Executive pay is always a touchy subject, so when reports surfaced that NBA commissioner David Stern was hauling in upwards of $20 million per year in salary, there was plenty of outrage among fans and current players alike.
Indeed, a salary in that ballpark would have given him a bigger deal than every NBA player except for one: Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, who is set to make more than $25 million next season.
But since the $23 million figure was reported by Yahoo! Sports earlier this week, multiple reports have pushed back.
One ESPN.com report placed Stern's salary at $15-16 million; another said Stern is paid about $9 million.
On Thursday night, the Associated Press weighed in, citing anonymous league officials who claim Stern makes less than $10 million a year.
Two league officials say NBA Commissioner David Stern makes less than baseball's Bud Selig or the NFL's Roger Goodell, leaving his salary far below the more than $20 million that's been reported.It really doesn't make much sense for Stern to be making significantly less than Selig and less than Goodell. He's been on the job for longer than either of his counterparts, having assumed the commissioner's role in 1984. Selig became MLB commissioner officially in 1998; Goodell took the NFL's top spot in 2006. And SBNation.com recently unearthed a report noting that Stern was the highest-paid commissioner in professional sports in 1990, making more than all of his counterparts put together.
One of the officials told The Associated Press on Thursday that Stern's salary is set by the advisory/finance committee, which consists of 11 owners. The people were granted anonymity because the NBA does not release individual salaries.Selig makes more than $18 million annually. Goodell receives about $10 million in salary, bonus and incentives.
Stern's salary is said to be a closely guarded secret, a figure not known to league officials or many ownership sources. The back-and-forth regarding how much he makes is likely to continue to be a speculative matter unless he were to take the unusual step of publicly disclosing it, which seems unlikely.
Regardless of what he makes, Stern has pledged not to accept any pay during the ongoing lockout, although there's always the possiblity those lost wages are re-paid to him once an agreement is reached.