Pay Me with Money, Not Pride
By Joseph Kolodziej
While this issue is basketball related, it’s a microcosm of the bigger problem running throughout all of society and I can’t differentiate between the two. Last week, Dwayne Wade publicly made comments that questioned how shares of proceeds from Olympic merchandise, such as jersey sales, might be funneled to players. Ray Allen had expressed similar sentiments. He also commented that he thinks NCAA athletes should be financially compensated as well. It’s an interesting debate upfront but it’s easy to get lost in all the smoke and shadow without stepping back and seeing the full picture. I’ve thought about it myself some and have my own compensation plan that is more balanced and self-serving for everyone in the long run: ask for less, get more.
I feel the same about max contracts. Here’s my advice to max contract athletes on imbalanced teams: take a pay cut and you’ll get what’s called a return investment! If all players clearly understood that by taking a significant amount less in their max contract deals, they’d be able to build complete teams without the glaring holes seen on so many of today’s rosters and the money they initially sacrificed to build better teams would come back to them in the form of even more jersey sales, more ticket sales, more endorsement deals and championships. There would also be more fulfillment and pride.
I know there are some people who take the stance that every athlete, entrepreneur, businessperson should seek to make as much money as possible, turn every moment into a cent, every cent into another opportunity and back into a cent again. This is how money appears to multiply, I get it. Clearly though, there’s something gone awry somewhere. If the system were perfect, or forget perfect, even superior, than why is the seeker always searching for more, as if, they didn’t have enough? Sounds like a hole-in-the-boat complex; scooping the water in the ocean while the hole-in-the boat is being filled water and the cycle just continues probably resulting in a drowning.
Money in itself is meaningless. It is only given value by what it can provide. Why not embrace a model that serves all people at once, rather than just one businessperson or athlete. Why not take every coin created by the sales of all Olympic and NCAA merchandise sales and donate them all to a general fund set up called “the world’s goods.” Later on, through some simple research, it will be determined which area of the world had the highest basic human need and what that highest need was and then all monies would be donated to serving that need. And instead of seeing it as a “socialist scheme” or some other redundant phrase, see it as serving yourself through your world.
And I know it’s not solely the fault of the athlete for seeing the world from the perspective they do because it’s this type of thinking that perpetuates and stagnates the world, standing in the way of real change and progress; business and people in general, defining what they will be losing rather than what they will be giving back to themselves in the long run. It’s not philosophy but fundamental fact and it’s very applicable. This example has to come from leadership or it may never happen in either college or professional sports. While this thinking is a total upheaval in the overall perspective, it will be monumental in ending this dead business model cycle of loss and greed.
The world is only able to improve at the rate that its resources are shared, not stockpiled, and by that measure it will be given back to the world through lowered crime, the forging of new companies, lowered taxes and a more efficient, happier society. If money were equally distributed and reprioritized then more would come back in from all over, rather than everyone having desperately to compete to fill their bottom line. Call it “investing in humanity,” or a “human stimulus plan” regardless of what catchy name it would have, it would be better than the current bottomless structure.
In terms of athletes wanting more time off, I totally agree—it’s very taxing on your body to have to player a full season with playoffs and also have to have Olympic commitments in the summer; that’s why I suggest that if it’s too much, just respectfully step down , citing the need for rest. Just tell the truth, it’s another old system, like sharing, but still the best one.