Tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios slammed Kyle Kuzma's large new NBA contract despite Kuzma earning fair market value, underscoring the salary gap between sports. (Carine06 / Wikimedia)

Tennis Star Nick Kyrgios Rips Kyle Kuzma’s Contract, Igniting Sport Pay Debate

Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios recently took aim at NBA forward Kyle Kuzma’s massive new $102 million contract extension with the Washington Wizards.

As quoted in a profile by The Athletic’s Matthew Futterman, Kyrgios expressed disbelief that “a moderately talented NBA player such as Kyle Kuzma” could earn so much.

“He doesn’t even understand how just a moderately talented NBA player such as Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards could sign a four-year contract this summer worth $100 million,” Futterman wrote. “Nearly as much as Roger Federer earned in prize money ($130 million) during his entire career.”

“He’s not even a top 50 player,” Kyrgios stated bluntly.

While Kuzma isn’t regarded as one of the NBA’s very best players, as the 55th highest paid in the league, he’s compensated appropriately for his production and role.

Essentially, Kuzma earns his market value – no more, no less – based on basketball economics. The NBA as a whole far outpaces tennis for player salaries. Kyrgios’ real gripe seems to be with the pay structure in men’s tennis, not Kuzma specifically.

“If Kyrgios seriously has a gripe with the pay differences then his gripe should be with ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals),” Gage Sheets of Inside The Wizards wrote. “Or maybe Kyrgios should have learned to dunk a basketball instead of returning serves.”

Still, taking shots at Kuzma appears misguided.

In the end, Kuzma cashed in fairly based on his value under the NBA’s lucrative deals, while Kyrgios’ outrage perhaps highlights how tennis trails basketball salaries due to structural economics.