NBA Players Aren't Getting Paid Too Much

While fitting around the internet waiting for some sort of college sports season to start, I came across this Matthew Yglesias post about the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations in the NBA:

To make a long story short, NBA players earn a lot of money because (a) NBA franchises have a lot of revenue and (b) there aren’t very many NBA players (usually 12 players on a roster instead of 25 on a baseball team or hundreds of employees at a given Wal-Mart) so the money is concentrated in a few hands. But I don’t see any evidence that they’re earning an unusually large slice of the pie relative to any other industry.

NBA players, you see, collectively get paid about 57% of basketball-related income (pretty much everything but the licensing and arena-related money), which is pretty much what the national percentage of GDP goes to compensation in this country. (Yglesias is wrong in that there are 15 spots on an NBA roster, but if he didn't make at least one basic or typographic error per post, he wouldn't be where he is today.) Also worth keeping in mind is that even if the owners succeed in taking money from the players, ticket prices won't drop a cent; they're set by what the market will bear, and the excess profits would just go to the guys in suits rather than those in jersies. And with a fair number of Carolina alums hitting free agency this year - Rasheed Wallace now with the Celtics, and the 2005 draft class of Sean May, Marvin Williams, Rashad McCants, and Raymond Felton - I'd like to see them all get their true market value.

(Atlanta is working on resigning Williams, and Charlotte wants Felton to stay. McCants and May have been designated unrestricted by their respective teams.)

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