Kobe Bryant thinks he and LeBron James are underpaid
AUG 24, 2014 8:16a ET
Kobe Bryant believes that elite NBA players, including him, are underpaid.
The Los Angeles Lakers star told Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard -- who wrote the most recent cover story on Bryant -- that he doesn't think that the league's maximum contracts are fair or that players should be pressured to take pay cuts to create more cap room for their team.
As ProBasketballTalk's Kurt Helin pointed out, Bryant is technically right, but it's a battle he can't win. Players like Bryant bring in millions of extra dollars for a team through attracting ticket sales and sponsors. But athletes are ridiculously overpaid compared to the general population.
Bryant's logic that players shouldn't feel pressure to take pay cuts is also flawed. He made $30 million from the bench last season while his team finished second-to-last in the Western Conference. With the two-year, $48.5 million contract extension he signed in November, the Lakers were unable to lure any big free agents this offseason.
So while it might not be "fair" that, for example, San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan took a pay cut before the 2012-13 season, he certainly got a lot more out of it.
KB believes players like him & LeBron are underpaid (put LBJ free market at ~ $75 mil). Believes important to set an example in contracts...— Chris Ballard (@SI_ChrisBallard) August 22, 2014
But, "that being said, I took a pay cut. I’m very very lucky to be w/ LA. They could have lowballed me, but that’s not what they stand for."— Chris Ballard (@SI_ChrisBallard) August 22, 2014
KB:"As athletes, you get the pressure of playing for the love of the game.Of course we do.But do owners buy teams for the love of the game?"— Chris Ballard (@SI_ChrisBallard) August 22, 2014
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