- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Latrell Sprewell is still trying to feed his family.

It has been one year since Sprewell rejected a three-year, $21million contract from the Minnesota Timberwolves, saying, “I’ve got a family to feed.” Now the 35-year-old is unemployed, unsigned and quite possibly undernourished.

In the NBA, they call this being a free agent. But this is the real world, where interest rates are up and Sprewell is just trying to make ends meet.

Sprewell faces middle age with few job prospects and no jump shot. He holds a sign that reads, “Will shoot 41 percent for food.” He lives in a van down by the river.

It was easy to disparage Sprewell last season, when he was making $14.6million while averaging a career-low 12.8 points.

But this is serious. Now the man is destitute, and his family is hungry.

Sprewell has three sons and two daughters from three different relationships. He began this baby-making enterprise when he was 17 years old.

These kids can’t be expected to scrape by on Ramen Noodles and mayonnaise sandwiches. Sally Struthers needs to get involved. Won’t you please help? Don’t turn away. You could change a child’s life — for the price of a cup of coffee.

This development is nothing new. Sprewell always has been a family man.

In 1994, Sprewell’s 4-year-old daughter, Page, was attacked by one of the family’s four pit bulls. Page had an ear severed, but Sprewell didn’t have the dog put to sleep until the 10th and final day of the animal’s quarantine.

“Stuff happens,” he said.

That’s true. Stuff just seems to happen a lot more when Sprewell is around.

In 1997, when he was with the Golden State Warriors, Sprewell threatened to kill coach P.J. Carlesimo. He dragged him to the ground by his throat and choked him for 10 to 15 seconds before cooler heads prevailed. Or at least until Sprewell returned to the court 20 minutes later and punched the 48-year-old, landing a glancing blow.

Said Sprewell: “I wasn’t choking P.J. that hard. I mean, he could breathe.” That’s Sprewell, a man who lets people breathe.

NBA commissioner David Stern suspended Sprewell for 82 games. An arbitrator later reduced the sentence to 68 games.

The suspension cost Sprewell $6.4million and his shoe deal with Converse, taking food off his family’s table.

Now it is happening again. If there is an NBA team out there with a heart, please call.

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