The tip was terrible if they had paid for the meal itself but they weren’t so to only tip $40 is simply horrible. But here is the worst part. Jordan threw the cash on the table got up and started walking for the exit and was followed by everyone else except Pippin. He hung for a couple seconds and while everyone else walked away Pippin pocketed the $40 tip himself. I repeat Pippin took the tip. The waiter therefore made NOTHING for the entire night and the management didn’t do anything for him to make up for it. Pretty crappy all the way around.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 8, 2011 at 4:12 PM

      NO…F******G…WAY!!??? Pippen stayed behind to pilfer the tip!? Really?? How low is that! This can’t be a true tale, that would be the holy grail of jankie-ness. How funny would it be if after that dinner they all went to get beers at a bar and Pip used Jordan’s $40 for his brews…and STILL didn’t tip!! LMFAO

      • sportsfanatic99 - Aug 8, 2011 at 8:07 PM

        I swear it happened.

    • berbes - Aug 8, 2011 at 9:59 PM

      how can anyone NOT believe pippen is that kind of lowlife?

      a large % of these talented folk grew up with nothing, and for some reason have utter contempt for servants, especially ‘whitey’. i’ve attended a few of these affairs, and i can almost guarantee you pippen didn’t tell his buddies. his peers already knew about his habits, like gun carrying, woman slapping, and the like.

      lbj and his co-workers are just the latest generation. sad, but true.

  7. goforthanddie - Aug 7, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    They pay other people to tip for them. Or not tip.

  8. bigtrav425 - Aug 7, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    Im from Cleveland and LBJ is def legendary here for the NON tipping..and im hearing about this more and more from others NBA stars…sounds like the NBA and the players ass. may need to step in soon atleast knock some sense into these rich scumbags

  9. rayrsatx - Aug 7, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    They pay other people to do their dirty work for them & not compensate what they deem, ” the lower class!”

  10. otter954 - Aug 7, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    Mr blazing is definitely black. I bet he doesn’t tip either.

  11. rayrsatx - Aug 7, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    There has always been a belief or stereotype that African Americans as a whole do not tip. Whether this is true or not, these so called rich NBA players do not dispel that stigma!

  12. willhnic - Aug 8, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    This is a stupid topic. I personally tip well..however, I don’t get why I should tip based on a % of total cost? That doesn’t make sense? Soooo….if a person takes a table and gets drinks for two hours but only pays $100, but the next table orders food that costs $200 but just sits and talks but not orders drinks for the total 2 hours…they should get paid more? I was a bartender and I never expected to be paid like that. It is ridiculous. Plus…I never believe heresay because there are too many haters out there. Plus…working in the industry, people will exaggerate the tip they get because they want more money. This is stupid…can we talk about something more compelling around an actual sport or a true error in judgement?

  13. mrblazino - Aug 8, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    otter954 -Aug 7, 2011 at 10:51 PM “Mr blazing is definitely black. I bet he doesn’t tip either.”

    How did you know I was black,was it my lack of rush to judgement like you “black athlete” haters. No? Maybe my support of the antichrist, lebron? Lol. You kill me with your igorance and stupidity. Just because I text like I got sense dont mean I wont get niggerish on your a$$. I tried not to play the race card but some of you “pigment deprived” idiots think that because we can jump higher or run faster that we owe you something. Im defending the over the top and unwarranted criticism of LBJ! Were you there when he “didnt” tip? No, oh your just taking the word of someone that wouldn’t be satisfied if they got $100 tip and would think they deserved $200. Get the fluck outta here……oh yeah I do tip when its warranted and as you can see I snap when warranted too…..far from racist, just hate judgmental holier than thou idiots…… i love white people. My best friend is white :-)

    • lblock07 - Aug 9, 2011 at 3:56 PM

      “I love white people. My best friend is white” lol.literally. I’ve heard that line so many times through out my life (replace white with black) it truly is ridiculous. It’s actually very sad really that these negative stories are continuing to run about nba players when EVERY OTHER SPORT also has a few douchebags and fools. The media showcases or spins the stories they think will sell and in the case of Black Americans it often is one that perpetuates an awful stereotype. That’s why whenever a player does something stupid people start calling them all hoodlums and thugs. YOU DON’T KNOW THEIR LIVES! And just because SOME may have grown up in rough neighborhoods doesn’t mean they were criminals! It’s just plain ignorance.

      • lblock07 - Aug 9, 2011 at 3:59 PM

        By the way. I live in Minnesota and I’ve heard that Kevin Love doesn’t tip either. What’s his excuse.

      • mrblazino - Aug 9, 2011 at 4:30 PM

        TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!! To illustrate the point, lebron had a charity event in ohio, where’s da articles, anyone singing his praises??? For the haters, just think for a moment, imagine all your mistakes and negative parts of your life over exposed for the world to see, while your good deeds and generosity is not even noted or brushed over……of course you would look like a douchebag…but I see beyond the media “reporting their news” if you can’t, I feel sorry for you. by the way, I live in Miami,Liked lebron in cleveland, love him in dade….

  14. rayrsatx - Aug 8, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    I bet all these cheap NBA players tip their strippers at the gentleman’s club, cuz’ the women won’t “comp” their sexual favors!

  15. bigmeechy74 - Aug 9, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    i’ve worked at restaurants and i’ve dealt poker at a casino. therefore i think not tipping is a crime against humanity. who do these people think they are anyway? they have no respect for their fellow man. people stiff all the time and i’ve never understood how they live with themselves. its because most people live like they are the only person that exists and it never crosses their mind to worry about other humans having to pay their bills and feed their kids

  16. thetooloftools - Aug 13, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    I heard Patrick Ewing knew how to “grease the skids” and people fought over each other to serve him.
    Dat B how it B dun.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2712)
  2. K. Irving (2082)
  3. A. Davis (1781)
  4. K. Bryant (1580)
  5. L. James (1558)
  1. T. Thompson (1283)
  2. K. Durant (1258)
  3. B. Jennings (1186)
  4. J. Clarkson (1122)
  5. G. Davis (1035)