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Isiah Thomas thinks LeBron and Kevin Durant deserve more respect for the amount of money they made for the NBA

Thomas believes Durant and LeBron have taken the NBA to another level and don't get enough credit for their contribution
Isiah Thomas & LeBron James & Kevin Durant

Isiah Thomas & Kevin Durant & LeBron James

NBA as a league is growing its popularity rapidly, especially worldwide, which can be seen through the amount of international talent that is now in the NBA, with over 30 percent of players coming from abroad. When looking back at the expansion of the NBA, the first significant step was during the 80s when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird saved the league. Then the popularity of Michael Jordan helped the NBA to go global, which meant more revenue and the arrival of international talent. The guys that came after Jordan helped further popularize the NBA, and according to former NBA player Isiah Thomas, the generation that we are seeing right now with LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the ones that really took the NBA to heights nobody ever imagined it could reach. 

Thomas believes LeBron & KD took the league to another level

In a recent interview for the Pivot Podcast, Thomas shares how Michael Jordan was the key to the league's popularity, which meant more money for everyone else. Jordan's impact was incredible, and it inspired kids across the entire United States and the world, for that matter, to try and become the same player as Jordan, which meant more revenue for the NBA alongside additional exposure and talent. 

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The impact LeBron James and Kevin Durant have in today's age is equivalent to the one Jordan had, and Thomas believes they are not getting enough respect for their accomplishment in elevating the NBA to a genuinely global league. These things can be easily measured in total revenue, and the money teams and players are making nowadays, making them the wealthiest out of all major sports in the United States and even in the world, for that matter. 

"LeBron James and Michael Jordan made a lot of money for this league, the only two players who've ever done this. What Michael Jordan has done and now what LeBron James has done. The money that these two guys have made for the NBA, what LeBron James has done, and the money he's made for the NBA, I don't know if it will ever be done again. The guy is making 40 million a year. This group when it's all said and done, they don't want to give them the credit now, but when LeBron James and Kevin Durant and all of them walk out of the door and when you look back at what they just did compared to what my generation did, man these guys have taken it to a place none of us could ever imagine, and they don't get any credit for it."

The NBA is doing a great job at marketing and expanding it's presence

Everything Thomas said makes absolute sense, and these guys really took the league to another level, but in reality, it's not just the players that are important here, even though their impact is the greatest. The NBA has, in fact, done a great job marketing the league abroad and expanding on markets that seemed impossible several decades ago. They understood basketball is a global sport played in numerous countries around the world, so they decided to capitalize on it as much as possible. Obviously, having marketable and great players helps, and they are the driving force behind that success. 

Even now, when LeBron, Durant, and Curry only have a few years left in the league, the NBA is in great hands, with some of the younger guys now asserting themselves as superstars. Players are making more money than ever, and this trend won't stop anytime soon. They should thank the guys and generations that came before them for making this process happen and a lot of things much easier than they were only a couple of decades ago when for example, Thomas played in the NBA. 

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