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?
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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.