The average professional basketball player in the NBA makes around $5.15 million a year while the average professional baseball player in the MLB makes about $3.2 million a year. Is this an excessive amount for anyone to make, no matter their profession?

The highest paid doctor will average a little over $500,000 a year, and the median household only makes an average of $54,000. A Major League Baseball player will make more swinging a bat in one game than an average family will see in one decade. How is it that a grown man can get paid so much for doing something that toddlers do for fun?

When professional sports first started, players needed a side job to make ends meet. Players were not being paid nearly as much as they are today. Salaries have only gone up from there however. This is only possible because of the fans and the supporters of teams. When people are paying the big bucks to see live games, buy official merchandise, and stand in line for overpriced food, they are only upping the salaries for player the next year.

But, consider the flip side. An insurance company is not going to cover a professional athlete, but pro athletes get injured more than someone working a 9-5 job. So, professional athletes have to pay out of pocket for knee surgery, rehabilitation, medications, etc. Another reason for the extreme salaries is their short career. Athletes make money for a much shorter time than any other profession, so they need to make as much money as they can in that short time.

Even though professional athletes are being paid an outrageous amount of money, they is some rhyme and reason for it, although maybe not to the extent to which it is.  

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Are professional athletes overpaid? by Olivia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

17 Comments
  1. Chloe 2 months ago

    Olivia,
    I really liked how you explained why athletes may need to paid more for insurance, injury, and career span reasons. Its something that we often don’t think about when we talk about how much athletes get paid. I think we look at the number and can’t even fathom how much money that is, but after tax, surgeries, and other expenses it can be justified. https://fee.org/articles/athletes-salaries-too-high-sports-fans-blame-yourselves/ explained that its the fans fault for showing so much support and buying tickets and merchandise so the athletes have the ability to be paid more.

  2. Oscar 2 months ago

    I see my recent comment being on the trash, I don’t know how that happened at all, hopefully you didn’t delete it, thank you have a nice day!

  3. Isa 2 months ago

    Olivia,
    I like how near the end of your writing you explain why the players receive more money than most. I never thought there we legitimate reasons that they got paid as much as they do. However, I still don’t think they should be paid as much as they are. As you said they make around $5.15 million a year, where some people don’t even make that in a lifetime. Instead of giving them so much money, I think doctors and teachers should make more. Doctors are saving people’s lives every day and teachers are shaping our next generation. An article I found that you might like that says 61% of people think athletes make too much money. The url is http://www.debate.org/opinions/do-athletes-make-too-much-money
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Lucy 2 months ago

    Olivia,
    I think this post touches on the overall wage gap in America, with the top 1% holding a huge majority of the Money in the US. While professional athletes are typically within that top 1%, your concern doesn’t seem to be with the overall economic makeup of American society. You seem to be wondering if Pro athletes re making “too much” for what they do. While this is a matter of opinion, I think you do a great job in demonstrating many perspectives.
    There are lots of articles on this topic, but this one was particularly interesting- https://thetylt.com/sports/do-professional-athletes-make-too-much-money

    Lucy

  5. Sam 2 months ago

    I definitely agree that professional athletes are over paid. However, their salary is reflective of how much revenue they bring to their team, sport, organization, etc. I had never considered the lack of insurance for professional players. You made good points that represent both sides of the argument.

  6. Colin 2 months ago

    Hi Olivia, I found your article very interesting. I do believe athletes are very much so overpaid. Yes they are perfectionist at their craft but at what cost. Some basketball players will have a good season get paid a 10 million dollar contract not including endorsements and other outside income and not do much else in here career. I believe we need to value other figures on our society much more than athletes. They are entertainers, but there are other people in society struggling to make a leaving while athletes are living in the top 5%. They do deserve money for their hard work and dedication, but I believe sports should be based of commission. If you contribute to your team at a high level pay them, but if you are getting paid to sit on the bench, I think that money can go else where to help others in need.

  7. Simon 2 months ago

    Hi Olivia, I do believe that they are overpaid personally and as someone who watches a ton of sports I think about this alot. We as a society place such a emphisis on athletics that on the super bowl sunday 4 million will only buy you 30 seconds. We need to have some kind of reform in all the legues and have an expation of the charities these Associations run. The top has so much money in these organizations and they sit on it and aren’t doing much to better society.
    Thanks, Simon

  8. Oliver 2 months ago

    Olivia, I can not agree with you more on this argument. The lineman protecting our quarterback are making more money then the men in Afghanistan, fighting to protect our country. Something is not right but sadly we can not do anything about it since we are the cause for professional athletes salaries being so high. I wish we could do something to make the salaries of jobs that actually mean something go up.

  9. Erick 2 months ago

    Dear Olivia,
    I am amazed about your post, “Are professional athletes overpaid?,” because you included facts and numbers to show your point of view of this topic of sports pay versus average jobs. Also I liked how you compared a doctors salary over a year to professional athletes salary over a year.
    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “Athletes make money for a much shorter time than any other profession, so they need to make as much money as they can in that short time. ” I think this is great because… <you talk about a short career which means that athletes can only play sports for only so many years, basically saying father time catches up to you so have to make the money while you still can. Also having a career like being a doctor can be a lifetime job until you retire and call it quits and make great money for a longer period.
    Another sentence that I liked was “An insurance company is not going to cover a professional athlete, but pro athletes get injured more than someone working a 9-5 job. So, professional athletes have to pay out of pocket for knee surgery, rehabilitation, medications, etc. Another reason for the extreme salaries is their short career.” This stood out for me because, once your injured in any sport as a professional athlete you have to pay for your recovery and rehab just for you to someday soon get back to playing sports but sometimes may recover but will not be able to play sports ever again.
    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because your blog was very interesting for me I loved how you detail your blog thoroughly. Also the comparison between athletes and normal jobs.

  10. Oscar 2 months ago

    Dear Olivia:

    I am very intrigued about your post,”Are professional athletes overpaid” because to me, it seems like you are hating on their jobs. They worked hard to make it to the top, and be who they are now. Like I said before, as long as you yourself are living good, then there shouldn’t be a problem. At times though, I do think they receive a bit too much money but it is what is. Good article though.

  11. Oscar 2 months ago

    This has a strong statement about if athletes are overpaid or not

  12. Beth 2 months ago

    Hey Olivia! This is a very interesting topic to me, and I think you presented both sides very well. I hadn’t thought of some of the points you had brought up, such as how they pay out of pocket for health issues. In a country with such extreme income inequality, it can be hard to justify someone making so much money, but like you said, there is a rhyme and reason to it. Another argument you could use if the amount of time they spend practicing (for years!) justifies their huge salaries. You could also expand on comparing athletes of different sports. Here is an interesting article discussing the two sides to your debate!
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1089195-two-sides-to-every-coin-are-professional-athletes-overpaid

    I look forward to your other writing!
    Beth

  13. Mason 2 months ago

    Hi Olivia, I think this is a great topic and I found your post very interesting. I really liked that you included some real numbers in your post to illustrate the spectrum of salaries between a professional athlete, to a doctor, to an average income household, I felt seeing the actual difference in numbers helped to really get the point across and it definitely stuck out to me. I also liked how you addressed both sides of the argument, both that professional athletes get paid too much, and the other side that says their salaries are justified. This is one article that I thought did a good job of comparing both sides of the argument and thought it could be helpful – https://thetylt.com/sports/do-professional-athletes-make-too-much-money – I look forward to hearing more from you on this topic.
    Mason

  14. Oscar 2 months ago

    MAN, who cares. That’s how life works. As long as you make enough to maintain your family, you’re good.

  15. Joey 2 months ago

    This has a strong statement about if athletes are overpaid or not.

  16. Elliot 2 months ago

    This has a strong statement about if athletes are overpaid or not.

  17. Kevin 2 months ago

    This has a strong statement about if athletes are overpaid or not.

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