On Tuesday night, when Dirk Nowitzki, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant were supposed to be taking center stage, the NBA player generating the most attention will likely be Kris Humphries, who has averaged an uninspiring 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during a mostly anonymous career.
Not even Humphries can be pleased with this turn of events, as his name has only become a trending term as a result of his pending divorce from reality television star Kim Kardashian.
Due to the NBA lockout, the would-be opening night of the 2011-2012 NBA season is being welcomed by darkened arenas and a frightening paucity of banter between Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. And wall-to-wall Humphries-Kardashian fallout.
Among the key issues still being debated between the warring factions in the NBA Lockout is the split of "Basketball Related Income" (BRI), which includes most revenue streams that franchises create. The league wants a 50-50 split of such earnings but the players are holding at 52.5 percent -- a reduction from the 57 percent they had in the previous iteration of the collective bargaining agreement.
While NBA franchises can parse their earnings into categories like BRI (income from revenue sharing is among things not included), not all of the players have as diverse portfolios. Of course, the top-tier performers rake in hefty sums via endorsements and personal appearances. These guys could likely break down their own finances into basketball related income, as well. But the rank and file of the NBA are far more dependent on their basketball earnings, making them much more amenable to a 50-50 split than their All-Star peers.
Looking at his NBA career and earnings, Humphries would seem to be among those players.
The 26-year-old forward has played for four teams since entering the league as a teenager out of the University of Minnesota by way of the 2004 NBA Draft. A complimentary rebounder on most of those squads, Humphries never averaged more than 20 minutes per game until last season with the New Jersey Nets during what amounted to a break-out year. For all his increased production, though, it was a May engagement to Kardashian that really raised Humphries' profile -- and earning potential.
According to his page on Basketball-Reference, Humphries has earned $16,900,233.00 through his first seven seasons in the NBA. By the standards of most people, Humphries' own BRI is an amazing sum of money. Yet, it may not measure up to his KRI, or Kardashian Related Income.
Despite being married for just 72 days before Kim filed for divorce, Humphries -- who has only played in more than 72 games in a season once -- and his soon-to-be ex-wife raked in a lot of dough. Their marriage ceremony reportedly earned the couple $17.9 million. While the portion of that sum that ultimately ends up in Humphries' bank account (after Kim's cut and the wedding expenses) is unclear, the haul is more than he has reportedly earned while toiling in the Association for the better part of a decade.
The largest chunk of the couple's wedding day earnings came from turning the nuptials into two-part, four-hour TV event that aired on E!. There have been no accounts of the size of the NBATV bid. The reported total of nearly $18 million can be reduced to $250,000 per day of marriage before the impending divorce became public. Under the previous NBA deal, the minimum salary for a rookie for the entire season was $473,604. Humphries' KRI accounted for that equivalent during a long weekend before things went sour in his relationship.
Of course, if you break Humphries' NBA earnings down on a per minute basis then perhaps the NBA pay scale seems just as cushy as tying the knot a Kardashian. Oddly, you need to deal with Lamar Odom in both cases.
Overall, Humphries has seen 6,634 minutes of live action in the NBA. Using the Basketball-Reference figure of $16,900,233.00 total earnings, the 6-foot-9 forward has pulled down about $2,547.52 per minute on the court. By contrast, dividing that $125,000 that he potentially earned per day from the wedding alone shows that Humphries may have only earned $86.81 per minute during his 72 days of marriage to Kim before the divorce announcement.
The flaws in this comparison may be as numerous as the indicators that the entire marriage may have been sham, but perhaps the difficulty in quantifying who earned what by marrying when and rebounding who actually can illustrate how complex the back-room negotiations between the NBA and the players must be.
One of the solutions that has provided the most hope toward bridging the BRI divide is a "band" that fluctuates based on league earnings between the numbers that each party prefers. If there is one lesson to be gleaned from Humphries' coming divorce that can be applied to the NBA Lockout, it might be that a band -- even a wedding band -- cannot permanently connect two sides that just don't see eye to eye.