|As my personal bills continue to escalate past my income, President Bush attempts sucker tactics with his plan for tax refunds (from our own greenbacks), and as gas prices finally - but gradually - decrease, I am seated in front of the television glued to ESPN. In between the daily averages, highlight reels and drug charges there is the usual chatter of free agents, contract negotiations, hold outs, and signing bonuses (the favorite for professional chickenheads). The cost for an athlete now averages somewhere between $50 to $100 million dollars.
Some would believe that athletes are over paid, but I would just ask: "wouldn't you?" People stop hating. I understand many of the arguments that may supplement their reasoning - "$100 million to dribble a ball?" To be honest, though, that's not entirely correct. Athletes wouldn't be paid these enormous amounts of dollars if the teams and the NBA couldn't afford it. Sure we see these players profiling on MTV Cribs with the Bentley Coupes and 20 room mansions even though they are the only one living there, but the salaries they make are nothing compared to those of the cigar smoking suits.
Athletic organizations can more than afford to pay these high price tags for the players not because they necessarily want to, but instead they have to. As it's important for the athletes to get paid in full, it's just as important for the teams as well. The money generated from a Shaq, Allen, Vince, and/or Kobe keeps the teams' heads more than just above water - it keeps them cruising in $3 million dollar yachts smoking Cuban cigars. Now who's the real player?
The teams and the league all benefit from signing big names to big contracts. The investment is profitable through ticket sales, merchandise, video games, and television deals. The more the team wins the better opportunities become. Who cared about the Philadelphia 76ers before the time of A.I.? The Lakers hadn't seen ShowTime before Kobe took flight and Shaq brought his wrath to the backboards. Now with these marquee players, these teams are winners both on the hardwood and in the boardrooms. At the end of the rainbow there's no longer a pot of gold - its now platinum, baby.
Some may also argue and make a valid point when it comes to young guns coming into the league straight from college or better yet high school and getting paid millions before they know what number will be on their jerseys. This is a very valid point. Why should some of these ballers get paid more than the older counterparts? I can think of two reasons from the top of the dome. Number 1, they need to get a better agent and number 2, they're old. Newer players will hopefully be able to lead their teams for the next 5 to 10 years whereas the older cats will be checking for Geritol and setting themselves up for the next Ben Gay commercial.
Times have changed and salaries are bigger, but everyone benefits. The ballers, the suits, the fans, the merchants, and, of course, the chickenheads: they all get a piece of the great American Pie. No one can deny wanting a piece. That's why we still have the lottery and poor Joes taking that million dollar shot from half way down the court at basketball games. If only for a taste of the dream, instead of having to settle for an Apple pie from McDonalds. So all you haters keep doing what you do best: watch, wish, hate and RIDE THE BENCH.
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