The dumbest gym owner in the world

Everyone who follows the NBA knows that Ray Allen is a standup guy. He is consistently lauded for his work in the community and has acted as a diplomat for the league. David Stern often speaks fondly of his work. So when a story breaks about a suburban-Hartford fitness club owner confronting Allen after a workout, it raises a few eyebrows.

Allen was given a guest pass to work out at WOW Fitness in Cromwell a few weeks ago and said he was given the OK to continue working out for free. Allen said he offered to pay for a membership several times but was told it wasn’t necessary. He had been there about eight times and one employee approached him about possibly linking up with the owner for a business deal that could bring more members to the club.

Good move. It was something Ray said he didn’t commit to, but was open to, because as a longtime community-oriented guy he envisioned new Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett and Glen “Big Baby” Davis along with Paul Pierce working out with him at times in the state.

Allen had ended his workout and was sitting down having his customary protein shake when he noticed a man he assumed was the owner – Lou Soteriou – having a back-and-forth with employees.

“I got up and walked back there and when I walked around the corner he was standing there waiting for me with this look of disgust on his face like I stole some money from him,” Allen said. “I extended my hand to him to say, `How ya doin’. I’m Ray. Nice to meet you.’ And he just had his hand on his hip. He didn’t even offer to shake my hand. `Did I do something to offend you?’ because I wasn’t trying to take any money from him. I didn’t take any money from him. So he goes on this rant about who gave you a pass to come in here. So I said, `One of your employees gave me the pass. I’m a guest.

“He said, `Why don’t you just buy a membership like everybody else? I have a business here to run. I don’t give any free handouts. I have a business to run here.’ … He was yelling at me like I was one of his kids or something, but once he said that he walked out the office, just walked away from me. I said, `I’ll never come in your gym again.’ He was like, `Don’t come back.'”

This looks like a case of the manager having more business sense than the owner. I don’t think that professional athletes should get everything for free, but in a situation like this, a business can make a lot of money by giving a guy like Ray Allen a free membership and making it known that he works out at their facility. Celtic (and UConn) fans in the area would flock to the gym just so that they could tell their buddies that they work out where Ray-Ray works out. One free membership could turn into a hundred or more paid memberships.

Soteriou certainly has a right to be upset if Allen comes in and demands a free pass, but that wasn’t the case here. Maybe Soteriou had a misunderstanding with his manager, or maybe he was just having a bad day, but the decision to kick Allen out of his gym was not a good one.

So next time one of your buddies flies off the handle without thinking, tell him he just “pulled a Soteriou.”

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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