Veteran NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith addressed LeBron James’ $97M 2-year extension with the LA Lakers, underpaying him.
Entering his 20th season, LeBron James made history by becoming the highest-paid NBA player following his recent $97M extension with the LA Lakers. The four-time champion surpassed Kevin Durant, who earned $532 million in all-time guaranteed earnings.
The 37-year-old continued to average 30.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 6.2 APG on 52.4% shooting from the field last season. Earlier this year, King James became the first billionaire NBA player since Michael Jordan.
The above update comes as a sigh of relief for the Purple and Gold franchise amid rumors of the superstar taking his talents elsewhere. The Lakers had a very disappointing 2021-22 season, ending their campaign with a 16-game total below +.500, saddled with bad contracts and an injury-plagued veteran roster.
Nevertheless, during a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith bragged about how James was underpaid considering what he brings to the table.
Stephen A. Smith gives his flowers to LeBron James.
Although James continues to earn money from his activities off the court, many believe that the four-time Finals MVP needs to be paid more in terms of his player salary. In all likelihood, the 18x All-Star will surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer in the NBA in the upcoming season.
Age is just a number for James, who is coming in as the top 3 scorer since last season. Thus it comes as no surprise why Stephen A’s believes the 18-time All-Star is ‘significantly underpaid’.
Despite the Lakers not making the playoffs this year, James remains the top draw for the NBA, whether it’s merchandise or ticket sales. Thus, there is no doubt that the game will miss him when he decides to retire.