Are NBA Players Winning the Money Game in the League

By Roger Caldwell | The average National Basketball Association (NBA) player makes just over $10,277,000 ($10 million) for the 2023-2024 seasons. The highest paid player is Stephen Curry at $51,915,615, while 15 players are paid the league minimum of $1,119,563.

It would appear that Basketball players should have nothing to complain about, because they are well paid for shooting a basket ball. Many media and news reporters have stated to basketball players, they should “shut up and dribble.”

In the NBA today 70% to75% of the players are Black and now 50% of the coaches are Black with 30 teams in the league. Diversity is now a business imperative, but 60 years ago the first Black coach was Bill Russell, and racism was a reality.

In the old days making the NBA respectable was the goal of the team owners, and the players were kept under control. But in the 70’s a new generation of Black players entered into the league. There were now Black players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Spencer Haywood who challenged the owners with Black Power, and demanded higher salaries.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, this was the beginning of the multimillionaire dollar contracts, and many players have no idea what happened to the money. Many of the players bought beautiful houses; many spent the money on partying, women, drugs, and clothes. Even though the owners were trying to control players, Hip-Hop was moving into the league.

Allen Iverson brought corn rolls in the game, and you can’t divorce sports from the issues and times in which they played. Enter “Black Ball” a timely book that explains why professional athletes are more outspoken, and challenge things in the society that are not fair.

“Black players introduced an improvisational style of basketball derived from the playground courts of their neighborhoods. They also challenged the team owners’ autocratic power, garnering higher salaries and increased agency. Their skills, style, and savvy laid the foundation for the global popularity and profitability of the league we know today,” says author Dr. Theresa Runstedtler.

Back in the beginning the cost of a team was in the hundreds millions and now the cost is in the billions. The NFL pledged $250 million to combat systemic racism, after basically blackballing Colin Kaepernick for his silent sideline protest against police brutality.

There is so much more that the NBA can do in the Black community with education, violence, and drugs. When 20 year old players get their first large check, they must be taught how to manage and invest the money.

In the modern day NBA, the average career length is only five years, and many during this time period are traded with different teams with no guarantees. Many players are not taught to save their money for the five years they are in the league, so they are broke when they leave.

Most of the players have a small earning window, and when they are cut, their money is supposed to last them the rest of their lives. Most players lack financial knowledge, and are broke when they leave the league.

Most basketball owners are aware that most players lack financial knowledge and they must be taught, what they will do after their playing basketball days are over. Its playoff time and many players don’t understand how this additional money is taxed, and the amount they will receive. Winning the money game in the NBA is difficult, and many players loose.

Most of the Black players when they get their first large check they waste the money, and can remember how they spent and wasted all of it. Winning the money game in the NBA takes financial literacy and too many are broke, because they never saved, saved, and saved.

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