Dear 2004 graduating class of sports fans, jocks, wannabes,
willbes, players, playaz and everybody in between: Thank you for
allowing me to deliver your commencement address.

Someone once said, "Free advice is worth every penny." So as you
embark on a great new adventure, follow closely these little
instructions I'm about to give you, and your life will be more
screwed up than that of any member of the Jackson 5.

Give Don King power of attorney.

When interviewing for a job in the sports industry, always arrive
wearing your favorite throwback jersey. Also, grab your crotch a
lot and say, "Word, bossman!" It lends authenticity.

And always begin those interviews with the question, "You don't
have any kind of screwy drug policy here, do you?"

Always be an hour late for everything. It adds mystery.

Bet big on the Chargers.

And remember, if your kitty gets low, you can always make it back
with a big move on the Monday night game.

Keep up with the Joneses. In fact, make it your sole goal in life
to kick the Joneses' ass.

Never ever take crap from Mike Tyson.

Do what Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods do: Never take a stand on
anything, because you might make somebody angry and screw up your
endorsement possibilities.

Buy all your Rolexes from out-of-breath vendors near Shea
Stadium.

Never miss a single game of your beloved Boston Red Sox, even if
it means staring at the Internet radio feed on your computer for
four hours. Tucking in your three-year-old can wait. You've got
to keep your score book up to date.

Try to please everybody.

Move to N.Y. or L.A. right away. That's where all the important
people are.

Don't play basketball. Play EA Sports NBA Live 2004 basketball.
Don't join a football team. Get in a fantasy football league.
Don't shovel the walk. Drive 20 minutes to the athletic club, and
get on the sim-snow-shoveler 2000.

Find a cigarette brand, and stick to it, dammit.

Men, when you get your first apartment, nail your baseball cap
collection up on the wall. Chicks dig it.

Supersize everything.

Get more tattoos than Allen Iverson. They age you gracefully.

And wear enough jewelry to set off the airport metal detector
from the Hertz lot.

Once you're married, never go to bed mad. It's important that you
settle, once and for all, who forgot to tape the Cavaliers' game.

Get deeply involved in world championship wrestling.

Let Bob Knight be your moral compass.

Buy a great big house on a great big wide street with a three-car
garage. Then anchor yourself in a La-Z-Boy, and vow to never miss
a SportsCenter or meet the neighbors.

Remember, charities only want your check, not your time.

And never do community service without being sentenced first.

Get involved with the Big Brother program. They'll take you to
the ball game and buy you ice cream cones.

Secretly tape all your conversations with your agent and hitmen.
And keep the tapes where prosecutors can easily find them once
the trial starts.

Always get one for the road.

If you get pulled over by a cop, be sure to say, "You're not
gonna check in the trunk, right?"

Keep your grudges handy.

Buy the biggest freakin' SUV you can find. If your kids want to
talk to you from the backseat, they can use their cellphones.

Care deeply about your kids' sports. Call the coach a lot. Attend
every practice, constantly hollering instruction. If your kid is
into hockey, get him on teams in three different parts of town,
even if it means he has to eat dinner in the car every night.
Remember, your kids are your second chance in life. Don't let
them blow it for you.

If you're about to make a bet with a very tan stranger on the 1st
tee and he says he's "about a 22," take his word for it.

Take yourself very, very seriously. It's crucial that the world
remembers you after you're gone.

When the cameras are on you, pray louder than everybody else. God
keeps track of this stuff.

If your team wins the big game, celebrate by picking up a Mini
Cooper and throwing it through the window of a Denny's.

If your team loses the big game, console yourself by picking up a
Mini Cooper and throwing it through the window of a Denny's.

And, most important, before making a decision, ask yourself these
four words: "What would Rodman do?"

Remember, graduates, the future is in your hands.

Try to palm it off on somebody else.

COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER

Care deeply about your kids' sports. Remember, your kids are your
second chance in life. Don't let them blow it for you.

If you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to
reilly@siletters.com.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)