NBA contracts don’t just involve millions of dollars; they also have clauses that aim to incentivize player performance. The term “player performance” is a fairly subjective matter. And so, NBA teams have come up with provisions that may seem ridiculous at first glance and in hindsight.
5. Zion Williamson Weight Clause
Zion Williamson signed a five-year, $193 million extension with the New Orleans Pelicans late last month. This amount could increase to 231 million dollars if the attacker respects the clause of weight included in his agreement. The clause requires Williamson to weigh in regularly. The sum of his weight and body fat percentage must be less than 295 to win the maximum amount of his bid.
The clause is weird not because the Pelicans are telling Zion to cut back on the New Orleans kitchen. Additionally, players like Mario Chalmers and Glen Davis also had similar weight and fitness clauses in their contracts.
What makes Williamson’s weight clause odd is that 295 seems like a disproportionate number considering his height. For comparison, LeBron James is 6’8 and weighs 250 pounds. Ideally, since Williamson is about two inches shorter, he should weigh less than James. 295 appears to be a response to the rumor that Williamson weighed 300 pounds in his spare time. It doesn’t look like a number generated by in-depth study.
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4. Magic Johnson, $25 million, 25
Magic Johnson’s 1984 contract worth $25 million over 25 years seems like a marketing stunt and an act of public gratitude more than anything. There’s a thing called inflation that means $1 million in 1984 won’t be worth $1 million in 2009. The goal of the Lakers organization was basically to secure Johnson for life and thank him for his service.
No, the Lakers didn’t rip off Magic. In 1992, then-Lakers owner Jerry Buss offered him $19.66 million over three years, including a lump sum payment of $14.66 million for the 1994–95 season. Magic didn’t play in the 94-95 season due to his HIV diagnosis, but he still got the money.
3. Steve Novak and dog hair
During Steve Novak’s stint with the New York Knicks, his contract included a dog clause. The man is allergic to dogs. While there are no clear reports on the severity of his allergy, the fact that the Knicks have banned him from owning one suggests that it is quite extreme. If the Knicks ever found out he owned a dog, he would be slapped with a $100,000 fine which would be donated to an animal charity.
2. Michael Jordan’s love for the game
Michael Jordan’s love of the game clause basically stated that he could play ball whenever and wherever he wanted. Jordan might stop by a random gym and bully some noobs or a random park to test out their chain nets.
Given Jordan’s fame and stature as the greatest of them all, it makes sense to limit his activity during the season. An injury could not only affect his team, but also the popularity rating of the entire league. But Jordan knew better. He didn’t want to be a caged animal under the watchful eyes of the world. He is at peace when he plays the game. And he wants to play it as much as he can.
1. Bill Walton wants his dose of Bruce Springsteen
Bill Walton’s contract with the San Diego Clippers was set at $7 million for seven years. He also included the most interesting clause in NBA history: He wanted eight tickets to each of Bruce Springsteen’s seven sold-out shows at Sports Arena in late October.
He had good reason to make such a request. The tickets went up to $200 each at that time. And Walton made it clear he wanted the team to help him acquire the Golden Tickets. He will pay them at face value.
The team accepted. Maybe they figured if Walton got his fix of Springsteen then he would propel them to the title, or at least make them a contender. Unfortunately, Walton only played 14 games in his first season with the Clippers. They also never reached the playoffs. At least they have earned a reputation as a team willing to accede to a star player’s demands.