*Kansas State head basketball coach Frank Martin says he's pretty sure his freshman Michael Beasley is turning pro, speculating that he's worth about $100 million in salary and endorsement money. Is Martin right? Well, if Beasley is the first pick in June's NBA draft, I've calculated he'll get a guaranteed salary from a team worth $15.5 million, with a fourth year option bringing it to $21.4 million.
But how about that shoe contract? I was told Nike paid Kevin Durant about $50 million and my initial thought was I'm not sure how any of the guys in this year's class -- Beasley, O.J. Mayo or Derrick Rose -- could get that high, but things changed when I spoke to shoe guru Sonny Vaccaro. "Nike, with its Converse brand, and Adidas, with its Reebok brand, are firmly in the game, but I think it's a new group of guys that are hoping to make an impact that could really drive the dollars up here." Vaccaro wouldn't name those specific competitors, but one could speculate it might be Pony and Under Armour.
*Speaking ofUnder Armour , its CEO Kevin Plank has slashed his 2008 salary from $500,000 to $26,000 his salary from 1996, the year he started the company. Plank made more than $1.5 million in 2007 after making a $1 million bonus on top of his $500,000 salary. Plank's salary will now be tied more to the company's performance.
My take? The truth is it's still symbolic because he still owns so much of the company and can cash out any time he wants. Just do me a favor. And this is just my take. Don't kill the guy the next time he cashes out. When he cashed a little bit last year, he was killed because people saw it as a sign of him giving up on his company.
Give the guy a break. He invented Under Armour. He deserves to cash out to the tune of a couple hundred million in the next couple years. What's amazing to me about Plank, having spent a good deal of time around him, is how much he still feels he needs and wants to be a part of this business. This business is his truly his life. He could totally ride off into the sunset right now and I can't see him doing that for a good while.
*The New York Times noted that the state of the economy and the credit crisis has slowed down the plans of Nets owner Bruce Ratner's $4 billion real estate project in Brooklyn though the Nets arena is Brooklyn is proceeding with its plan to be ready as soon as 2010. I have no inside knowledge whatsoever, but I'm making a prediction right now. The first season the Nets will play in that arena will be the 2011-2012 season. If that's true, Ratner would have owned the team for nearly seven years before having seen his dream of having the Nets in Brooklyn realized.
*In looking at the NBA's jersey list yesterday, I started to wonder how many players like Tracy McGrady had taken on the Number 1. So I went through every NBA roster and without counting Chris Andersen, who hasn't played a minute, counted 19 players, who now wear that number. That has to be an all time high. I asked the NBA to tell me how many players wore that number 10 years ago and they came up with 11. Here are the guys that wear it today: Josh Childress, Derek Anderson, Daniel Gibson, J.R. Smith, Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, Tracy McGrady, Ike Diogu, Smush Parker, Kyle Lowry, Dorell Wright, Rashad McCants, Marcus Williams, Maurice Evans, Samuel Dalembert, Amare Stoudamire, Jarrett Jack, Primoz Brezec and Nick Young.
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