When Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady or football’s Randy Moss ‘fess up to giving less than 100% is their biggest crime being lazy or just being honest? Helene St. James asks around.

Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady have brought up an interesting issue: Who among us works hard at our jobs every single day?

Both have admitted that they do not. In an interview broadcast last Thursday on TNT, Carter was asked if he pushed himself every game while he was with the Raptors (he was traded from Toronto to New Jersey on Dec. 17). Carter replied, “In years past, no. … You get spoiled when you’re able to do a lot of things. You see that you don’t have to work at it.”

Carter’s cousin Tracy McGrady, who was traded in the off-season to Houston, confesses in this week’s Sports Illustrated that he did the same during his time in Orlando.

“Some nights I did slack off – and I knew that was a terrible thing to do – and I still was slacking off,” McGrady told SI.

The funny part is that although their statements make Carter and McGrady look like punks, they are hardly alone in taking nights off. According to one NBA veteran, there isn’t a player in the league who doesn’t coast through a game now and then.

“There’s going to be times when people say that it looked like we weren’t going hard, because it happens,” Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said Sunday. “I don’t know (any one) in this league who goes hard for 82 games, plus the playoffs. There’s going to be a couple nights where you might just cruise through, or you might tell your coach, `Well, I’m not too much up to it tonight,’ because you’ve got to get your body that rest. But, as far as everyone saying that taking nights off is bad or whatever – no, it’s stuff that we need.”

It has been only four days since Pistons coach Larry Brown lamented his players’ efforts in a 101-79 loss to Memphis. “We had no energy,” he said Thursday.

The players felt the same way, too, according to Antonio McDyess. “After the Memphis game,” he said, “every guy came in the locker room and said, we kind of gave, like, 50 percent, we didn’t go as hard as we should have.”