Why Steph Curry is underpaid despite having the highest salary in the NBA

Why Steph Curry is underpaid despite having the highest salary in the NBA

Poole: Steph still underpaid despite having the highest salary in the NBA originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Shortly after the Warriors open training camp next month, Stephen Curry will claim his first victory of the season. The first salary of the $48.1 million he will earn in the first year of a contract that makes him the highest-paid player in the NBA.

And yet it is poorly paid.

Warriors are innocent; are adhering to the collective bargaining agreement, which establishes contractual guidelines. Curry is at the top of the scale. Supermax level.

If blame is to be assigned, point it at Curry. It has become so financially efficient – ​​for the Golden State franchise, for the Bay Area, for the league, for the global game of basketball – that its monetary value defies limitations. He cannot receive his worth.

Despite being a day one priority for the ownership group led by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, the Chase Center likely wouldn’t exist without the impressive rise of the franchise with Curry as the centerpiece. Fame, glory and visualization of future dollars open doors and increase the power of persuasion.

“I don’t think the Chase Center would have been built (without Curry being there),” says Bob Dorfman, a longtime San Francisco-based sports marketing analyst. “And the team certainly wouldn’t have been as successful as it is without building things around Steph.

“Look at the value of the team. They are second in the league. In the last 10 years, this has skyrocketed. Yeah, he’s definitely worth double what he’s making.”

Doubling Curry’s contract to $96.2 million comes close to his financial value – but still not close.

Consider that Curry is the #1 reason the Warriors, bought for $450 million in 2010 and valued at $750 million before winning the 2015 NBA Finals, are valued at $5.6 billion on the latest list. annual ratings published by Forbes. Fast math tells us it’s a little more than a 12-fold increase in 12 years.

“I can’t think of anyone else who has led this kind of transformation for a franchise,” says Dorfman. “They were not rags for riches; they had a very strong fan base. But nothing like where they are now.”

Consider, too, that Curry is the #1 reason the Warriors have won four championships in eight years, which makes him the #1 reason why it’s rare to walk 20 steps within a 50-mile radius of the Bay Bridge without seeing someone wearing it. team equipment.

Curry is the #1 reason the Warriors generally dominate the NBA’s local TV ratings; its ratings last season were more than double that of the second-place Cavaliers. He is the #1 reason why in 2022-23 Golden State will once again lead the league in national TV appearances.

“I don’t know how you rate it,” says Dorfman, “but it’s definitely worth more than $48 million a year.

“And it’s even things like people arriving at games an hour or two early to see you warm up. They’re eating more food, drinking more beer. or leaving [in] Thrive City to get close to him.”

Curry has nurtured and nurtured the Bay Area sports scene like no previous athlete – more than a long list of Hall of Famers that include Willie Mays, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Rickey Henderson, Rick Barry.

There’s no doubt that Barry Bonds’ presence and power provided the impetus that took the Giants out of Candlestick Park and the gem that is Oracle Park. But Barry’s image has certainly constrained its potential as an all-encompassing game-changer.

“No player I can imagine made the impact here that Steph has,” says Dorfman, who has operated in the Bay Area since 1985. “You think of Barry Bonds, but he didn’t make the Giants winners. He was such a good guy you didn’t go to the bathroom when he was at bat.”

“Football is different because there are 11 guys on each side. Same with baseball. San Diego welcomes Juan Soto, but so what? They’re still not doing very well. Basketball is that sport where a player can really change things.”

For image, action, and popularity, Steph turned indifferent basketball fans into screaming maniacs and forced casual fans to spit out $400 dollars for a pair of upper seats at the Chase Center.

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Curry is a man of the people. A game ambassador who signs autographs at all 30 NBA locations, who shows up to reveal new basketball courts he’s funded, who takes time to visit and donate to community groups in need.

A 9-year-old girl unable to find basketball tennis and a college without a golf program will happily tell you about the communication that Steph led to her dream come true.

I can’t put a price on it, no matter how big the salary.

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