Much is made of how much professional athletes make. Some (dummies) argue they should make a lot less, others (rightly in some cases) argue they should make a lot more. But what’s usually left out of the conversation is the differentiation between gross and net pay. If you’ve ever worked an actual salaried position in your life, you know those are two vastly different things.
The Raptors’ Kyle Lowry is set to make a ton of money next year. According to the assessment released today by ESPN’s Bobby Marks and human robot Darren Rovell, Lowry is the sixth highest paid player in the league — before taxes. For the 2017-18 season, Lowry will make, on paper, $28,703,704. Folks, this is good money.
But — [cues music] — then the deductions roll in and suddenly Lowry goes from sixth to tenth in terms of net pay. Here’s how the breakdown actually works out:
The picture above provides some concrete visual proof of those dastardly Canadian taxes we’re always hearing about. (Fortunately, those paid taxes go towards exciting and useful things like, you know, universal healthcare, but let’s move on.) In the final analysis, Lowry earns about 42 percent of his actual salary, compared to the next lowest (44 percent for Steph Curry) and then the third lowest (48 percent for Blake Griffin). Math, man, it’ll get you in the end.
As ESPN says in their opening, this is a best estimate. There are special factors here for Lowry, considering exchange rate and the cost of living in Canada versus, say, Minnesota. But we’ll leave that to the accountants. This glance into some of the number crunching that goes into practical NBA salary assessments at least paints a picture of who is making what, and how far an earned dollar actually goes. In that sense, NBA players are just like us.
But really, if we circle back to Lowry, let us not forget: the dude does live in Toronto. You just can’t put a price on that.