Stephen A. Smith’s Annual Salary Blows Away Most of the Bulls Roster

Getty Stephen A. Smith

Like most athletes in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls roster is paid well, but most of their salaries pale in comparison to ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith.

The man who is arguably the king of daytime sports talk on television and social media platforms is paid very well by the network, per a recent tweet from The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch.

Smith’s confidence and exposure puts some fans off, but there is no questioning his impact and influence in the sports world. As Deitsch explains in a follow-up tweet, organizations will only pay someone what they are worth to them. So you best believe there are metrics tied directly to Smith’s impact on traffic that have ESPN, and other networks convinced he is worth every penny they pay him to stir the pot, and to discuss the ingredients.

Comparing Smith’s Annual Salary to the Bulls Roster

For reference, here is a look at the Bulls player salaries for this past season. As you can see, only Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine and Thaddeus Young had annual salaries above what Smith reportedly earns per year from ESPN.

Also consider, the reported ESPN payday for Smith is just a portion of his income. Smith is also on Sirius XM.

Player 2020-21
Nikola Vučević $26,000,000
Zach LaVine $19,500,000
Thaddeus Young $13,545,000
Tomáš Satoranský $10,000,000
Al-Farouq Aminu $9,720,900
Cristiano Felício $7,529,020
Patrick Williams $7,068,360
Lauri Markkanen $6,731,508
Coby White $5,572,680
Daniel Theis $5,000,000
Garrett Temple $4,767,000
Denzel Valentine $4,642,800
Troy Brown Jr. $3,372,840
Ryan Arcidiacono $3,000,000
Javonte Green $1,517,981
Devon Dotson
Adam Mokoka

It’s easy to overlook how highly paid the people are who sit at the top of the broadcast journalism field.

Smith’s Latest Takes

Most recently, Smith sat down with former UFC champion Conor McGregor ahead of his fight with Dustin Poirier on Saturday night. It was an explosive interview as McGregor was back in rare form in when it comes to pre-fight hype.

Smith’s placement in combat sports has often been debated as it seems outside of his primary swim lane. Smith drew criticism back in February for his comments on women in combat sports.

Smith said he wouldn’t support any legislative that prevented women from competing in combat sports, but he did say it was something he didn’t have a taste for watching “women punch each other in the face.”

Where I jump off the bandwagon is when they try to engage physically. For example, I don’t ever want to see a woman boxing a man. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see a woman in the UFC fighting a man even though there are some women out there that’ll kick a dude’s butt. We get all that. When I think about pugilistic sports, I don’t like seeing women involved in that at all. I just don’t like it. I wouldn’t promote legislating laws to prohibit them from doing so, but I don’t want to see women punching each other in the face. I don’t want to see women fighting in the octagon and stuff like that, but that’s just me. What I would adamantly be against is them fighting men. I don’t think that’s cool. Plus, you don’t ever want to give men license to believe that it’s all right to be physical with a woman, to be quite honest with you. You don’t want to do that.

Smith drew the ire of several fighters and others in the combat sports community, which is nothing new to him. I guess it is all in a day’s work when you’re cashing checks as large as the ones Smith gets from his employers.

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