The Price of “Passion”

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The other night, LeBron was ejected for the first time in his professional career. Which is kind of surprising due to the fact he’s played an entire lifetime. Most technicals and ejections result from a player’s “passion”, right, they get so fired up they come after the ref…or so that is the excuse. Technicals can be subjective at times. Some players and coaches come hard (look at Pop below) and others just stare too long, but I think we can agree that there are obvious techs and ejection; “I know it when I see it” kind of a deal.

The real question that should be asked is the financial penalty for a technical or ejection. Yes, this is the most important question. Not about sportsmanship or the effect an ejection has on the result of a game. Not where fine money goes. Who gives a rats ass. I wanna know what it costs these players.

SB Nation

Piles of Money… JUST HEAPS OF IT

From what I can tell, if a player get a tech in today’s game it will cost him $2K. Walking around money. Spend that in a half a day. That ain’t SH*T. OR it’s a mortgage payment for a $288K house (rate ~3%). Technical fines jumps up after a certain number of techs (looks like it increases by $1K at #5, #10, #16) and there are suspensions after a certain number of techs (You want more details? Go look for it in the CBA or whatever. Boring as hell to read). Beside just technicals in a game, players can get into trouble with a variety of rules and the various types of infractions carry a different weight. Players have to do press conferences, show up to events, not act like a jackass, etc.

Take for instance an ejection, that will costs $2K, an obscene gesture will cost $35K, or a social media rant will cost $10K to $35K, just depends on how stupid the player behaves. If the problem persists players can get hit with a fine. Suspensions are the most costly, resulting in forfeited contract money. It is rare that players get hit with a one time significant fine (looking at you Radmanovic), but imagine getting hit with a $2K fine 10 times a year on top of the silly social media post that shouldn’t have happened. Adds up quick. I thought soda runs were killer…. but maybe that is a good comparison? Hold on to that for later.¬†

In the current NBA landscape, I think of two players synonymous with technicals: “Boogie” Cousins and Draymond “Nut Kicker” Green (does he have a nickname?). Both were in the top five most T’d up players in the 2016-2017 season and are currently one and two on the leaderboard this season.

Soda Runs

Now, you can see that a habit of aggressive and passionate behavior can be costly. The league ratchets the fines up with players like Cousins. LBJ was fined $2K for the before-mentioned tech, nothing more for his ejection; which can only be because he is not a repeat offender. Over his entire career he has been fined $51K. His estimated career contract cash earnings are at almost $234MM. That’s insane. This doesn’t even include endorsements. A $51K fine is nothing. Its 0.02%.

For Boogie, it’s a little different as he’s been fined over $1MM in his career, with¬† estimated career contract cash earnings just under $81MM. His fines make up 1.31% of his cash earnings. That is pretty significant. A million is still a million and this is all due to repeated offenses. He could have totally avoided these fines. Now, I grant that this isn’t like when Gilbert Arenas got mixed up with guns or Joakim Noah violating the drug policy recently (getting suspended cost them millions of dollars). Those resulted in millions of dollars lost. But remember that saying, a penny saved is a penny earned. Or the other popular one, don’t act like a complete fool and you’ll save money. I like that one.

Those numbers may be hard to relate to, so lets make up our own example. First, let’s make it real simple it by using the percentage of earnings LBJ and Cousins gave up to fines above; 0.02% and 1.31% respectively. Actually, lets adjust LeBron’s base to Cousins for our example. You know, the 0.02% (51K/238MM), that one. We will adjust that up to 0.06%. Also, we are also going to use Cousins length of time in the league of nine years for our example and our starting salary is $40K with an increase of $2.5K each year (crushing it!).

By year nine the annual salary will be $60K, thus bringing us to a total career earnings of $450K. Let’s multiple our nine year total earnings by the percentages we found with LBJ and Boogie. And let’s keep it on the gross level, I am not worried about taxes. With me still? Maybe a table would help?

Starting Salary $40K (this may be a little low)
Yearly Increase $2.5K (I believe in you!)
Total Career Earnings at Year Nine  $450K
 Percentage of Earnings  Total Cost of Soda (Fines)
0.06% (You hate Soda)  $270
1.31% (You hate yourself)  $5,892.56

There we go. The table helped me. Made it a little more relatable as well. I currently don’t have a career earning of $80MM…. But really, this shows how smart LeBron really is. Not only does avoiding a tech help the team by not (1) potentially giving up points and (2) potentially missing games due to ejection/suspension, its also financially responsible. I wish I had that kind of discipline. Technicals are like buying soda and candy at the gas station. You don’t really need them, but they feel so good to indulge in it. Sugar is selfish. Its a cancer. It becomes a habit. Same with techs. Boogie, Draymond, Westbrook are undisciplined, sugar seeking, passion needing, technical foul whores!

NO! I will not go get soda today or the next! Wealth creation is also wealth preservation. 

Some other interesting articles. Top 20 players with most techs (spoiler Rasheed isn’t #1). In depth on players, coaches, types of fines, etc.; a little dated but good.

Stats and figures from:

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