Lebron James, arguably the best player in the NBA makes $498,512 per game. That is $498,512 for playing 48 minutes of playing the game of basketball, that he loves. There are more players like him like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and many more who make just as much money or even more. Things like this make people wonder if athletes might be overpaid. Should players really be paid millions of dollars a year when people who are teachers, firefighters can barely make ends meet with their salary? This argument clearly does not favor athletes when looking at just their paychecks. However, it makes a lot more sense if one tries to research this topic a bit further. Athletes are not overpaid because of the fact that they are the ones generating tons of money for their sport, their career barely lasts over 10 years and the dedication that they have put in to the game since an early age. Are athletes overpaid?
Athlete deserves every single penny of their salary because they are putting out a product that everyone loves and people are willing to spend their money on that product. According to Reiff, ”The 30 teams making up the NBA have an average valuation of $1.9 billion each”(Reiff, 2019). Sports is a huge business and there is a lot of money to be made in this field. A big reason for teams making this huge amount of money are the players. Players are the ones who put everything they have on the court. They play to entertain by risking injuries every single game. So, its fine for the players to get paid a large amount because their team is just making more and they rightfully deserve their share. It’s not the athlete’s fault if their team is making over a billion dollars. As long as it does not financially cripple the league, it is fine for the athletes to get paid a lot.
Some athletes do make a ton of money however not every athlete falls under that category. When talking about this topic people only tend to look at the best players in the world and completely ignore the average players. According to Forbes, “ The lowest-paid N.F.L., M.L.B., and N.B.A. players make about $500,000.” Considering the fact that the career of an average player lasts only about 5 to 10 years and the fact that they might get injured anytime or the wear and tear on their body has experienced $500,000 a year seems pretty reasonable. And it is also fine with a few some of the best athletes making millions of dollars because the same thing happens in other professions. Some of the best doctors, lawyers get paid a huge amount of money compared to the average ones. The salary that the athletes are getting is fair considering that they have a very short time to make that money.
Athletes also deserve what they make because they have dedicated their whole lives to the sport that they love. There are only 500 players in the NBA. It is not easy to be a pro athlete. Most of the athletes who play in the league started playing the game when before they were even 10 years old. Sports take a lot of time and athletes have to learn to balance that with school, relationships, work, etc. They have to work a lot harder than their classmates if they dream of playing pro because the chances of making it are so low that you always have to have a second option. That second option is only available if you do well in school. So, on top of making sure that they were always improving, athletes also had to make sure that their grades were good.
At the end of the day, we live in a capitalist society. Athletes make more money because their field just has more money. It is not that they are being overpaid, it is just that the teachers, firefighters, and many others are not being paid much. And, it is not the athlete’s fault. Athletes tend to be done in 5 to 10 years and after that, they have to go back to living a normal life. So, they need all the money they can earn so that they can support themselves after they are done with the game.