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

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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 FoxSports.com’s podcast, a well-respected Las Vegas columnist shared the following story, as quoted by IamaGM.com:

“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 | IamaGM.com.

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.

Joe Johnson dominates late, Jazz beat Clippers 105-98 to even series 2-2

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Rudy Gobert was back at center, giving the Jazz an emotional boost and someone who can match up with DeAndre Jordan (although Gobert wasn’t moving like his normal self).

Gordon Hayward had to leave the game with food poisoning.

It didn’t matter, the Jazz had Joe Johnson. The veteran forward who knows how to get buckets scored or assisted on 20 straight points for Utah in the fourth, sparking a run that got the Jazz a 105-98 come-from-behind win.

The series is now tied 2-2, heading back to Los Angeles for Game 5 Tuesday.

When people talk about Johnson, the first thing that seems to come up is the oversized contract Atlanta gave him, but they forget this is a seven-time All-Star. He was nicknamed “iso-joe” because of how Mike Woodson’s offense used him heavily in isolation for the Hawks, but that was playing to the strength of his skill set. He can get buckets. Just ask the Clippers, as Johnson finished with 28.

The return of Gobert, a quietly strong game from Derrick Favors, plus maybe something else (like the heavy load last game) seemed to wear on DeAndre Jordan, who was not as sharp as normal in this one. The Clippers again leaned on Chris Paul — 27 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds — and Jamal Crawford who had 25 points off the bench. However, take those two out of the equation and the rest of the Clippers shot just 34.2 percent against that elite Jazz defense. In the fourth quarter, the entire Clippers’ team shot 31.4 percent total.

Utah got good performances from their role players, who stepped up with Hayward out. Rodney Hood had 18 points and some key buckets in the fourth. Then there was Joe Ingles, who defended CP3 for stretches, was a force getting where he wanted on the pick-and-roll leading to 11 assists, plus he had two key threes down the stretch.

The Clippers clearly missed Blake Griffin in some of these matchups, but Los Angeles is going to have to adjust to that in this series because he’s not returning.

This series is even and feels like it may well go seven. The Clippers have two out of the remaining three at home, and they have the best player in the series in Chris Paul. All that may not be enough if the Jazz role players keep stepping up.

Watch Paul George lose JR Smith, put Cavaliers guard on skates with crossover

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Game 4 between the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers was hotly-contested in the first half. The Cavaliers led, 58-52, after two quarters.

But one special play came when Indiana’s Paul George put JR Smith on his heels, with the Cavaliers guard reeling back some 10 feet after a pull-back crossover left George alone at the 3-point line.

Via Twitter:

You might say George pushed off with his left hand, but you could also point out that Smith then turned a flop-like head kick into an actual blown defensive assignment.

Cleveland completed the series sweep on Indiana with the win, 106-102.

Kobe Bryant’s new Canvas video is brought to you by the letter O (for Obsession)

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Kobe Bryant’s Canvas series returned to our television screen on Saturday. The Sesame Street-like videos center around finding a place to draw motivation from in order to, as the most recent video says, dominate the will of your opponent.

They’re … weird.

They are also extremely Kobe-ish in that they stay true to the former Los Angeles Lakers great’s internal vision of how to play basketball.

The last one we saw was all about finding a musecage, and using your dark thoughts to propel you to win. This one is all about obsession, and how that emotion separates those who like to win from true competitors.

I’m personally all for these videos. They are maybe a little cheesy, or single-minded, but that’s sort of the point. It accurately reflects Kobe, which is something you don’t often see from retired players trying to transition their brand from player to former player.

Isaiah Thomas scores 33, Celtics beat Bulls 104-95 to tie series

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CHICAGO (AP) Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points, and the Boston Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls 104-95 on Sunday to tie their first-round playoff series at 2-all.

Boston blew a 20-point lead, but Thomas keyed a third-quarter run that put the Celtics back on top after Chicago briefly went ahead.

Gerald Green made four 3-pointers on his way to 18 points, helping the top-seeded Celtics return the favor in Chicago after dropping the first two games at home. Al Horford added 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston.

Jimmy Butler carried the Bulls with 33 points and nine assists. Nikola Mirotic and seldom-used Isaiah Canaan each scored 13 points, but Dwyane Wade finished with just 11.

Canaan made his first appearance since April 10, with Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg searching for help at point guard with Rajon Rondo missing his second straight game because of a broken right thumb.

The Celtics led by 20 in the second quarter and were still up 10 in the third when Chicago scored 12 straight. The Bulls went ahead 65-63 on Robin Lopez‘s hook shot with 4:35 left in the quarter.

Thomas answered with back-to-back layups and scored 10 points in a 12-0 run that gave the Celtics a 75-65 lead, and they withstood a push by the Bulls early in the fourth.

With Thomas and Green each scoring 16 in the first half, the Celtics carried a 57-46 lead into the break.

Butler led the Bulls with 17 in the half. But the offense struggled in a big way with Rondo unavailable. Jerian Grant started and went to the bench after about five ineffective minutes. Michael Carter-Williams then picked up two quick fouls, forcing the Bulls to go with Canaan in the first quarter.

The Celtics, meanwhile, led 41-21 early in the second quarter. But things started to turn after Canaan stole the ball from Marcus Smart and scored on a layup.

Smart feigned throwing the ball at Butler. The two came nose to nose, resulting in technical fouls for both players, and the Bulls started to shoot their way back into it.

Mirotic hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight in the quarter. Bobby Portis cut it to 52-42 with his basket late in the half, and Butler hit two free throws with 22.6 seconds left to make it 57-46.

RONDO FINED

The NBA fined Rondo for attempting to trip Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder from the bench in Game 3. Crowder jawed at the Bulls’ bench after hitting a jumper and Rondo extended his leg as Crowder walked by.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Thomas was just 1 of 9 on 3-pointers but made 12 of 13 free throws.

Bulls: Butler made 19 of 23 foul shots after failing to get to the line in Game 3. … Canaan was inactive for the first three games.