LeBron James is arguably the best player in the NBA. His salary is $17.5 million a year. He's worth much, much more.
"He's getting hosed," says Kevin Grier, an economist from the University of Oklahoma.
James used to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. When he left, the value of the team fell by tens of millions of dollars — and the value of his new team, the Miami Heat, rose by tens of millions. The economists I talked to said James should be making closer to $40 million a year.
In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers chose Sam Bowie, a 7-foot-1 center from the University of Kentucky, with the second pick in the college draft. The Chicago Bulls then took Michael Jordan.
The words "Bowie over Jordan" are part of pro basketball lore, and are still a source of pain for many fans of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Bowie's tenure in Portland was marred by leg injuries; Jordan became a legend. ESPN recounts it all in a documentary about Bowie on Thursday night.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: L.A. topsy-turvy with the Clippers now the top NBA team in town, while the Lakers try to pick themselves up with a new coach. And remember those three NFL quarterbacks who were knocked out of their games last week? A couple of them kept playing. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us now.