On Nov. 25, Kobe Bryant signed a two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers worth $48 million.
The 16-year veteran, who has played his entire career with the Lakers, said, “There was not very much of a decision. They basically presented me with an offer and I signed it.”
Though $24 million may seem like a dream to most people, this is nothing new for Bryant. For the last three years, he has been the highest paid player in the NBA; during one of those years, he pulled in $27 million, seven million dollars more than the second-highest paid player.
A 14-time all-star player with the third-most appearances in the NBA, Bryant has amassed more than $220 million throughout his career. Over $30 million of those earnings come from endorsements from the likes,of Nike, Lenovo, Coca Cola, Mercedes, and Turkish Airlines. The affiliations with these name brands alone prove how great his clout reaches.
His total net value has ranked him number 24 on the Forbes List of Top 100 celebrities.
On the Forbes List of highest-paid athletes, Kobe Bryant ranks third, ahead of LeBron James (4th, NBA) and Drew Brees (5th, NFL), but still trailing Roger Federer (2nd, tennis) and Tiger Woods (1st, golf).
Bryant is 35 years old and returning from a surgery to repair a torn Achilles. For an athlete considered to be in the declining years of his career, it is remarkable that he received this contract. But does Bryant’s history prove he is worth every dime?
Bryant has been named to the All-NBA Team 15 times, including 10 appearances on the All-NBA First Team, and has been on the All-Defensive Team 12 times. He was named player of the month 17 times. He has won four All-Star MVPs, two Finals MVPs, and one NBA MVP.
He is currently 7th all time in points scored in a single season and 4th in total points scored in a career, quickly closing in on 3rd-ranked Michael Jordan. He scored the 2nd-most points ever in an NBA game with 81.
Most importantly, Bryant has helped bring five championships to Los Angeles.
If the Lakers can afford to pay Bryant $48 million, imagine how much more they are able to make off of having him in a Lakers uniform. Though Bryant may be aging, his contract proves two things: loyalty still exists in sports and hard work always pays off.