Tito Roger
SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - June 9, 2020 - 12:00am

Tennis icon Roger Federer is the world’s highest paid athlete for 2020. With the Covid-19 pandemic knocking out almost all major sporting events, it was the first time that a tennis player topped the list. Federer earned $106.3 million, including $100 from endorsements, in the last 12 months to bring down soccer’s Lionel Messi of Argentina from the top spot according to the annual Forbes. The Swiss tennis superstar has won 20 Grand Slam single titles. Roger Federer is the uncle of Vince Federer, who is married to my niece Julia Uytiepo Palmiano Federer. Both are residing in Switzerland.  Other players in the list are Christiano Ronaldo ($105 million), Messi ($104 million) and Neymar ($95.5 million) of soccer.  Basketball star Lebron James is fifth with $88.2 million.  Naomi Osaka of Japan earned $37.4 million surpassing fellow tennis star Serena Williams ($36 million) to become the world’s highest-earning female athlete.  I once told Vince to ask for Roger’s rackets (“kadtong iyang gi panglabay na”). I also joked if “puede ko makahuwam bisan gamay kay wala ko kadawat og ayuda during the CoviD -19 pandemic”. “Di ba hari ka Tito? said Julia. Yes, pero rock n roll lang”.

Wes Unseld dies

Basketball Hall of Fame Wes Unseld, who spent his entire career with the Baltimore/Washington Bullets, died last week from complications of pneumonia, at age 74.  Unseld, as one player said, was the greatest 6’6” center ever (although he was listed at 6’7). The Louisville, Kentucky native was a three-time All-American and was called the “outlet king” because he was probably the best two hand overhead length-of-the-court passer.   In his rookie year (1968-1969), he scored only 13.8 points per game but his 18.2 rebounds per game helped him win both the Rookie of the Year Award and MVP honors.  Only Wilt Chamberlain had won both awards.  Unseld has grabbed nearly 14,000 lifetime rebounds and led the Washington Bullets to the NBA crown in 1978.  Rest in Peace, Wes.

Race with no race

The killing of George Floyd in Minnesota sparked a massive protest all over America and some parts of Europe. Racism again became an issue.  I once got the ire of sports officials when I criticized the sports body for recruiting Fil-Ams to play for the country. They called me a racist. I remember in one press conference in Manila years back, I asked the question “ What is a race with no race?”.Nobody knew the answer even if I offered 20,000 Korean won to my fellow media men.  They were puzzled.  “Lumba pero walay lumba”?. When nobody could guess, I told them that a race with no race is a race with no color.  Meaning, you may be black, white or brown.

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