By STEPHEN GALLOWAY (@sgalloway17)
Photo credit goes to thecomeback.com.
If anyone has been recently paying attention to the NBA, they are more than familiar with the wave of stunning new contracts many players are receiving. Overall, the best word to describe these new contracts would be “absurd.”
For example: Timofey Mozgov, who is an average center at best, just landed a contract worth $16 million a year over four seasons. He has averaged 6.9 points per game in his career.
Unbelievably, Mozgov is not the only one. A washed-up Joakim Noah, whose jump shot is worse than mine, signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the New York Knicks. With all of these new and mind-blogging contract, I ponder how these recent contracts reflect the state of our society’s priorities.
I enjoy the game of basketball. I was one of millions of Americans a few weeks ago on the edge of their seat watching the NBA Finals go to a Game 7. But I am aware of organizations and occupations far more important than the NBA and being a professional basketball player.
It tells a lot about our society when Timofey Mozgov can receive $16 million a year and will probably have no real impact on the NBA. Meanwhile, many of our public school teachers, who actually mold our nation’s future citizens and leaders, make less than $40,000 a year.
It is incredibly troubling to hear that the New York Knicks will sign Joakim Noah for $72 million to probably do nothing over four years while one-in-four children live in poverty in this country. The city of Atlanta is giving the Atlanta Falcons approximately $420 million to help build a new stadium that will cost over $1.4 billion to replace a domed stadium -- which was perfectly fine.
Yet, at the same time, Atlanta cannot find the resources available to fix and improve its pathetic infrastructure, which is paramount for the city to sustain population and economic growth. I understand there is not a feasible way to funnel money from our sports teams to much-needed groups and organization.
But I believe this: If sports teams can pay non-essential players millions of dollars and receive even more money from the public to fund unnecessary sports venues, it shows the power that our sports teams can have over us.
And I don’t know if I’m OK with that.