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Is Kobe Bryant The Most Overpaid Player In The NBA?

Submitted by on June 19, 2012 – 10:36 amOne Comment
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It’s hard to put the words “Kobe Bryant” and “overpaid” into the same sentence. After all that Kobe has done for the Los Angeles Lakers over the years, you could probably make the argument that KB24 is actually underpaid. Sure, he’s made millions and millions of dollars throughout his career—just ask his estranged wife Vanessa—but we’re guessing that he’s also made waaaaaaay more than that for the Lakers and the NBA. So, it’s hard to say that he’s overpaid. And yet, one Southern Utah University professor just found that Kobe is one of the most overpaid players in the league.

So, how did he come to this conclusion? Well, he came up with a statistical method called “Wins Produced” a few years ago that helps explain it. We’ll spare you the long explanation and just say that “Wins Produced” measures how many wins a player contributed to for his team in a given season versus how much money that player makes. As you might expect, that means that most of the “overpaid” players in the NBA come from teams with dismal records. Rashard Lewis of the Washington Wizards is No. 1 overall. Antawn Jamison of the Cleveland Cavaliers is No. 3. Chris Kaman of the New Orleans Hornets is No. 5. And even Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks shows up at No. 8. But, the most surprising name on the list by far is Kobe Bryant at No. 2. According to the SUU professor’s calculations, Kobe is overpaid by more than $19 million—yes 19 million dollars—right now. Apparently, his contributions to the Lakers this season didn’t warrant his salary, regardless of where he may rank on the NBA’s all-time greats lists.

Of course, this list is completely bogus. Or, maybe more appropriately, it’s not exactly flawless. Because, while a lot of the guys on the list deserve their spots, it’s hard to quantify exactly what Kobe Bryant means to the Lakers. Outside of his past performances, KB also brings a certain approach to the game of basketball that resonates with his teammates, the Lakers fan base, and the rest of the league. Without him, the Lakers would find themselves in the cellar in the Western Conference and without much hope. With him, there will always be at least of inkling of hope for Lakers fans. So, call him “overpaid” if you want—and, truthfully, if you’re just going by the numbers, he might be. But, we refuse to do it. Even though we aren’t all Lakers fans, even we realize that Kobe deserves more respect than that. At this point, he’s earned whatever he makes. So, keep those paychecks coming.

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