Radical charity

Hanging around hotel lobbies too many hours can really get the mind wandering.

One idea: However far apart the owners and players are in these NBA collective bargaining talks, how about if they just give that much to charity?

Owners would essentially agree to pay what the players say they need. Players would earn only what the owners have offered to pay.

It might cost almost nothing. Put together the 30 owners and the 400 players, and they give an astounding amount of money to charity every year. I'd be curious how that total might compare to the gap in these negotiations.

There'd be tremendous PR value. Millionaires and billionaires reached an impasse, and overcame it by doing good for those most in need! Not a bad message for a league to send in a tough economy. Not a bad way to connect with basketball fans. How many schools could have those NBA-sponsored reading and learning centers? How many kids could go to college on a scholarship sponsored by NBA players?

It could also help the ol' tax bill. Tax lawyers would know how to set up such a thing. (A new foundation? Individual donations?) Maybe the NBA would set up a system to match the amount players donate to charities of their choices. However it works best it would be a chance to put together a tidy annual sum for a good cause, and that amount may be similar to what these wealthy people donate every year anyway.

Could be one of those deals where an ugly duckling (selfishness, avarice, the nickel-and-diming of the wealthy) emerges into a swan.

OK, I'll go back to daydreaming now.