Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant took some serious heat in 2013 when he agreed to a contract extension worth $48.5 million over two years, with many believing such a deal severely overpaid Bryant.
But Kobe has another take on the contract, as he told Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated that he (along with LeBron James) are underpaid.
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
There’s no denying that LeBron is underpaid, the fault of a system that has a cap on what players can earn in contracts. Bryant says James should make $75 million annually and there’s a case to be made that LeBron is actually worth more, considering he alone makes a team a title contender and boosts ticket sales, merchandise, media attention and the economy of the city he plays in.
Kobe is probably properly paid at this point, considering he’s 36 and his days of being a top player are likely over. But Bryant’s main point here seems to be that elite players are underpaid and that’s absolutely true.
In Major League Baseball, a player of James or Kevin Durant’s caliber would probably see a contract close to around $300 million, which Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, did. The max for James this offseason was $88 million over four years with the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s a problem and one that will hopefully be addressed soon.
LeBron averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists last season. Bryant appeared in just six games before suffering a knee injury that ended his season.