One of the things that I can point to myself and be fairly happy with is that I do not begrudge anyone their success. I’m happy whenever someone is able to squeeze every last penny out of whomever their employer is, whether they are a professional athlete, or they work in a more every day type of job. I believe that hard work and perseverance deserves to be rewarded, and the way our society chooses to do this, generally speaking, is by paying someone more money. I think it’s important to lay down that foundation before I move on. I don’t think that there should be a rule in place that prevents someone from earning the amount of money that an employer is willing to pay them. In that respect, Lebron James and I are on the same footing. It is only in that one place that may hold true, however.
After I read this article, I sent an email to my friend Mike, and asked him what he thought of James’ claim that he couldn’t be fairly compensated in the NBA. His response actually mirrored a lot of what James said. In part, he said
I’d actually be on his side if he’d stayed in Cleveland, because I truly believe he’s the most underpaid person in sports. If you look at it from a purely logical view (taking out the idea that every single professional athlete is technically overpaid for the contributions they actually make), because of the NBA salary cap, Lebron makes about ¼ what he should. He guarantees 50-60 wins a year just by being on the team, sells more merchandise than anyone, and makes your team the story every damn day. If basketball were capitalism, he’d make $60 mil a year.
Reading Mike’s words, I could get behind that line of thinking. James may well be worth much more than his contract pays him to whatever franchise he plays for. However, that does not clear up the part where James says that “he’s been willing to sacrifice” when he signs a contract.
He didn’t sign with Miami for ‘less’ money because he was a good guy. He signed with Miami because his boys were there, and that was the most fun location for them all to get there. He signed with Miami because he was sick and tired of trying to drag an undertalented Cleveland team to a championship. He signed with Miami because it was the easy road to a title, but mostly, he signed with Miami because he’s a gigantic ***** (use your imagination.)
So when I read James being quoted as saying
“I have not had a full max deal yet in my career — that’s a story untold,” James said. “I don’t get (the credit) for it. That doesn’t matter to me; playing the game is what matters to me. Financially, I’ll sacrifice for the team. It shows for some of the top guys, it isn’t all about money. That’s the genuine side of this, it’s about winning. I understand that.”
it’s just another little reminder of how little personal responsibility professional athletes are willing to take, and how they are big, giant babies who simply want everyone to like them. I can’t speak for the city of Cleveland, whose heart James ripped out when he went South, but I know as an outside fan, I could never forgive him of that transgression, nor could I root for him to win in any way, shape or form. It’s not about the money, it’s simply about the attitude he gives off. If he had taken the league minimum to play in Miami, perhaps he could make his case a little more easily that it was all about the team, but he didn’t. While he may be outside of the top-10 salaries in the NBA (by his own choosing), he still will earn roughly $17.5 million for his on-court performances. A lot of people would like to sacrifice on that kind of cash, I’m quite certain.
Lebron made his decision. He went to a team where he didn’t have to be the leader, didn’t have to be The Guy on an every night basis. He went where the sun generally shines every day, and he could hang out with his friends while playing a game he allegedly loves. For that type of lifestyle, a little ‘sacrifice’ seems well worth the effort.
Should Lebron just shut his pie-hole, or do you like what he has to say?
Let me know: