Four Philadelphia athletes made Fobres’ 2020 list of the highest-earning athletes on the planet. None of them were Bryce Harper.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was the highest-ranked athlete from Philly on the list at No. 9, while Sixers’ teammates Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Al Horford all cracked the list as well. There wasn’t a single Phillie on the list.
Notably, there’s only one MLB player on the entire list: Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw, who checked in at No. 57. Given that Harper appeared on the list a year ago, Forbes appears to be accounting for the reality that baseball will either play a greatly reduced season in 2020 or not have one at all. The best-case scenario is that players are paid a prorated salary for half of the typical 162-game season, and even that feels less than likely at the moment.
Still, the NBA regular season is only ever 82 games and COVID-19 has drastically affected the regular and postseason for the 2019-20 season. Despite that, 34 NBA players appear on the list, including three – LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant – in the top 10. It speaks to the marketing giant that the NBA has become. Of the $88.2 million James will make in 2020, just $28.2 of it will come from his salary as a player. The rest will come in endorsements.
Meanwhile, Kershaw, the only baseball player on the list, will make just $750,000 in endorsements this year. Harper, arguably the most marketable player in the sport, fell off the list. Mike Trout, one of the greatest players that the sport has ever seen, likes to keep to himself, but his play alone should make him one of the biggest faces in the sports world. Baseball continues to have a problem bringing in new fans, and marketing their best players, something that can’t be said about the NBA and NFL.
None of this is to suggest that in one of the most uncertain economic climates in American history that people should feel badly for any professional athletes. But this list is telling about the sport’s present, and concerning when you look forward to the future, especially if there isn’t a 2020 season.
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