Thursday, May 11, 2017

Are Basketball Players Overpaid compared to other American Sports?

Michael Baum

Are Basketball Players Overpaid Compared to Other American Sports?

$31,000,000.00. That’s how much Cavaliers Forward LeBron James is making during this season after resigning with the team this offseason. He is officially the highest paid player in the NBA this season. In the NBA, there is 29 players exceeding the $20,000,000.00 mark this season in salary alone. This is not including endorsements, commercials, marketing sales like jerseys, shoes, etc. That is how much they are getting paid to play 82 games of basketball and a smaller amount of games if you make it to the playoffs. The average NBA salary is in the $6,000,000.00 mark. This means that if every player played 82 games this season, the average amount of money made by all the players per game is roughly $75,000.00. Now, of course there is taxes and all other sorts of things that bring those numbers down, but it is still an incredible amount of money. Are NBA players overpaid compared to other major American Sports Leagues?

The average salary in the NBA is roughly 6 million dollars per season, which was stated earlier. This is almost 2 million dollars per year higher than the second highest paying sports occupation. MLB players make on average around 4.4 million dollars per year, each penny being guaranteed to each player. Dodgers “Ace” Clayton Kershaw is making about 32 million dollars this season, each penny heading his way. MLB contracts are all guaranteed, which means that you get all the money that you sign for. This is followed by the NHL, which averages 2.9 million dollar salary for its players, Anze Kopitar making 14 million as the league’s highest paid player. The NFL averages around 2.3 million dollars per season, with QB Drew Brees leading the league in salary. Lastly, the average salary for MLS players is a lot smaller of a number, being about 310 thousand dollars per season. Also, besides golfers and tennis players, NBA players lead professional sports organizations with money made off of endorsements. NBA Superstar James Harden is endorsed by: Beats By Dre, BODYARMOR, New Era, BBVA, Foot Locker as well as Adidas. His estimated yearly endorsement earning is at around 17 million dollars.  Compared to other sports, 17 million dollars is more than most NFL and MLB players make total per season. Only about 45 MLB players make that much money per season, and they are the second highest paid sport.

With that being said, NBA players are obviously making more money than other sports professions, but the question is: are the NBA players worth that much extra money? The NBA is a very popular United States sport, but it can be argued that sports like the NFL or the MLB are more popular and more influential in our country’s economics. People tend to make a choice of which sport they would rather watch, and lots choose the NFL because it is a contact-sport, meaning that players make more physical contact with each other, which is exciting and entertaining to lots of people. The opportunity cost of choosing the NBA over the NFL is that the NBA is a lot less of a contact sport with more restrictions of physical contact.
Overall, sports organizations overpay their players no matter what sport you are talking about, but is basketball at the worst of the overpaid? Do they make way too much compared to the other popular sports that millions adore and follow? These sports do have an incredible impact on our country’s economy, but are the players that are playing in the sports getting paid way more than they should be, especially professional basketball players?

Works Cited

"2016-17 NBA Player Contracts." N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.

Badenhausen, Kurt. "Average Player Salaries In Major American Sports Leagues." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 26 Jan. 2017. Web. 05 May 2017.

"Top 100 Highest-Paid Athlete Endorsers of 2016." Opendorse. N.p., 07 July 2016. Web. 05 May 2017.


  1. I don't think there is an amount too much for these players to make, as long as the NBA is still making a profit. The reason these NBA players make so much compared to other sports is because they bring in a high per player revenue amount, and they have a good collective bargaining agreement. The NFL players don't make as much money 1) because there's 53+ guys on a roster compared to the 15 of the NBA and 2) NFL owners are greedy and treat the players like assets not people and don't care about their well being or health, just their profit margins. Yes, NBA players make an absurd amount of money, but it's better that money goes to the guys putting their bodies on the line every night than to billionaire owners watching the games from a cabana in Fiji.

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  2. Taking into mind that the mass majority of the population in the united states relies on their television, more specifically their sports channels, it results in a lot of revenue coming in for that sport. Many people will argue that NFL or MLB is a bigger and more popular sport but that is a matter of opinion. When you look at the numbers there is a lot of money going to basketball games. And I believe that looking into a economic stand point the entrepreneurs of basketball and the team owners are running the game of economics just perfectly that they are able to maximize their income.

  3. It's interesting to see how much more NBA players make compared to other professional sports teams. Especially considering the popularity of the NFL, my first guess would have been that they earned the most money. Regardless, I think that across the board the majority of professional sport athletes are paid generously. Furthermore, the gap in pay between the NBA and other professional sports is much greater than expected and why the NBA pays the most money is confusing.

  4. I don't think NBA players are overpaid at all, they worked hard for their success in the NBA. You have to be an all star player in order to get paid a good amount of money you can't be coming off the bench making more than 20 million a year. You have to think about how much revenue each all star player brings in for their city, people pay large amounts of money to see LeBron James, James Harden etc. You can't be in the NBA your whole life the players need to invest in their money for the future so they don't go broke once they retire, it might sound like a lot of money but it's really easy to spend money now a days. All that money could go away in a blink of an eye.

  5. I think that you have some really good points, but I also think that there's a reason they're being paid that much. The NFL might seem like the real American sport and have a lot of more important big events, but the regular season in the NFL is only 16 games compared to the NBA's 82. This means that on average, an NBA player is making significantly less per game than the average NFL player. Also with there being such a high amount of NBA games, they are highly benefiting the economy for more than half of the year. For the amount of work that the NBA players are putting in and how they benefit the economy, they are appropriately compensated.

  6. I think that the NBA isn't paying their players too much. Looking at other sports like football or MLS who have a significant less amount of games than the NBA. There might be certain people getting overpaid but you also have to think of how important that player is to the team and to the league in general. Teams are obviously going to pay their best players the most money because they want them to stay on the team and produce numbers that will bring fans in to increase the revenue of the franchise. Overall, I don't think NBA players are getting paid too much because of the amount of games that are being played. Sports like football give their players a lot more money per game than the NBA does.

  7. It was interesting to read how much NBA players are paid. I always thought baseball had the most players that have the highest paid athletes. I don't think that the NBA is overpaying because the playoffs for the NBA is watched by many people in the nation. Also, basketball players like Lebron James and James Harden bring in so much revenue for NBA so they should be paid more to keep them and bring in more consumers.

  8. I don;t think that the NBA players are over paid because they bring in revenue and also it depends on how much an NBA team has to pay their players. NBA players like Lebron James get paid a lot more by his endorsements like Nike than what he gets from the NBA So I think that basketball players are not over paid.

  9. I think that NBA is the highest paid sport per capita because of the roster size. If you compare the roster sizes of each sport, the NBA would probably be the lowest, which allows the athletes to get paid a lot more and the NBA still brings in enough profit to pay those players and then some.

  10. As a soccer fan it is quite worrying that the salaries are so much lower than any other sports but understandable. The sport in the US is overshadowed by basketball, baseball, and football as those sports have been a trademark of American culture for decades. Soccer is now only starting to grow on people in the US, a very late development athletically, but it is also causing positive impacts for almost all parties. The increased attention to soccer will provide yet another source of income for cities, players, and workers. Not only will incomes increase but opportunities for young soccer players with dreams of playing pro will increase along with the MLS expansion. Continuing this growth will only allow for more job opportunities, more income, and more entertainment to sports fans in America. All of those are positives and it would be exciting to have soccer become as big as a sport as American trademark sports like baseball, basketball, and football.


  11. To be honest, I am quite surprised by this. I would assume that players in the NFL would be paid the most for two reasons. Number one, football is one of the most watched sports in America every Sunday. Also, the players themselves have a very high opportunity cost regarding injuries such as concussions.

  12. I am very shocked to see that NHL players are the second highest paid sport occupation. It seems they aren't the most popular sport in America and it seems odd to me how they can generate so much revenue to pay their players. I do agree with Josh though that NFL should be paid more with their higher opportunity cost.

  13. I don't think NBA players are overpaid. One reason why I don't think they are overpaid is because they have to play 82 games in one year. Also, players like LeBron James are some of the best in the world, and if you are the best in the world at something I feel like they should be paid that much. Lastly, the entertainment they provide and excitement they give to viewers and sports lovers out weighs is worth it.

  14. I never knew that soccer players on average don't get paid as much. Considering the sport of soccer is the largest sport in the world. A long with that I never knew how much players were being over paid which makes me wonder how much money does the whole league makes in general. It's interesting to look at the statistics of each sport and players of how much their being paid when they really should be paid the realistic amount.

  15. This surprised me a lot because I thought NFL players got payed more.I really don't think NBA players get paid to much.However the nfl need to par their players more.

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