Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant posted a pointed message to his Twitter account Tuesday about the NBA's new media rights deal and player salaries.
The new deal is worth $24 billion over nine years, with an average annual value that nearly triples the current deal that expires following the 2015-16 season.
Bryant, who was criticized for signing a contract worth $48.5 million over two years in November 2013, made other pointed comments regarding player salaries in an interview with Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski last year.
"Most of us have aspirations for being businessmen when our playing careers are over," Bryant told Yahoo Sports in a corridor of the Verizon Center. "But that starts now. You have to be able to wear both hats. You can't sit up there and say, 'Well, I'm going to take substantially less because there's public pressure, because all of a sudden, if you don't take less, you don't give a crap about winning. That's total bull----.
"I'm very fortunate to be with an organization that understands how to take care of its players, and put a great team out on the floor. They've figured out how to do both.
"Most players in this league don't have that. They get stuck in a predicament – probably intentionally done by the teams – to force them to take less money. Meanwhile, the value of the organization goes through the roof off the backs of their quote, unquote selfless players.
"It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
Bryant is not the only high-profile player to speak out about the new TV deal.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook told Grantland's Zach Lowe on Tuesday that "We (players) definitely get robbed in certain ways."
"The whole thing that went on with the last negotiation process was the owners was telling us that they were losing money. There's no way they can sit in front of us and tell us that right now after we continue to see teams selling for billions of dollars, being purchased for $200 million, [selling] for 550 [million], 750 [million], $2 billion," James said. "And now [Mikhail] Prokhorov is possibly selling his majority stake in the Nets for over a billion. So, that will not fly with us this time."
The NBA and the NBA Players Association can exercise a clause to end the current CBA in June 2017.
- Chris Johnson