*Obviously, Delonte West’s experience is unique – we seriously doubt that LeBron James is busing tables at the Outback or that Dwyane Wade is flipping burgers at McDonald’s (they’ve got money enough to buy any store they want, several times over). But this story does bring forth some interesting elements of the lockout. How long can some of these players really hold out if they’re not getting their weekly paychecks?

Most players should be set for a long time the first time they ink their contracts – hell, league minimum for a rookie is $473, 604. Factor in all the elements of a professional athlete’s life, though, and you can see how some players might be in trouble.

Sports Illustrated had a fantastic article on athletes’ financial woes from a few years ago. Everything, from agents’ fees to the keep-up-with-the-Joneses’ lavish lifestyle of a professional player, to financial pressures from friends and family or divorce and child support teams up to drain money out of players’ accounts like sand through the hourglass.

We have to remember that these are very young (and in many cases, very immature) men with a very, very large amount of money in their checking accounts. Most of us act irresponsibly with our money. Just check the amount of credit card usage in America. Why should we think professional athletes would be any different?

The NBA players’ union might talk tough about standing their ground, but we wonder how long it can keep up this front. As more and more players miss those paychecks, we seriously doubt they’ll have the patience to stock groceries at the A&P.

Hey, at least they can reach the top shelves…