James Harden of the Houston Rockets signed a huge contract this summer to play basketball next year. His 2017-18 salary will be $28,299,399.00 according to the hoopshype.com web site.

Harden’s total package was a record, but LeBron James will be making more for one season, as he’s listed at $33,285,709.00 That’s just to play basketball, of course, and that doesn’t count all the endorsements these players get.

Outrageous? Possibly, but I’m sure these NBA clubs wouldn’t be paying them that kind of money if they weren’t worth it. Plus, I’m not sure you could even put a dollar figure on what LeBron James is worth to not only the Cavaliers, but the city of Cleveland.

With that in mind, it caught my interest to see a list of some of the highest paid entertainers in a recent newspaper article. Going down the list, some of them are making a lot more money than the athletes, and I wonder if they’re any more worthy?

For example, did you know “Dr. Phil” McGraw makes $79 million dollars a year? I’ve seen his show and I think I could do that. People complain about problems and he gives them lame advice. Not that tough.

I’m sure my doctor, Delmas Bolin, makes a lot less money and he could do the same thing. He’s a brilliant doctor and he’s a funny guy. I’d much rather watch him than Dr. Phil.

While Dr. Bolin could fill in for Dr. Phil, I know he couldn’t do the things LeBron James can do on a basketball court. And, Dr. Bolin couldn’t pack an arena every night with fans paying big money prices for seats. But he could fill in for Phil.

Also high on the list was Judith Sheindlin, or “Judge Judy.” She brings in $47 million every year to get on TV and berate idiots who are trying to sue friends and family for a couple hundred dollars. Don’t tell me the Honorable Chris Clemens of Salem couldn’t do the same thing, and he’s even funny. Chris spoke at the investiture for Judge Scott Geddes in the spring and he had ‘em rolling the floor laughing.

And again, while Chris could fill in for Judge Judy on a minute’s notice, there’s no way he could beat Rory McIroy on the golf course. Last year McIlroy won 16 million playing professional golf, or about 31 million less than Judy made on TV for calling idiots what they are.

I can go down the list. Ellen DeGeneres, at $77 million a year, is making $30 million more than Andrew Luck. What kind of pass can she make? We’ll leave well enough alone there.

Here’s a couple of my favorites. Ryan Seacrest is making $58 million a year. For years I’d watch American Idol with my wife and point out that this guy was stealing money. He doesn’t really do anything but cash checks, and he’s making more money than Dale, Jr. and Jimmy Johnson combined, who put their lives on the line every weekend.

Kim Kardashian West is pulling down $45 million a year, and what does she do? She’s married to a “singer” I don’t care for, but what else does she do? She’s a “personality,” which is another way of saying she gets paid for being “hot.” Nice work if you can get it.

Sure, the numbers might jump out at you when these professional athletes sign the big contracts, but they’re doing something few can do and many will pay to watch. School teachers claim to be underpaid, and certainly they have a very important place in society. However, if people paid $500 to sit at the back of the class and watch them teach they’d make a lot more money. And when is the last time you saw a “Math Class” jersey for sale?

If I could back and do it over again I’d want to be like Ryan Seacrest. What do you study in school to get that job?

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