Sportress of Blogitude

Kobe Bryant to receive $24M in salary Friday, but could pay over $13M in taxes


As stipulated in his contract, Kobe Bryant, who has yet to play this season and may be some time away from doing so, is scheduled to receive a $24.3 million advance on his salary on Friday from the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe is set to make $30.5 million this season, so that amount accounts for 79.7 percent of his total salary. The remaining six-plus million will be paid to Bryant throughout the season.

Not a bad chunk of change to receive in one lump sum, but once Uncle Sam and the State of California are through with him, the amount Kobe will pocket reportedly will be closer to $11 million.

Holy taxes, Black Mamba!

According to a report from ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Kobe is entitled to receive such an enormous amount of salary up-front, but the collective bargaining agreement only allows total advance compensation to be eighty percent of the player’s salary.

But then, even before Kobe can hit up one of those check cashing outlets — unless his bank is open or he has direct deposit — here comes the taxman, here comes the taxman!


Bryant’s total take home of that $24.3 million check, however, is subject to heavy taxes, which could total as much as 55 percent of his salary. That would reduce his take-home pay to closer to $11 million, according to Robert Raiola, a certified public accountant who heads up the sports and entertainment group at FMRTL in Cranford, N.J.

In his tax bracket, Bryant is subject to paying a federal tax at the top rate of 39.6 percent, which would mean $9.6 million will be withheld and given to Uncle Sam. As a California resident, he’s subject to paying an additional 13.3 percent, or $3.2 million, in state taxes. California has the highest state income tax in the United States. The Medicare tax and surcharge would reduce his total take to about $10.9 million, Raiola said.

Bryant will pay so-called “jock taxes” to states in which he plays on the road. But those payments will be credited toward his California income tax.

And here I thought “jock taxes” were what you had to pay at the sporting goods store when you buy a nut cup. Huh.

I wonder if Kobe will react to the news from his accountant the same way that fan in China reacted to seeing the NBA superstar:

I know I would.

Before we feel too bad for Kobe Bryant, it is what it is. You make a lot of money, you pay a lot of taxes. Unless you try to cheat the IRS, which is never a good idea, because if you’re caught, the only person who can help you — from what I’ve learned watching daytime television — is Patrick R. Cox, founder of TaxMasters. And when a person reaches that state of desperate despair, well, things ain’t going too well.