By Ryan Velez
Many people focus on the athletes in the game, but it’s easy to forget that coaches play a major role. In the NBA, where people of color are often front and center, there are several Black coaches making bank. With the salaries of the Indiana Pacers’ Nate McMillan and former Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson not being listed, there are five coaches to look at.
- David Fizdale- $2.5M a year (even though he was fired by the Memphis Grizzlies in November)
- Tyronn Lue- $3M a year
- Alvin Gentry- $3.44M a year
- Dwane Casey- $6M a year
- Doc Rivers- $10M a year (Rivers is also the second-highest paid coach overall, behind only Greg Popovich)
However, when it comes to earnings, athletes far eclipse coaches, though many of the largest names are people of color also. Here is some previous coverage of these big-money athletes.
“Topping the list, adjusted for inflation, was NBA legend Michael Jordan, having $1.7 billion in earnings, catapulting him to a unique position as one of the world's few Black billionaires. Second on the list is Tiger Woods, not far behind with $1.65 billion in earnings. Other major earners include Kobe Bryant with $770 million, Shaquille O'Neal with $700 million, Alex Rodriguez with $600 million, and Oscar De La Hoya with $510 million. Interestingly enough, NFL players did not appear on the list, with Peyton Manning just barely missing the cutoff. In addition to the athletes mentioned, representatives from the soccer, racing, and tennis worlds appeared.
For all these success stories, there are many more stories of athletes, from all walks of life, that squander their earnings and end up in financial hardship. It's important to note that the career of a professional athlete is pretty short. The average career for MLB players is six years and, NFL players spend less than four on the field. In addition, until recently, there has been little knowledge put out there to try and help these players capitalize on their newfound success, meaning that those not as self-motivated to learn about the financial side of things are open for exploitation.
So, what makes a successful athlete? Look to the most successful one, Michael Jordan. While he was considered by many to be the greatest NBA player to ever hit the court, his earnings as a player were dwarfed by the money he made from endorsements. His career earnings were $93 million. Today, he brings home $100 million a year from his Nike deal alone. Golfer Arnold Palmer, the third-highest earner, originated the concept of athletes endorsing products, but Jordan has taken the concept to its zenith.”