Is Lebron James Overpaid?

I was in the Stanford Basketball office last week and Brian Eskildsen, (our director of scouting and head video coordinator) was talking about a recent quote about LeBron James and his market value as a professional athlete. I looked up the ESPN article and here is an excerpt.

“What I do on the floor shows my value. At the end of the day, I don’t think my value on the floor can really be compensated for, anyways, because of the (collective bargaining agreement),….If you want the truth. If this was baseball, it’d be up, I mean way up there.”

The article went on to discuss that LeBron James has never had a “max contract”  in his entire professional basketball playing career.

I am absolutely astounded that LeBron James has never had a max deal.  It shows an incredible amount of unselfishness and commitment to the team.  Can you imagine the Miami Heat without Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, and so many other great players on the team?  This is all made possible by the fact that LeBron James was willing to accept less money in order for the team to be able to bring in excellent role players.

What’s even more interesting is the current collective bargaining agreement.  First of all, let’s be honest, fans go to NBA games to see the superstars.  People who are excited about basketball go to games to see LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and people like Shaq, Barley, etc.  But the current collective bargaining agreement lowered relative salary on the superstars while raising or keeping the salaries on the role players roughly the same.  The NBA is a great league and it was a dream come true to play in the NBA.  But I do agree with LeBron in the sense that if the collective bargaining agreement mirrored the baseball model, his salary would be at least double his current level.  Just some food for thought as I warm my computer back up and try to become a more regular blogger in the future!

Mark Madsen
Mark Madsen is the head basketball coach at Utah Valley University. He played nine years in the NBA (2000-2009) as a member of both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. He began coaching in 2009 for the NBA G-League and eventually returned to the LA Lakers where he spent six seasons as an assistant. He married the former Hannah Harkness and the couple has two young children.

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