We are now down to the final two teams vying for the NBA championship.  Your favorite team has no chance of advancing to this phase without a General Manager (GM) who is a champ like Jerry West, the legendary architect of the great Lakers teams.  With a GM who is a chump like Elgin Baylor, the infamous GM of the L.A. Clippers who had a knack for drafting underachievers in the lottery on annual basis, the definition of success is just making the playoffs.  Sometimes not making the playoffs is a blessing because you have the opportunity to get better quickly with a few good selections in the lottery, however your GM could also overlook those future stars to draft players like Danny Ferry, Bo Kimble, Michael Olowokandi, and Lamond Murray.  Anyone remember any of those names?  Nope, not unless you are a Clippers fan at least.  Well, forgive me for digressing and back to the lecture at hand.  Actually, it should have been clear to the fans of a team long before now whether their squad has a bloated payroll of untradeable contracts.  However, I feel that it is time that we look at it from a more statistical perspective.

The NBA Finals pits the Miami Heat, the league’s 4th highest payroll ($83M) against the San Antonio Spurs, the league’s 12th highest payroll ($69M).  These statistics are courtesy of  With 66 regular season wins, Miami paid its players $1.26M per win.  You can compare that San Antonio’s 58 regular season wins and it paid its roster $1.18M per win.  Those seem like great metrics until you compare them to the payrolls of the teams that did not advance beyond the conference finals.  The teams that were sent fishing by the Finals contenders, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Indiana Pacers, have the 25th and 22nd highest payrolls in the league.  Money clearly does not buy you success in the NBA. Based on the previous statistic alone, the coach and front office of Memphis and Indiana ought to be nominated for sainthood.  Oh wait, Memphis did not re-sign Lionel Hollins.  #fail!

While we are talking money, it is also important to take stock of the money generated by basketball footwear sales.  We just posted a video under this section dealing with the sneakerhead world, but we want to let you know how real the money is.  SportsOneSource, a research firm, has calculated that NIKE’s Lebron X (pictured above) has generated $300 Million in retail sales.  These revenues are up 50% from the Lebron IX shoe.  Lebron outsold his nearest rival’s signature shoe by a ratio of 6-to-1.  See the list of the other top-selling signature basketball shoes below.

Kobe Bryant (Nike): $50 million

Carmelo Anthony (Jordan): $40 million

Kevin Durant (Nike): $35 million

Derrick Rose (Adidas): $25 million

John Wall (Reebok): $5 million

Dwight Howard (Adidas): $5 million

Source: SportsOneSource


One thought on “Moneyball

  1. Would it be because Nike has put out like 55 different colorways? I’m playing in a league right now and I’ve seen at least 10 different colorways for LBJ’s shoe. Lebron has worn 2 different pair in games. The sneakerheads are making sure they own every different interpretation Nike puts out.

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