Cristiano Ronaldo and Lebron James are two players who surprisingly share lots of characteristics. They are both considered to be one of the best performers in the history of their sports. The two of them are 33 years old and look better than ever. They went to super teams to win some titles, CR7 to Real Madrid and The King to Miami Heat. Undeniably, there is no other player more polarizing than these two in the current sports world.
Both icons just moved from their previous teams signing multimillion-dollar contracts this month. However, the new Lakers player will make about 40 percent less money than the former Real Madrid forward.
Ronaldo agreed to a four-year deal with the Italian champion Juventus for an average salary of $64.5 million per season. While on the other hand, James signed a contract for $153.3 million with the Los Angeles Lakers for the same amount of years, which means an average salary of $38.3 million. But, why does Cristiano Ronaldo make much more in the following four years? Isn’t it the NBA revenue far higher than any soccer league in the world (besides the Premier League)?
And the answer for this question was provided by the four-time MVP himself when Steph Curry re-signed with the Golden States Warriors last year.
The salary cap! This rule that places a limit on the amount of money that each NBA team can spend on players’ salaries. Something that all major soccer leagues dissent with. And now the question turns into: Why does the NBA think differently than these soccer leagues?
To answer this question and Lebron James’ as well, we just need to take a glimpse to this year’s Forbes list of The World’s 100 Highest Paid Athletes, which includes 40 NBA players and only nine soccer players. The reason why the professional basketball league implemented a salary cap was to implement a fairer salaries system, giving everyone the opportunity to make large amounts of money. But the fair game doesn't end in the salaries, this rule’s goal is to have a more competitive league, which was fulfilling its mission at least before this new super-team era. And even so, for the last ten years, there have been seven different champions in the NBA, whereas the number reduces to only three in the professional soccer leagues of Spain, Italy, Germany, and England (without including the Leicester championship, a team who had a 5000-1 odd to win before starting the tournament).
It is entirely understandable that players like LeBron James would rather play in an open market league, after all, they are the ones bringing the big budgets to their teams. Nevertheless, a league that has that system in place will always be more appreciated by all basketball fans.