Friday , Mar , 23 , 2012 Nash Herrington

Up Up And Away

Basketball player salaries continue to climb.

The highest paid NBA player in the 2010-2011 season was the Laker’s Kobe Bryant who took home $24.8 million dollars. This was $4 million more than any other NBA player. Although this was only about half of his net gross for the year as he took home close to $53 million including endorsement deals. These outrageous salaries have some people wondering where is the limit to the massive salaries NBA players enjoy.

The answer is that with the NBA’s global expansion, there is no end in sight for premier player salaries in the NBA. Even though Kobe is the highest paid player, there were plenty of other players paid in excess of $25 million last season. LeBron James took home $48 million, Yao Ming $27.7 million, and Dwight Howard $27.6 million.

The NBA is a product that is expanding into new markets and finding more and more consumers eager to embrace its’ brand. With this expansion All-Star players with big personalities like Wade, Anthony, Bryant, and more are capitalizing on their celebrity status not only to drive salaries, but more importantly to cash in on their individual brand name.

The new players agreement put into place stricter salary cap penalties on teams that continue to spend with no conscious. This is an effort to empower mid-sized markets that don’t have the never-ending pockets of LA and NY. The players also received 57% of the league income last season and now have had this reduced to a 49% / 51% split with owners.

These two facts would indicate to many that salaries would come down, but this hasn’t’ been the case. The players most impacted by this new agreement are not the top earners who will continue to get almost anything they desire. It is the mid level and lower level players that are finding themselves getting squeezed by teams unwilling to pay penalties if they don’t deem the player worth it. Case in point is the Laker’s practically giving away Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks this year. The bottom line is the NBA remains a league dominated by stars and the brightest starts will continue to get paid salaries out of this world.