Owens Will Jam
May 1 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
As soon as Terrell Owens announced he was going to play basketball this off-season in the USBL, he became the center of attention. Perhaps thatís all Terrell wanted. The spotlight. Heís wanted to be the focal point of the 49ers in every way shape and form since joining the team, and an announcement like the one he made a few weeks ago was a great way to jump into the lime light.
Truth of the matter though, or at least how I perceive it, there is a lot more to it than that. Owens has always expressed how much he loves basketball, and maybe basketball is a game he can play for fun, whereas football is his business. That seems to make sense, most business people have hobbies (though it usually involves a driver and a few irons) and so why canít Terrell?
With the 49ers first mini-camp now over, Terrell will begin to play ball. He will jam, shoot and do all those other things basketball players do. It keeps him in shape, works on his hands - and aside from that whole risk of injury thing, is probably a great way to workout in the off-season.
Personally I respect Owensí right to play basketball. He should be entitled to do as he wishes as long as it does not interfere with his current contract. And while I support him in his rights and freedoms I do disagree with him. If Iím getting paid millions of dollar to design websites (hey I can dream canít I?) and my company doesnít want me to enter a thumb war competition (despite it being my passion :) ) I would tend not to enter it. Itís a matter of respect to the team, and itís a matter of securing my financial future.
So while Iíll disagree with Owens in not willing to abide by the request of his employer, I do commend him for exercising his freedoms. Thereís a much better story here though, and most have failed to see it. Terrell has stated that all of his salary from playing basketball will be contributed to local charities. I think that speaks a lot to Owens character. Heís been under so much scrutiny for this decision, and for others (rightfully or wrongfully so - you decide) but underneath it all, heís showing just what type of person he is. I donít know what percentage of his income heíd make from playing the USBL, but even if its not millions, itís still an athlete giving back to a community, and an athlete that doesnít get nearly enough positive press coverage for doing so.