Anthony Davis is the next player in line for a big pay day
I was listening to TSN 690 a few weeks ago on the drive to school, only half paying attention to stats and opinions about sports I don’t always understand. Then, I hear “US$240 million” and “five years” in the same sentence.
Anthony Davis, who’s played basketball with the New Orleans Pelicans since 2012, was offered a supermax deal worth US$240 million over five years and could be a free agent next summer. According to ESPN, he turned it down because he wants to be traded.
Now, I don’t really care about basketball. But what I do care about is how much money athletes are paid. If you think Davis’s contract sounds ludacris, it’s not even that extreme. He’s only the 24th best-paid NBA player and the 34th highest-paid athlete in 2018, according to Forbes. And for what? To run a court and shoot a ball in a basket?
But it isn’t just Davis or the NBA. The whole sports world makes no sense. An NBA player’s average annual salary is US$7.77 million; a MLB player’s is US$4.51 million; an NHL player can see US$2.78 million. But for what? To shoot, hit, kick, or throw a ball?
Why do these people need to be paid so much? Sure, they’ve probably spent every day since they were six practising and playing, working hard to get better, all with the dream of going pro. Then one day they achieve their dream, and are now making millions a year.
Professional athletes aren’t the only ones working hard to earn a living and make the best of their lives. It’s not like they’re saving lives or necessarily helping people, which would warrant, at least in my eyes, a much bigger paycheck than someone playing a sport.
It’s the entertainment aspect of the sports industry that’s the problem. The contracts to televise these events are so extravagant and unnecessary. Fans keep watching, which contributes to the problem. The more people watch, the higher the prices for tickets or merchandise is, and the cycle of too much money being invested into a sport is continued.
Just an example: Floyd Mayweather was the world’s highest paid athlete in 2018, according to Forbes, with US$285 million. Most of this was for his one fight against Conor McGregor; the match generated 4.3 million pay-per-view buys. For what? To avoid getting beaten by a UFC fighter with an attitude?
All of this to say that, while professional athletes do put all their blood, sweat and tears into their sport, and while they have made and continue to make sacrifices, at the end of the day, no one is worth that much money.