When basketball player Stephen Curry signed a new contract with the Golden State Warriors in 2017, jaws dropped at his new salary: a whopping $201 million over five years. That’s just over $40 million a year—one of the highest annual salaries in team sports history.
The National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) are the three biggest pro sports organizations in the U.S. They rake in billions of dollars a year in TV deals, merchandise sales, and ticket sales. But do the players deserve so much of the profits?
Some people say paychecks like Curry’s and those of other top-level athletes are too big. Is it fair, for example, that Mike Trout, a center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels, gets about $34 million a year to hit a baseball when the average annual salary for a police officer is $54,000?
But other people say talented athletes deserve every penny. It takes many years of hard work and dedication for them to achieve such a high level of success. Besides, they argue, any money not paid to players would only fatten the pockets of already wealthy team owners.
Are pro athletes overpaid? Two sportswriters weigh in.