NBPA President on Why Players Can Never Be Overpaid – BlackSportsOnline
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NBPA President on Why Players Can Never Be Overpaid

NBA MoneyI know what you’re thinking, we have all thought about it at one point. These athletes don’t realize how good, they have it. I wish I could play in the NBA, I would do it for less and be so thankful. Well, that may or may not be true. And, I’m not here to commend or judge your decision. I am here however to say, NBA athletes don’t get paid enough! Oh man, I can hear the reactions now…

Listen, the truth is, none of us can play in the NBA. Because, if we could, then, wait for it…we would be playing in the NBA. Securing a job as a player in the NBA is extremely difficult. For starters, there are only 450 total player jobs available. If you take into account guaranteed contracts and the salary cap, most teams can add 1 or 2 maximum players per year from the new crop of candidates. And there are only 30 teams. That is an extremely selective process. Oh and lets not forget that you either need to be a world-class athlete or possess an elite level basketball skill. The number of people that fit this criteria are slim….

In today’s Vertical Podcast with Woj, Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski interviewed Michelle Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. She had some interesting thoughts on athletes and their pay:

I’m not prepared to concede the narrative to those who think players make too much,” said Roberts. “Part of what I think is not being talked about sufficiently is players are making money, owners are making money.

That’s the one factor that always gets lost in this conversation. People complain about the athlete signing for ten, fifteen or twenty million but nobody seems too concerned that if a team can pay athletes that much money. How much money is the team making? And, don’t give me the, these are businessmen that worked hard to acquire their wealth argument. You think it’s easy to make it to the league as a player? I referenced the difficulty getting in. Do you know how much harder it is to make it?

In her conversation with Woj Roberts goes on to say:

Part of what I’ve observed in my review of the history of these negotiations is that there’s been so much focus on what people perceive to be the player’s compensation and virtually no focus on what the owners are able to enjoy. Which is not to say they shouldn’t enjoy, but talk about making money, talk about the owners. Talk about the value of these teams: recall the players do not share in the value of those teams even though they absolutely do contribute to creating the value.

I don’t want to come across as unsympathetic to the plight of everyday people. Because if you are struggling to maintain day to day you don’t care that an athlete is being short changed by millions. You are worried about keeping your lights on, and I don’t blame you. But that is a different argument, we’re not comparing apples to apples. At the end of the day, athletes are part of an economic system that capitalizes on their labor to increase the value of corporations, in many cases into the multi billion dollar level, and unfortunately for most people that is not the case. To receive only a fraction of the profit, while literally putting their bodies at risk, for our entertainment says a lot about us and them.