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Hot (and Cold) Tippers
Anyone who has ever been a waiter, driven a cab, parked cars or caddied knows that the size of a customer's bank account often isn't directly proportional to the size of the tip he leaves. So it's unsurprising that not all the NBA's millionaire players are generous with their gratuities. "Ninety percent of the guys are bad tippers," says a Western Conference general manager. That may be overstating it. In fact, in talking with players, coaches and executives, we heard more stories about good tippers, including the Pistons' Grant Hill, the Hornets' Anthony Mason, the Pacers' Chris Mullin, the Wizards' Chris Webber and the Knicks' Buck Williams, in addition to the ones listed below, than we did about cheapskates. Here are some of the leading members of both groups.
CHARLES BARKLEY, Rockets: Never gives a cab driver less than a 20, no matter how small the fare. Often leaves $100 for a $30 or $40 tab.
MICHAEL JORDAN, Bulls: Golf-club caddies love him, not just because he's polite and remembers their names but also because he often doubles their usual tip.
TIM HARDAWAY, Heat: Takes good care of the ball boys. Often leaves his game sneakers for them.
LARRY JOHNSON, Knicks: Offer to park his car. There might be as much as $50 in it for you.
HORACE GRANT, Magic: Will sometimes ask, "What's the best tip you've ever gotten?" and then match or exceed it.
KEVIN GARNETT, Timberwolves: Pizza-delivery people complain that he never tips, despite his six-year, $125 million contract.
SCOTTIE PIPPEN, Bulls: The staff at one South Florida restaurant dubbed him No Tippin' Pippen.
SHAWN KEMP, Cavaliers: It's not hard to find limo drivers, waiters and waitresses who say the Reign Man left them little or no gratuity.