Thursday, July 24, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
Big bucks for stars in the NBA
From a pair of peach baskets hung 10 feet high at the opposite ends of a gymnasium to a cornucopia filled with big bucks – someone who read last week’s column asked the question of just who does make the big bucks (or maybe the biggest bucks) in the NBA. The salaries of some NBA players have reached the “slam-dunk” position in the last 30 years.
The sport itself has not wavered in popularity or prosperity. The NBA is now ranked number three in the national pastime bracket behind the NFL and MLB.
Both players and owners have enjoyed fabulously beneficial relationships over the years, albeit not without some problems and growing pains. But they have collectively (?) worked through them (for the most part), and have moved forward with perspicacity.
But we are getting a little bit off track here since we started out trying to tell you who pockets most of the mean green. I can imagine that most of you could guess the number one prospector in this gold rush, even without having the exact figures. Yep, Kobe Bryant is leading the Benjamin parade with $64.5 million for 2013-14 – a salary of $30.5 million and endorsement packages worth another $34 million. Kobe is the first, and only, player to reach $30.5 for a single season since Michael Jordan commanded that payday back in ’97-’98. Because of a deal made last November, Bryant’s salary will remain the highest of all players in the coming season at $23.5.
The King is number two. James coupled a playing salary of $19.1 million with $42 million in endorsements. James made a new deal with his new (or old ) team which will pay him a new salary per playing contract of $42 million over the next two years. The King also tucked into his bib an option to renew after two years.
We are only listing the top 10 here and number three on the list is Derrick Rose of the Bulls. Although nursing injuries the last three seasons, Rose is able to stay ensconced, thanks to a $17.6 million salary (whether he plays or not), and a 13-year deal with Adidas worth $185 million. Behind Rose is Kevin Durant with a $17.8 million salary and $14 million from endorsements.
Midway the list is Dwyane Wade of the Heat with $18.7 and $12 million. Carmelo Anthony places number six with $21.4 and $9 million. NY’s Amar’e Stoudermire weighs in at number seven, earning $21.7 and $6.5. Houston’s Dwight Howard gets $20.5 and $6 million and is number eight. The only international player in the top 10 is Dirk Nowitzki at nine with $22.7 and $500,000. Rounding out the list is a young Chris Paul, who has seen his star soar this past season. He takes home $18.7 and $4 million. Paul was also elected the president of the NBA Players Association.
A couple of points can be made here. Just because a team has a high salaried star does not always equate to a championship. Another is as the list ascends the endorsement payouts descend.
Still, when Dr. James Naismith attached those baskets on the wall, answering a challenge to come up with a sport which could fill the void between the football and baseball seasons, do you suppose he dreamed it would come to all of this?
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