Ok, sure, it’s not Oprah or some billionaire oil tycoon in the Middle East. Hell, in terms of all-time great sports contracts, it’s not Bobby Bonilla money either. But if you’re a resident of Los Angeles and you see Kobe Bean Bryant walking around with a Kool-Aid grin on his face Friday, ask him to borrow $20. If he says he doesn’t have it, just know he’s a damn lie.
Why? Because the two-time Finals MVP will receive a fat ass check from his job tomorrow for the whopping total of $24,363,044.
Credit Kobe’s legal team for structuring the maximum 80% balloon payment as a specific clause in his contract that’s poised to pay him $30,453,805 this season alone. As for the other $6.1M, the Bryant family will have to live check-to-check as Pops earns the remaining portion throughout the season.
Also, as the L.A. Times Eric Pincus’ points out, Kobe’s set to earn another contract after this season; one of next summer’s most controversial questions. The Lakers can offer an extension next summer for as low as $1.4M which Kobe will never accept and as high as $32.7M, which the Lakers have no chance in offering if they actually care about building a contender long after Bean’s time in uniform ends.
However, recovering from Achilles surgery and having Chris Kaman as your starting center suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. And seeing as how Kobe’s been stacking NBA checks since the summer of ’96, he’s probably taking this all in stride. As for the financially-challenged rest of us, I’m guessing if our job handed us a $24,363,044 check on Friday, we’d probably act like this.
Correction: Gasol is the starting center while Kaman is a back-up.