DOLLAR DOLLAR BILLS

This eye-popping list will make you question everything about your favorite Houston athletes

It's good to be Jose Altuve. Photo by Getty Images.

Nope, I won't do it. Just because the coordinates of my fall/winter home are 29.7180 N. and 95.4558 W., and Toyota Center is only 6.2 miles away and I can walk to NRG Stadium, I'm not going to write about my miserable hometown Houston Rockets (1-10) or Houston Texans (1-8). To paraphrase coach Dennis Green, they are what we thought they'd be, and that's plain horrible.

Instead, an interesting piece appeared on the Internet this week. Forbes Magazine ranked the richest athletes in the world. Here are the Top 5 jocks rolling in it.

1. Michael Jordan (net worth $2.2 billion) – It's got to be the shoes. His lifetime deal with Nike is worth $1.3 billion. Plus he's the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets.

2. Vince McMahon ($1.6 billion) – I know, some may scrunch their nose at including wrestling on a sports list, but there's no denying that Mr. McMahon has made all the right moves since buying the WWE from his father in 1982.

3. Ion Tiriac ($1.2 billion) – The former Romanian tennis star owns the Madrid Masters Series tournament and several banks in Europe. He also is a loudmouth who's made rude comments about Serena Williams and doesn't care what you think.

4. Anna Kasprzak ($1 billion) – Never heard of her. She is a Danish dressage rider. Never mind pro wrestling, I don't consider someone who rides a horse to be an athlete, and that includes jockeys in the fifth race at Churchill Downs. The only real athletes here are the horses.

5. Tiger Woods ($800 million) – All those majors and video games add up.

Rounding out the Top 10:

6. Irish race car driver Eddie Jordan ($600 million).

7. Former NBA player and current fast food kingpin Junior Bridgeman ($600 million).

8. Soccer scoring machine Lionel Messi ($600 million).

9. Former NBA great Magic Johnson ($600 million).

10. Racing legend Michael Schumacher ($600 million).

I would have guessed LeBron James, Floyd Mayweather and George Foreman would be on the list. At the height of the George Foreman Grill craze, Big George was raking $4.5 million a month in royalties from the grilled cheese machines. In 1999, manufacturer Salton cut Foreman a final check for $137 million to use his name to infinity and beyond.

While no Houston athlete broke the Top 10 bank, here's a look at the richest contracts signed, sealed and delivered by our three big sports teams. Obviously we don't know how these athletes spend their money, or how much they've kept. Well, we know how one of them spends his money, but that's not for us to judge. Actually it may be up to a judge to judge. Anyway …

Jose Altuve: the perennial All-Star second baseman signed the richest contract in Astros history in 2018. Altuve's deal is seven years and $163.5 million, including a $21 million signing bonus. All of the money is guaranteed. Altuve will make $29 million next season.

Deshaun Watson signed his four-year, $156 million contract with the Houston Texans last season. That includes a $27 million signing bonus. Because this is the NFL, where nothing is certain (like Watson's future, for example), only $110 million of his deal is guaranteed.

James Harden signed a four-year, $171.1 million contract with the Rockets in 2017. Averaging $42.7 million a year, it was the richest contract in NBA history at the time. Last year Harden maneuvered his way out of Houston and now he's wondering why he's not going to the free throw line in a Brooklyn Nets uniform.

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Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

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