NBA Lockout Semantics Meets Statistics 101

Steve Aschburner has a lovely little column on NBA.com looking at the dispute over the NBA's use of "average player salary" to shape lockout discussions. The NBA's average salary is $5.15 million, but at least one agent urges consideration of the league's median salary, which is just $2.33 million. It's a semantic point, but does it have value?

Certainly ... for the union. Half of the NBA makes less than $2.33 million. Half makes more. That's a lot of money, as Aschburner notes, but it's not as much as $5.15 million. Most savvy fans know that some players make upwards of $20 million, and obviously that skews the average upward. If you match that with the median, it shows a huge pay gap between the top and bottom of the league.

As I've argued before, the P.R. game doesn't mean a whole lot for the actual resolution of the lockout; David Stern doesn't need high approval ratings, he just needs to not damage his stars' reputations going forward. As such, the semantic point is more something for writers to quibble about than fans to concern themselves with. But it remains an interesting point.

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