As LeBron James enters the threshold of the club of sportspersons earning $1 billion in their career, Skip Bayless has a few choice words.
LeBron James has been the best and most recognizable player of the NBA for a decade. He was tipped to be the face of the league right after he joined the NBA straight from high school. James did a lot more than just live up to the expectations.
He became the consensus no. 2 player in basketball history with his 4th title last year. Many regard him as the GOAT over Michael Jordan, citing his longevity and statistical dominance as their major arguments.
At the bare minimum, James is at least legitimately in the GOAT conversation. But the likes of Skip Bayless are able to find any reason to discredit his achievements. In this case, Bayless is going after LeBron for earning the money due to him.
LeBron James should’ve taken more paycuts: Skip Bayless
Bayless took to Twitter to further the discourse around LeBron’s $1 billion career earnings. Bayless called out LeBron for not taking paycuts to accommodate better teammates in the manner of Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan and Tom Brady:
“LeBron will soon pass ONE BILLION DOLLARS in career NBA salary earnings. Has always insisted on the max. YET: How many more MJ-chasing championships would he have won if he’d taken less $ to have better supporting cast – as MJ always did. Or Tim Duncan. Or Tom Brady. Why, King?”
LeBron will soon pass ONE BILLION DOLLARS in career NBA salary earnings. Has always insisted on the max. YET: How many more MJ-chasing championships would he have won if he’d taken less $ to have better supporting cast – as MJ always did. Or Tim Duncan. Or Tom Brady. Why, King?
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) February 12, 2021
The jury is out on this particular tidbit. On the one hand, LeBron was only the highest-paid player in the league once over the course of his career. This was in the 2016-17 season with the Cavs, his final season alongside Kyrie Irving.
He, along with Bosh, Haslem and Dwyane Wade took small pay cuts in order to accommodate the salaries of the likes of James Jones and Mike Miller. That wasn’t, however, what Skip was alluding to.
Michael Jordan took a huge pay cut (over $25 million) in the 1996-97 season so that the Bulls could surround him with better talent. This wasn’t his first time doing this either – Jordan took repeated paycuts all through his Bulls career to strengthen their roster.
But Skip is probably in the wrong here. As a pro sportsperson, you are the very reason all this revenue is generated by sports leagues and companies. There is no reason you shouldn’t hustle for the slice of pie you helped create. In James’ case, he possibly gets paid less than half his true worth to the league. Jordan certainly was robbed some.