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Esports • May 22, 2019

NBA team owner claims 2K League players will earn more than LeBron James

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NBA team owner claims 2K League players will earn more than LeBron James
2K Sports

Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis says in 10 years NBA 2K League players will make more than NBA superstar LeBron James does today.

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Speaking at the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything event, Leonsis made the bold claim that NBA 2K League players will not only make more money than LeBron, but will also be more well-known.

We're still easily in the infancy of the NBA 2K League, which is just in its second season, but there are 21 teams in the league that all are affiliated with NBA teams.

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To put this into context, LeBron James made $35.6 million in his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers. This number doesn't include any other sponsorship he may have, such as shoe deals, clothing lines, etc. 

For the first year of 2K League, first-round picks were paid a base salary of $35,000 for a 6-month contract, with every other player being paid $32,000. 

That means there's still a long way to go if the average player is going to catch LeBron James, let alone lowest paid NBA player.

NBA 2K League
The NBA 2K League has 21 teams.

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“I believe that in 10 years one NBA 2K player will be more well known, popular and better compensated than LeBron James is today," said Leonsis, according to Sport Business. “It’s just math. If you’re in India, you’re not able to see LeBron, you can’t buy tickets and go to the game, you can’t watch it on cable…you can see a couple of clips. These [esports] players are developing [social media] handles, they’re developing personalities, they’re online and anyone can watch and participate.”

The NBA 2K League hasn't caught the world on fire so far with viewership being much lower than both the Call of Duty and Overwatch Leagues on Twitch.

If players are ever going to make as much as LeBron does, viewership will have to have a sharp spike. With the pace things are currently on, it seems like it'd be more likely the league would fold within 10 years rather than players making millions.

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