Mark Kim: Mad money
April 27, 2012 • written by Mark Kim, Community Editor
Filed under Opinions
I logged on to my computer and I saw the breaking news banner on ESPN. Then I looked down and couldn’t believe my eyes. Magic Johnson had just bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for two billion dollars.
I stared baffled at my computer wondering what I was more stunned by: the two billion dollars spent, or the fact that it was bought by Magic Johnson. I chose the two billion dollars part.
Money has been an integral part of sports. Whether it comes to salaries or paying for new chairs, everything in the sports world has a price, but who knew inflation would rise this big?
If you don’t believe me, take this stat into fact. Brett Favre, arguably one of the best players in NFL history, made 12 million dollars a year when he played for the Vikings. Calvin Johnson, an elite but not yet hall of fame receiver, is set to make over 16.5 million dollars per year with 60 million dollars guaranteed.
You think that’s a big contract? Just see what MLB players are making every year.
The fact that athletes are worth more than some small countries is what upsets me. They’re just humans that can put basketballs into hoops or hit a puck into a net. To be honest, they’re not making a real difference in the world for what they are worth. Especially given the fact most of these guys spend their money on absurd luxuries instead of giving a good chunk of it to charity.
With the two billion dollars Magic spent on the Dodgers, picture the wonders he can do with it. You can give an entire third world country the necessities they need for a lifetime. You can buy hundreds of houses for the homeless. You can support Invisible Children in their fight against KONY (…ehhh, still don’t know about that one).
Although it’s nice to have luxury, the problem I had was with having too much luxury. Take Allen Iverson for example. Iverson was one of the best scoring guards the NBA has ever, but he squandered over 200 million dollars in total earnings and is now filing for bankruptcy.
How did he lose his money? He bought over eight hundred thousand dollars in jewelry, bought a new suit for every game and never wore them again, paid for damages done in court cases and spent his “hard earned cash” at the casinos where he was eventually banned from. He is now considering playing D-League basketball and soccer to make some money. This is a guy who earned once earned over 500 times the average joe salary of 46,326 dollars. The average man hasn’t filed for bankruptcy, yet the rich man has. Ironic isn’t it?
Now I know not every player is like Iverson, but my point is that do these athletes really need seven, eight or nine zeros on their paychecks? Are teams really worth ten zeros on the paycheck? No they are not. They are athletes, not world changers. Even Luke Walton, a guy who is pretty much paid to warm the bench and do nothing, gets paid more than all of the janitors at Central. Believe me, our janitors work harder than Luke Walton.
I have even more of a problem with these big contracts because America is going through a recession. I am no expert with money, but you know there’s a problem when gas costs four dollars and seventy five cents. While people’s houses are getting foreclosed, Tom Brady goes and pays for a brand new mansion. While some people live on instant ramen and fast food, athletes spend money for caviar, a nice Maine lobster and a nice bottle of chardonnay from 1992. The spectrum is ridiculous.
So organizations, owners, players, etc. need to listen when I say that there’s a problem with the way organizations are run. If you are less willing to throw money at athletes, they would be less inclined to ask for more money. Give them less supply and there will be less demand (as strange as that sounds). While more money is being thrown at organizations and players today, it doesn’t mean there can’t be change.