LeBron James is still underpaid

Planet Money
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

To figure out if lebron james is still underpaid we called up one of the economists from that original report victor matheson from holy cross university he happened to be on vacation at the time in mexico i am in cancun i'm sitting at a pina colada by the pool under a palm tree no less i could touch the palm tree if i sat up from my lounge chair well don't do that don't strain yourself just lounge and we'll ask you about lebron james is lebron james still underpaid his salary's gone way up probably still underpaid lebron continues to get hosed even with a monster deal from the lakers because being the world's greatest basketball player means being responsible for a huge economic ripple effect think of ticket prices says victor for example in cleveland average attendance cleveland's went up in the game and of course places for the picket lay more than that we have seen some evidence that the very top stars might be making even at the nba maximum salaries still might be underpaid by twenty thirty fifty percents that means lebron james may still be underpaid by around twenty million dollars that's what i got my my peak it's out so i got i gotta get outta here thanks so much sure thing by for a second opinion on this we call it up brian windhorst from espn he's kind of the lebron james guy over at espn i sometimes in healty of making things too complex so we don't be afraid say hey you're not talking to nba board of governors here luckily brian says this is not complex he is still underpaid and yes because five six years ago the nba was bringing in about seven or eight hundred million dollars per year in television money from their broadcast partners turn on espn that number is now closer to two point four billion the tv money has tripled per year wow lebron james salary has only a little over doubled and of course a big reason tv money is up is because of lebron james brian says that if lebron salary was not tied up in all those nba restrictions and if teams were able to pay him whatever they wanted my guess is that a team in a very large market would probably offer lebron a deal approaching one hundred million dollars a year instead lebron will have to make do with that thirty six million dollar salary oh and by the way lebron is also getting hit by moving to california a state with the highest income tax and much higher cost of living than ohio so looks like poor lebron james just cannot catch a break

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