They Said What? Volume Seven: Kobe Bryant

kobeThere’s a reason why fringe the sports fan resents professional sports and the athletes that play them.  Kobe Bryant is a stark reminder of that.

In a recent interview, Kobe Bryant said he believes athletes like he and LeBron James are underpaid.

To be clear, the Los Angeles Lakers will pay a salary of over $30 million in 2014.  The similarly financially underappreciated LeBron James, which he referred to in the same interview, just signed a two-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for $42.2 million.  It must suck to be so broke.

Ironically, Kobe Bryant may have a point.  His and LeBron’s images alone bring that much and more to their respective franchises.  That doesn’t mean the average fan making $30,000 a year working sixty hours a week wants to hear that shit.

Years ago, Patrick Ewing told a reporter that he could barely afford to feed his family on what the New York Knicks were paying him.  In his final four years in Madison Square Garden, Ewing made over $70 million.  Looking at Patrick these days, you can tell he hasn’t missed too many meals.

As sports fans, we tolerate the multi-million dollar salaries.  We even talk with our buddies about the contract a particular athlete just signed.  “Can you believe athlete X just signed for Y million?” as if it’s any sort of figure we could ever comprehend, never mind deposit into our bank account.  We willfully spend our money on jerseys and game tickets and television packages, budgeting ourselves just such an allowance.  We understand the athletes and owners are making theirs and we’re okay with it.

Kobe GQ coverWe just don’t need their paychecks rubbed in our faces.  That’s exactly what it sounds like when Kobe says he’s underpaid.  We don’t need to hear athletes complain about not getting their just due when their career consists of photo shoots, late night clubbing and playing a game that many of us would give our right arm to play.

Kobe’s comments, while perhaps financially sound, make him sound pompous and ungrateful.

While counting his millions, perhaps Mr. Bryant should consider the high-profile college athlete.  Take, for example, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston who made unimaginable profits for their respective universities while never receiving a dime, at least not legally.

When we discuss whether college athletes should be paid, we can almost feel sympathetic for their plight.  Sure, they live the Life of Riley while on campus, bedding whatever co-ed they want (except, of course, for Tebow) and sneaking under-aged into whichever bars they please (again, except for Tebow).  We can almost even justify why they shouldn’t get paid for their troubles (they are getting free room and board) while their schools are lining their pockets with the hordes of fans buying their product.  We feel considerably less sorry for megalomaniacs like Kobe Bryant whose bloated NBA salaries don’t include what they made from their numerous and far more lucrative marketing contracts.

Kobe dunksKobe Bryant currently has a net worth of $260 million.  Last time I checked my readers aren’t driving Lamborghinis or buying their wives seven carat diamond rings.  Fortunately for them, I know better than to determine their net worth by their bank accounts.

There’s a common thread among those of us who work in the real world.  We don’t discuss what we make.  That’s because it’s nobody’s business.  It’s about time professional athletes start doing the same thing.

And while franchises must report what they pay athletes and that figure may be nowhere near their actual market value, that doesn’t mean we need to hear them complain about how little they’re making.  It is far more than the rest of us bring home in a lifetime.

If Kobe doesn’t like it, I suggest he buy himself a sports franchise then barter and finagle with his athletes over their net worth.  I just hope he does it behind closed doors.

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25 Replies to “They Said What? Volume Seven: Kobe Bryant”

  1. The appreciation (and monetary compensation is how it’s measured) is never enough for those people who consider themselves entitled… This for simply having a certain physical ability. It does not take much thought to possess such physical ability. That’s my opinion…

  2. Kobe believes he’s underpaid and undervaleued as abn NBA star ? I guess amassing a $200 million fortune , being one of the twenty highest earning athletes on the planet , as well as owning a minor stake in apparel company Under Armour , makes him a frigging pauper ? Kobe Bryant has always been a douche , sleaze bag and an @ssohle . Hall of Famer Jim Brown was right in his opinion of Bryant right off the bat . Kobe Bryant cares about no one but himself and that is unlikely to change as his career in the NBA winds down .

  3. I never heard those Jim Brown comments but they’re pretty sweet, Al.

    The NBA will be just fine when Kobe retires. Of course, he probably doesn’t agree with that assessment.

  4. kobe is an idiot
    of course he’s underpaid — we’re ALL underpaid
    or at least that’s what we all believe
    the difference is most of us understand terms like “supply and demand” and “what the market will bear”
    not sure kobe (and his lower merion high school education) have ever heard either
    but — and here’s the deal — if you don’t like what someone is offering to pay you, you’re under no obligation to work for them
    so if you’re feeling underpaid kobe, try walking in some of our shoes — you know, the shoes of those who work their asses off year-round and help pay your paltry salary
    fuck you

  5. Brown stated that Bryant was simply clueless and illiterate when it came to social issues, never mind the fact he is rarely seen doing anything socially relevant in the greater Los Angeles area unless it provides him with a photo opportunity . Jim Brown was succinct and very correct in his assessment of the player.

    tophatal ..

  6. Way to go, Jim Brown. I like it.

    Hey, Kobe’s been busy. Fucking women other than his wife.

    You mean that’s not what Brown meant when he talked about giving back to his community?

  7. Kobe was seen at a Prince concert with actress Sanaa Lathan and when questioned about the relationship , he stated to the press they were merely good friends . This being the same guy who threw both Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal under the bus , the night he was arrested in Eagle , Colorado , for sexual assault . Way to go Kobe Bryant , as your credibility is about as worthy as a congressman .

    Your thoughts on the stories emanating from the campus of USC (Trojans) about claims of racism concerning head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff ? Also what happened concerning cornerback Josh Shaw , who lied about sustaining an injury rescuing his young cousin from a fire ? Shaw actually injured both ankles jumping from the second balcony of a building into a pool apparently as a dare . No wonder the program remains a damn joke , but yet there is the apparent belief AD Pat Haden has the ability to turn things around . Haden , when he came in (having succeeded Mike Garrett) , allowed then head coach Lane Kiffin to repeatedly flout NCAA rules , without ever once reprimanding the then head coach . Now he’s being asked to sit on the panel that’ll decide the playoff format for a national champion at the FBS Level in football ?

    How do you see Florida doing in their game against Idaho ?

    tophatal ………..

  8. Muschamp and the staff will have a great deal to prove this season concerning the team and their attempts at winning the SEC title .

  9. Not sure what to make of this Florida season, Al, as I’m still licking my wounds from last one.

    Let’s just put it this way. No less than eight wins might get Muschamp fired.

  10. I can see the Gators winning eight games, merely for Wil Mushcamp to keep his job , but fans will not be happy with that alone . An SEC title has to be part of their ambition this season .

    Your thoughts on the Broncos’ Wes Welker having suffered the tenth concussion of his career, the third , he has suffered in the past eighteen months by the wide receiver ?

    tophatal ……..

  11. If Kevin Durant makes the decision to leave the Thunder next season , what do you think is likely to happen and where will he end up ?

    Great ten inning game between the Red Sox and Rays .


  12. Chris

    Is Jim Harbaugh really that much of an @ss and does ever think before he makes a public statement ? He comments that he would not tolerate having a trouble maker on the team is laughable to say the very least . I guess he’s overlooking the repeat offenses of Aldon Smith without taking into account the issues of Ray McDonald who has admitted he beat his pregnant fiance’ ? How much more of this goddamn bulls#it must the fans have to put up with , without the actual idiocy of Roger Goodell and how the league tends to treat the issue of domestic violence without delving into the action by the union(NFLPA ) on the issue and the continued apathy of the fans .

    So Michael Sam will become a member of the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad after an announcement was made by a spokesperson for Jerry Jones , who stated pending Sam passing a physical the player would be added to the practice squad.

    Great victory for the Rays . Meanwhile, the Phillies’ blank the Braves , as Cole Hamels and the team’s bullpen ” no hit” a woeful Atlanta offense at Turner Field , yesterday afternoon .

    tophatal …………

  13. Well, Al, at least the Gators didn’t lose another one this past Saturday, thanks to Mother Nature. Here’s hoping they don’t pray for rain the rest of the way out. I’d like to at least see a game… and a win.

    Speaking of Welker, he’s not in the news these days for only his concussions.

    Regarding Durant, my guess is he stays in OKC. He seems to like it there. It depends on whether other big time organizations can woo him there or more importantly whether he wants to woo big time talent to play with him.

    Jim Harbaugh said he doesn’t want trouble makers on his team? That’s all he’s got. Their roster is starting to resemble a rap sheet. I’m seriously liking the under for San Francisco this year the more and more I hear about what’s going on with them.

  14. Chris

    I can’t believe they will void the game between Florida and Idaho and not have it rescheduled ! The Tide were lucky to get by West Virginia . And what the hell do you think is now going on the campus of USC (Trojans) ? Allegations of racism against head coach Steve Sarkisian and his coaching staff , never-mind the mess concerning Josh Davis .

    Already salivating with regard to tonight’s game , between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks .

    Durant in something of candid interview did state he would like be closer to home and if it means his returning to the DC area , he would welcome it . I am not so sure playing for the Wizards is that great an idea ! Your thoughts on that ?

    Welker’s excuse for his testing positive is simply asinine . He ingested “molly” (MDMA [amphetamines]) , because his drink was spiked when he was at a sporting event is absolutely laughable . I would have found his excuse more plausible had he said , he was doing “crack cocaine” with Marion Barry . ” Bit#c made me do it ’cause she set me up ” .

    I have new piece up on the College Football season and the start of the NFL schedule .

    tophatal ……….

  15. Chris

    It seems what happens in Texas , stays in Texas . First Bo Porter is fired as the manager of the Houston Astros and now Ron Washington resigns as manager of the Texas Rangers to deal with a personal issue . Three years ago Washington admitted his addiction to cocaine and entered a rehab program . It seems he couldn’t kick the habit completely . It’s as Whitney Houston …………….. said ” crack is whack ” .

  16. Al…

    I’m surprised they didn’t reschedule it either. But you and I both know money dictated that decision. So if it didn’t make financial sense to replay that game, then why have it?

    And I’m not all that surprised by Washington’s decision to step down. They had their run and I think he had just burnt out. That team was totally underperforming.

  17. They are all overpaid.

    It also blows me away how so many pro athletes end up bankrupt because they can’t even manage the millions. Hire a advisor. Heck, I have one and she just spends most of her time laughing at my bank account. Boom.

  18. “Fortunately for them, I know better than to determine their net worth by their bank accounts.” Amen, Chris. Athletes are already operating on their own plane of reality and once it starts raining money on that lofty level they just slip farther away from the solar system we all live within. I think most of us savvy sports fans gobble up and ravenously appreciate the god-given talents these people have been blessed with to entertain us. As for their verbal contributions to society, we usually have to take a pass. We’re down with their play, not so much with their pay.

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