Blog Entry

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Posted on: September 30, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 11:43 am
Posted by Ben Golliverdwyane-wade

Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade is set to bring in a salary of $15.7 million in the 2011-2012 season. According to Wade, the value of an NBA superstar is such that he might make more than three times that salary if the league didn't have a salary cap in place.

Yahoo Sports asked him what the going rate for a franchise star would be. Here was the response.
“I’m sure it would get to $50 million,” Wade told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday afternoon.

“In terms of driving revenue, if the NBA had no cap, the compensation would be totally different,” Wade said. “Like baseball, where they have no cap, you see the players that they feel fill arenas, that people come out to see, A-Rod, those kind of guys, look at how much money they make on their deals.

“You’ve got guys – starting with Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe and LeBron – all players that individually people wanted to come to see. And wanted to just have a glimpse, just one glimpse, to be able to say that I’ve seen that person play. For what they’ve done for the game, what they’ve done for organizations, I don’t think you can really put a dollar amount on it.”

The only real flaw in what Wade said is that perhaps he lowballed the number. If the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls, or billionaires like Mark Cuban and Paul Allen, were able to get into a bidding war for the services of Wade or LeBron James unemcumbered by a salary cap, are we sure that $50 million per year would be the highest bid? Given how one star player can change an entire team's trajectory and global profile, it seems reasonable to guess that the number could go higher, perhaps much higher.  

Unfortunately for Wade, his comments, which are economically accurate, couldn't come at a worse time. The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are set to meet Friday to continue a crucial stretch of talks that will determine whether the 2011-2012 season starts on time. For many, Wade's comments, because he is a star himself, will read as whiny complaining: "I'm underpaid." 

That message, even if that's not actually what he said or meant, hurts the image of all NBA players and the union's leadership, which is tasked with holding all the disparate interests of the players together. It's also the last thing anyone wants to hear when they must face the fact that their favorite team might not take the court like normal come November. All of a sudden, the guy who sells out the entire arena thanks to his fame starts to look an awful lot like a scapegoat.

Crying poor is never a winning plan for a millionaire. Not in this economy and not with the amount of money NBA players are taking home. But Wade didn't do that here. All he said was that superstars would make significantly more money if there was no salary cap. Whether the average person or casual fan reads closely enough to realize that, though, remains to be seen.

Since: Dec 7, 2010
Posted on: October 3, 2011 4:30 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Wade is correct, but what he needs to realize that if a super star got $50 mil,  others on the team would get much less than they are currently.  Teams still have a budget, and they budget salaries.. So say the heat have a budget of 100 mil and Wade gets 50,  that wouldnt leave much for the other guys......

Since: Mar 4, 2009
Posted on: October 3, 2011 3:06 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

All Professional Sports athletes make to much money!!!!!

The only professional sport where people have to still have regular day jobs is LACROSSE!   Those guys play for PASSION and LOVE and not the money!

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: October 3, 2011 2:56 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Good post Redsfan, I couldn't agree more.  Wade is clueless and only looks at it from his own perspective.  More than half of the NBA organizations didn't even turn a profit and the players want to get rid of the salary cap?  Wade wants the NBA to be like the MLB where there is no salary cap and contracts are guaranteed....hopefully that's not the realistic consensus of the rest of the players because that will never happen and we won't see NBA games for a couple years.  How about no salary cap but make all contracts non-guaranteed like the NFL?  So many NBA players making big contracts then don't live up to them.  Plenty of examples.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 3, 2011 2:40 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Dwyane Wade would be working at Foot Locker for minimum wage if it weren't for the NBA.

He's right about one thing: "The alternative to the exploitation of labor, is unemployement". Meaning, if your employer ISN'T making money on their employees labor, the employee isn't going to work long, or the business is going to fold.

That's the problem right now...the players think they deserve to make all the money...without any financial risk or investment. They forget they are paid employees, not owners...they are the tail, trying to wag the dog.

Owners have made mistakes overpaying and overlooking the indescretions of these slumdog millionaires for far too long already. The NBA owners should pay players a flat fee of $5mil/yr plus whatever endorsements they can get on their own, and tell them to go to Europe if they can do better. The players union isn't protecting the vast majority of the players, they are protecting a few elite players and their agents ability to continue to increase their own earning power, without responsibility to the league, or the other players. 

The NBA would be better off without Wade, Kobe, LeBron, a year.      

Since: Oct 8, 2007
Posted on: October 3, 2011 2:19 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Do you ever wonder what these guys would make if the NBA were just a pro ball association and didn't have a fanbase? For the answer, see WNBA salaries: Maximum base salary for 2011 is $103,500.  

Lazar Hayward makes over 10x that.  Who is he? The most obscure player on the most futile team in the NBA. 

Since: Jul 30, 2007
Posted on: October 3, 2011 2:08 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

I don't watch the games on TV or go to them. I do not support the sport. They all make way to much money and then bitch for more. You make $10 million and want $20 million and hold out until you do. This is why ther common man can not afford to go to any sporting event anymore!

Since: Oct 6, 2009
Posted on: October 3, 2011 2:03 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

We say players are greedy because they make alot of money already, but its not like that they put there bodys on the line to entertain us like gladiators back in the old days they even die in the long run much to early...i agree they should be payed a equal share and its a buisness so salaries and money are going to be compare to other players playing other sports just to see what amount of money is fare

Since: May 31, 2009
Posted on: October 3, 2011 1:01 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Also, people need to stop taking such a holier than thou stance on these types of matters. If your boss came up to you and said they want to pay you $10 million/year for whatever you do, what are the odds that you'd turn it down?

Since: May 31, 2009
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:53 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Instead of bitching about how much money athletes make, maybe you should stop reading articles, watching games on tv, visiting websites, and attending games? Stop supporting the sport if all you're going to do is bitch and moan about their salaries. This is the system they work under, and the million they make is what they're worth based on the market. Deal with it.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:01 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

D-Wade has a a degree.  Looking at the big picture the megastars are worth more than they make.  I'm a Laker fan who lives in Northern California and I enjoy going to Sac and Oakland to catch LA when they come to town.  The arenas are normally sold out when LA comes to town, not just because of the mass of LA Laker fans but because of the draw and star power of Kobe.  The same thing happens when the Heat and Celtics come to Northern California.  People want to see the stars.  I agree with that.  But, D-Wade's comparison to MLB is completely unmerited because you DON'T want the NBA to follow the same template of no salary cap like they do.  This No Cap in MLB is why teams like the Yankess, Red Sox (not this year thou), and the other teams with the astronomical payroll are the front runners to win the World Series each year.  The NBA is already starting to get that way as it is.  The smaller markets have small market owners with small market revenue.  For example, the T-Wolves and Sac Kings have NO-CHANCE of winning a title next year.  They just don't have the talent.  They don't have the talent because they don't have the money to get the talent. 

To an extent, I'm with the owners on this.  These guys are getting a pretty good salary to play a game.  With the past CBA even a 10 year journeyman who sits on the bench can make $5 million with the mid-level exception.  I say put a hard cap on these teams where they can't afford to keep these BIG 3s any longer.  That way if the Heat (for example) want to give Wade $15 million a year and Lebron $14 a year then that only leaves about $20 million to split up between 10 other players.  The players will not like that, but it will certainly keep ticket prices down, get some parity in the league, and give the smaller markets a fighting chance to compete.

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