I am not under the impression that a majority of Canis Hoopers agree with my politics or my take on economics so I thought I'd dump a lot of thoughts into one post so my critics could have at me to their hearts' content.
Our pro-business community believes that cream rises to the top, and has no problem with CEOs who are disproportionately compensated, yet they think the NBA owners are entitled to cut the pay of their top players because that's a business decision they have chosen to make and which they are entitled to make.
Why are top NBA players any different than CEOs? CEOs are not owners. CEOs do not invest in their companies. CEOs make what the market allows, and that's a good description of NBA salaries. Because CEOs have been overcompensated, all the veeps down the line are now overcompensated, just like in the NBA. CEO's who screw up get golden parachutes, just like NBA players whose weight balloons in the second year of a five-year contract.
But here's where this analogy falls apart. The NBA is a little oasis sitting on top of the vast bubble that is amateur sports in America. Only the pros get paid in any meaningful way. In business, everyone gets a check (except for the unpaid interns who are getting the world's biggest shafting).
When you pay an NBA player, you're not just paying him by the hour or game. You're paying him for giving up his childhood to become a pro. You're paying him for cutting college tutoring sessions to get in extra gym time. You're paying him for a ton of sacrifices he made in the hopes of getting to the top but now, suddenly, being at the top of your game is just another job, and your pay should be cut because that's just the way it is.
We're not cutting CEO salaries. Not anywhere. Financial CEOs ran the international economy into a ditch and they're still cutting themselves bonuses. But somehow, that's different than the NBA where the players just keep getting better and better because they're working harder and harder.
What part of cutting the players' pay makes sense in a market economy like the one we've got? Without players, you have no game. Without owners, you have everything but the bullshit. Ownership is not a valid sports concept. Promotion is, and that's what the owners are: overpaid promoters.
Here's the employment roster for an NBA club:
- PR staff/media minders
- administrative personnel
- administrative support staff
- player support staff
- facilities management
- coaching staff
- support staff for coaches
The only hard jobs to fill on that list are coaches and players and maybe some very good trainers and scouts. Everyone else and I do mean EVERYONE else on that list is easily replaced. Doing things the way the NBA does them is not a business model, it's a license to exploit players. The only reason this isn't seen as an outrage is because the NCAA's plantation system is a thousand times a thousand times worse, which is no excuse.
That's my rant for the day. Respond to your heart's content.