(Pat E. Dangerously, very grateful the quote, “lapdances don’t grow on trees” never made it into the popular consciousness)

Hey, if you’re an NBA fan of a certain vintage, I GUARANTEE you’ll enjoy this post (sorry). The New York Times’ Howard Beck reports the National Basketball Players Association is taking great pains to make sure their rank & file have been briefed on various talking points and tutored in ways not to come off like outta-touched-spoiled-jerks. To wit, the sort of preemptive damage control the union failed to take in 1998.

On the first day of that lockout, the union president Patrick Ewing declared that players were “fighting for our rights” — a modest overstatement that invited ridicule and presaged the public-relations nightmare to come.

In October, Kenny Anderson, a star guard with a $49 million contract, laid out his finances for The New York Times. Among his expenses: $75,000 for insurance and maintenance on his eight cars. Anderson joked that he might have to sell one.

“You know, just get rid of the Mercedes,” he said.

The low point for players came two months later, when agents organized a charity game, with some of the proceeds earmarked for out-of-work players. As Ewing explained then, professional athletes “make a lot of money, but they also spend a lot of money.”

Whatever sympathy the players might have enjoyed surely vanished with those 13 words. The statement stands among the biggest gaffes in sports labor history.

Speaking on behalf of his former clients, Falk said: “I’m sure they do regret it, particularly Kenny. I’m sure Kenny regrets having said what he said.”