In the wake of a new lucrative NBA TV deal, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said Tuesday that players should fight for their market value.
Last week, Bryant sent out a tweet to his followers after the NBA's new media rights deal, worth $24 billion over nine years, was announced.
"Players are "encouraged" per new CBA to take less to win or risk being called selfish+ungrateful while nbatv deal goes UP by a BILLION #biz," Bryant wrote.
On Tuesday, Bryant expanded on his tweet:
"It's very easy to look at the elite players around the league and talk about the amount of money that they get paid and compare that with the average [player]. But we don't look at what the owners get paid and how much revenue they generate off the backs of these players."
"I think as players, you've kind of got to hold your ground a little bit and not be afraid of what the public perception is. Instead, you try to educate the public a little bit and understand it's not about complaining about how much you're making, because that's ridiculous. We are overpaid, but so are the owners. And you have to fight for what your market value is."
Bryant is not the only player to speak out on the new deal. Last week, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook told Grantland's Zach Lowe that players "definitely get robbed in certain ways," and LeBron James spoke out on the idea of owners saying they are losing money.
The NBA and the NBA Players Association can exercise a clause to end the current CBA in June 2017.
- Molly Geary