LeBron James Wants You To Know He Is Underpaid

Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James has never signed a maximum-level contract. He is the ninth highest-paid player in the NBA. He makes the exact same amount as Miami Heat teammate Chris Bosh.

So when the defending NBA MVP and Finals MVP says he is underpaid, well, he’s right.

But Forbes estimates James hauls in about $40 million a year in endorsements to go along with his $17.5 million salary. When you’re making almost $60 million, no one wants to hear you complain about money. Even if your beef is reasonable.

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“I have not had a full max deal yet in my career — that’s a story untold,” James told ESPN on Friday. “I don’t get (credit) for it. That doesn’t matter to me; playing the game is what matters to me. Financially, I’ll sacrifice for the team. It shows for some of the top guys, it isn’t all about money. That’s the genuine side of this, it’s about winning. I understand that.

“If you want the truth, if this was baseball, (my salary would) be up. I mean way up there,” he added.

Again, he’s right. New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez raked in $29 million last season for mediocre production. His salary comes from a 10-year contract extension signed in 2008. James signed his six-year deal (with opt-out clauses) with the Heat in 2010.