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: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:27 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

While the comment makes some economic sense, it does not take into account that unlike most industries, the number of competitors is fixed.

If some companies in the widget industry wanted to pay their executives 50 million dollars while some others could not afford it, maybe the higher-paid executives make thier companies better, and theose without the resources might fail and go out of business.  Such is the nature of capitalism--compete or fold.

However, in the NBA, there are 30 companies.  It would be a detriment to the leage as a whole if companies (teams) could not compete and started folding.  In the long run, it does not make ecomic sense to have those who can't or want to spend to fold.

Also, all the extra millions that would go to the "superstars" are millions that would have to be taken away from the other players.  Do you think the rank-and-file NBA players want to take a pay cut?  What happens when Lebron comes to a team and makes $50 million and everyone else on the team will have to take a pay cut?  Any union worth it's salt wouldn't allow that.

It makes sense to reward the economic engines of your company (team), but not to the point where it becomes counter-productive over the long run.

Since: Sep 23, 2009
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:17 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Solid--- you should have read the last paragraph of the piece where it discusses whether fans will see Wade's comments for what they are or read into it that its another NBA millionaire crying. You misses the boat. I don't watch the NBA, I don't like the NBA. Largely because of the prima donnas and lack of defense. However, not being someone with any skin the game (NBA vs. players) and Wade being someone that does, I respect his candidness, honesty, and well thought out comments. Its rare that a player making news isn't about a scandal, complaining/whining/crying about bad officiating or how the league is out to get them, etc. As far as his comments go, I think what he makes in a year to play a kids game is atrocious. That being said, just like any other union, he should be able to work towards the best deal he can regardless of how outlandish it might be. That part of what unions do.

Since: Aug 5, 2008
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:13 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

This is just another example of an over-paid, spoiled athlete having no clue about what the real world is all about.  Despite the fact that Golliver tries to defend Wade, it is obvious that Wade is saying that he is worth more than he is being paid.  These high paid athletes with their big mouths should use some of the money they are making to hire an assistant to filter what they say in public and to reporters.  This post should not be seen as being supportive of the rich owners.  After-all, what is a salary cap?  It is a way for the owners to protect themselves from getting into crazy bidding wars and over-paying the players.  That is what bidding wars do; they result in players being over-paid.  Now, many people will say, that is just a player getting what they are worth in a capitalist society.  In the real world, that might be correct, but in the fantasy world of professional athletics it is just spoiled rich owners doing whatever they can to get a particular spoiled, rich athlete.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:13 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

excuse the spelling typos, typing too fast today!

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:12 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Pity the poor little NBA rich kids. They all need millions more that they can waiste on their posse no brians. Go away and never come back please!

Since: Jul 8, 2010
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:11 pm

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

School teachers are worth far more than they earn, NBA players contribute shit to society and play a game for a living for millions and millions of dollars a year. Why am I not surprised this is coming from one of the pampered Miami threesome?

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2011 11:58 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Another over paid clueless NBA player. Cancel the season and nobody would care. Do it, cancel the season and do us all a favor. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or