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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. jmclarkent - Aug 6, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    “Bad” to not tip (even if it is just the standard 15-20%) someone who makes a base = or less than minimum wage, provided acceptable service and probably lost out on a night worth of paying clients to wait on them? No.

    “Pathetic”? Hell yes.

    • elmanian - Aug 7, 2011 at 11:09 AM

      I used to serve Melo in Club Purple when he was 19 in denver. He was a complete dick never tipped, and would completely blow us off. We went out of our way to make sure that he never looked like he had a cocktail in his hand, and he wouldn’t even thank us. We used to wash out a juice bottle with water and fill it with Grand ma and pineapple juice. Freakin kids man. On the other hand though, Marcus Camby was one of my greatest pleasures to serve ever. He’d come in, hang out, drink a couple of corona’s and just bs with people. Chris Anderson was damn good people too. I don’t care about all the stuff that he got into, everybody makes mistakes, but he was a good dude. Chris sat and talked with my mom while she was on vacation for 20 minutes in the middle of a full club, at the bar, just because he knew she was my mom. She talks about it to this day. I always enjoyed serving the Nug’s in the day, but someone should have taught Melo then and there to take care of the people that were taking care of him (and stop drinkin that nasty cocktail).

  2. boldinshowers - Aug 6, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Shocker……they are probably just trying to pinch pennies since there will not be NBA this year…cheap bazzturds!

  3. gridirongoon24 - Aug 6, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    God I hate Lebron more and more every day

  4. ljl2 - Aug 6, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    The use of “oversight” infers an accidental occurrence that would normally be handled in a different manner. It isn’t an oversight when every waiter/waitress in NE Ohio dreaded LeBron coming in because of the well known fact in the Canton/Akron/Cleveland area that LeBron was going to steal them from tables, keep them open later than their shift ran, and not tip them. That’s not oversight, its being an ass who wants to remind you that tomorrow you have to wake up to the same crummy job you were working. But at least people will tip you tomorrow.

  5. badhardyninersfan - Aug 7, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    This is freaking ridiculous…why would a racial or ethnic pass be made because a bunch of wahoos don’t wanna tip.. So stupid and completely biased.. This world is so full of idiots like this, it’s a wonder we stay killing our own kind

  6. floriosbigtoe - Aug 7, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    I live in Vegas and when the All-Star game was here this place was a madhouse and from everybody I had talked to there wasn’t a tip to be had up and down the strip. While the city loved being in the spotlight for a major sporting event the workers never wanted to see another NBA All Star game in their lives.

  7. barklikeadog - Aug 7, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Uh, so how is this racial or how could it be considered racial as the writer kept saying? Stupidity, arrogance and generally poor manners know no skin color. An ass is an ass!

  8. randysavage4ever - Aug 7, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    combined they have 1 ring – and thats wade’s 06 ring , but Shaq was on the team and it was Shaqs last year of his prime so he had a big part of the success

    pretty much they are all losers on and off the court, thats disgusting…way to give back.

    like i said before – carmelo wanted NY so bad – SWEEP BY BOSTON, la la vasquez needs to be slapped silly

    WADE – dates star jones – just look her up online

    lebron – anything u want

    chris paul – derrick rose will eat him alive, d.rose the truth

    thats why the NBA is so corny and whack these, bc immature kids are the stars, im glad the Mavs and Dirk won it – grown men BI

    and any NBA player better not think they got anything on the NFL… period.

    NFL PLAYERS more legit then NBA players

    Braylon Edwards snuffed Lebrons homeboy, Lebron didnt do anything.

    • okcallday - Aug 7, 2011 at 2:54 AM

      i like how you created this argument in a well-thought out manner with rational points and valid evidence. you are a shining gem of reason in the intellectual cesspool of online basketball forums.

  9. downtowndanny - Aug 7, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    dude, if my broke ass can tip, they have no excuse. thats sad, it shows you what maturity level they’re on. yet they talk about how they give back, c’mon dude you can’t write out a decent tip to the person thats been serving your punk ass all night? see, so the next time the stick up man bags one of their chains, i’m not gonna feel any remorse for you bums.

  10. trbowman - Aug 7, 2011 at 4:19 AM

    I used to bartend, nothing is worse than people who don’t tip. And it’s often the rich snobs that don’t tip. I just lost a ton of respect for Paul, Wade and Anthony. I had no respect to lose for LBJ.

  11. 1historian - Aug 7, 2011 at 6:56 AM

    They don’t tip well (or at all) because they are jerks.

    Next question.

  12. denverdude7 - Aug 7, 2011 at 7:26 AM

    This kind of behavior coming from Bron-Bron is to be expected. It is in keeping with his “me first” attitude so obviously on display recently. Bron-Bron’s “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” statement is proof enough for me.

    The same behavior from Wade however comes as something of a surprise. The impression I get from him is that of a hard working good guy earning his day in the sun. Looks like my impression was incorrect.

    I have held a long standing belief that every person should work two jobs early in their careers. The first job would be as a waiter/waitress/busperson. The second would be cleaning offices. After experiencing the daily demands of customers while not even paid minimum wage, few would mistreat a waitress or waiter. After cleaning offices for awhile, few would discard a full cup of coffee or soda in the trash ever again. There is nothing quite like taking out trash with stale coffee running down your leg. Ahh. the memories.

  13. blueintown - Aug 7, 2011 at 8:15 AM

    Yes, it is bad. Next.

  14. seanb20124 - Aug 7, 2011 at 8:32 AM

    I have never heard b’s don’t tip. Never

  15. Jay - Aug 7, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    “It should be noted that in all likelihood Mr. Pink is shot at the end of the film.”

    Actually, Mr. Pink is the only one that survives as he is arrested as he tries to escape. You can hear it in the background if you listen closely.

    Not tipping if service is poor is one thing. However, if you get to the point where you actually get a nickname because of your stinginess? Then you’ve got some issues.

    And give me a break with the “racial implication” nonsense. 83% of all players in the NBA are black. If a story comes out about NBA players being poor tippers, there’s a strong likelihood those players are black.

  16. pl4tinum514 - Aug 7, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    I can’t think of one good reason not to tip, and I don’t have that kind of money. I’m not a huge Rasheed Wallace fans but if a rage-head like him can find time to pull a few extra bucks out for a tip, then anyone should be able to do it, lol. Just makes these guys look even more pathetic. I think this “karma” will stop them from winning anything for a long, long time.

  17. neboss - Aug 7, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    My brother in law owns a chain restaurant outside Philly, and lots of the Eagles did the same thing – McNabb, Owens…always left bad tips – or none at all. But their line of thinking was that having them in the restaurant would bring in business for the owner, and hence they felt they didn’t need to leave a tip, because the owner would make more money off of them being there. Truth is, it never brought in more business, so their logic was flawed. But the author needs to consider more view points when stating his opinions…did he ever ask an athlete why he wasn’t leaving a good tip?

  18. vette78man - Aug 7, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    LBJ’s cheap ways and lack of tipping are legendary here in Cleveland. His mom Gloria felt very entitled and thought her group’s entire bill (well into the thousands) should be comped because, well, her son is LBJ. A cop was called to quiet the kerfuffle. A friend who bartended a private LBJ party got stiffed in tips. Why? LBJ said the wait staff know what to expect in that line of work. Coming from the upbringing he had, you would think he’d be more sensitive to folks not making a whole lot.

  19. MBC1965 - Aug 7, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    Proof that no amount of money can buy class. This shameful fact has followed LeBron during his time in Cleveland, and now his new partners are on board as well. Plenty of LeBron no tipping stories around the Cleveland/Akron area, and the word is that his philosophy is nobody tips me when I do my job. I beg to differ on that, and for more proof let’s dig into your contract.

  20. mrblazino - Aug 7, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    I appreciate the thought in composing the article and the rational pros and cons. What is STUPID is the over the top commentary bashing these players for not tipping. Look, forget race, if you were poor and came from nothing some behaviors dont come naturally like tipping. If we listed the amount of money that these guys donated to charity would you same HATERS praise their generosity I think not. You guys find ANY reason to hate, tipping is just the new vehicle. I love LBJ, Wade, and Randy Moss(threw him in there because I know yall hate him too) for thier entertainment value on their stage. I don’t judge because I’m not perfect. G.A.L. (GET A LIFE)…….oh yeah I think tips are based on the service you get not the salary you make

  21. dberd12 - Aug 7, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    When LeBron was in Cleveland, he would tell waiters and waitresses that his presence is a good enough tip for them!

  22. trueballs - Aug 7, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    not one person has mentioned MJ or Pippen in these comments. So if LBJ had won a championship or two and had a more charming personality then we would simply ignore this? I know it’s hard to see, people….but LeBron is not actually the devil

    and kudos to Kobe for being a gentleman off the court.

    • sportsfanatic99 - Aug 7, 2011 at 7:45 PM

      I posted a MJ comment at 7:37 if you are interested.

  23. josh928 - Aug 7, 2011 at 11:07 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

  24. LPad - Aug 7, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Find it hard to believe the Cosmopolitan doesn’t charge a 20% gratuity… I mean it was a bachelor party for rich people… they weren’t going up to bar and paying for a beer in cash a round at a time…

    • cmmncents - Aug 7, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      LPad, what is 20% of “comped?” However your logic is right for people like you and me…the 18 or 20% gratuity would have already been added.

  25. asublimeday - Aug 7, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    They’re probably so overwhelmed with child support payments….

    • mytthor - Aug 7, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      Um, that’s very funny and all, but LeBron actually has 2 kids with his wife and they’re still together.

      Maybe you could switch to another stereotype? Had to save the money for rims?

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