I have often heard people talking about the salaries of professional athletes. It's no secret that most professional athletes make more in one year than most of us will ever make in our life times. And I can see how people might think that paying people millions of dollars to run around playing like they were still in kindergarten could seem a little ridiculous. Just as an example, Lebron James plays for the Cleveland Caveliers. He came straight out of high school and is already making the individual salary cap of 20 million per year. That's some serious dough for just playing a game of basketball!! Most people see those kinds of numbers and are just disgusted. I used to think the same thing until I took a class on sports economics. There are certainly cases where players are overpaid for what they actually do in their profession. This is not the case for Lebron James.
It seems logical that a worker in his field should be paid what he is worth. For Example, I work in a factory driving a large fork lift doing very skill based maneuvers. It is not an easy job to do for most people. If I were to apply to work somewhere else, I know that I am at least worth what I am making. If an offer were less than what I am making now, why would I ever accept it? The only problem with most jobs, is that there is no effective way of measuring productivity. It is a very hard thing to do in most cases. In basketball however, productivity is perfectly measured. It is a very simple thing to see what a player contributes to his team. And it would make sense that a player should be payed according to his productivity.
Lebron James is one case where his productivity can be measured very well. In his profession, he would expect to make what he is worth compared to other players in the league, just like any other industry. If we use the stats to determine how much money James should be payed, there is very clear data showing that he is actually underpaid! If he were paid for the amount of money that he alone generates for the Caveliers, he would make a lot more money than he does. He brings in a lot more revenue than he is paid. This is determined by looking at the number of wins that he himself produces and the revenue that is made from the gate, merchandise, and other factors. So despite common belief, some professional players are not being payed what they should.