An Unpopular Opinion
Fame follows the money. The development of professional sports in America has been uniquely capitalistic. Once viewed as a collegial extracurricular activity or the stuff of childhood pastime, in days of yore professional athletes required second jobs during the offseason to make ends meet. Sports leagues now generate hundreds of billions of dollars every year domestically across a broad spectrum of platforms and venues. Athletes at the top levels of their sport can earn in excess of 2,000 times the annual salary of a teacher or nurse or factory worker with lucrative endorsements augmenting their contractual wages. What began as a spectacle of human competition has become something else entirely.