Los Angeles, commonly known as the City of the Angels, is the second largest city in the United States. Home to many A-list celebrities and known worldwide for its entertainment industry, the city boasts six professional sports teams, yet hasn’t had an NFL franchise since the departure of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1995. With an almost perfect climate, rich history, and plenty of places to party down, LA is a mecca for the young, rich, and reckless.
With all this money circulating the city, it’s no wonder why LA has some of the highest paid athletes in all four of the major sports. In addition to having to pay out huge salaries, teams are also always improving amenities (there is a McDonalds and a bar inside the Staples Center!). Here is a list of the top 10 highest-paid athletes that hail from the City of the Angels for the 2013-14 seasons.
10. Albert Pujols (Angels) – First Baseman – 2013 Salary: $16 Million
Albert Pujols signed a 10-year/$240 million deal with the Angels in the 2011 offseason after becoming a free agent from the St. Louis Cardinals. After coming to LA, Pujols has failed to bat over .300 in either season, and in 2013, he played in just 99 games due to a foot injury. While he is currently the 10th highest-paid athlete in LA, he is slated to make $23 million in 2014, which will place him within the top 5.
9. Jered Weaver (Angels) – Pitcher – 2013 Salary: $16.2 Million
Drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 2004 Amateur Draft, Jered Weaver has posted a record of 113-60 for the club with an ERA of 3.24 in his 9 seasons. In 2012, Weaver signed a 5 year/$85 million contract to remain with the Angels until 2016. Weaver made it to the All-Star Game each season from 2010-2012 but has failed to make an appearance since signing his contract extension.
8. Blake Griffin (Clippers) – Forward – 2013 Salary: $16.4 Million
The 6’10 Blake Griffin was drafted with the first overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft out of the University of Oklahoma by the Clippers. Griffin has made the All-Star Game three times in his career and is notably famous for his slam-dunks in the paint, leading to the Clippers being known as “Lob-City”. He has averaged at least 18 points per game every season he has been in the league and signed a 5-year extension in 2012 to remain a Clipper until 2018. Griffin is notably famous for his 2011 NBA Dunk Contest title where he jumped over a Kia Optima.
7. Josh Hamilton (Angels) – Outfielder – 2013 Salary: $17.4 Million
Josh Hamilton was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with the first overall pick in the 1999 Amateur Draft as a “can’t miss” prospect out of Raleigh, North Carolina. After battling years of drug abuse, Major League Baseball banned him for three full seasons and he was eventually traded to the Texas Rangers. While playing for Texas, Hamilton became a five-time All-Star and the won the AL MVP in 2010. He signed a 5-year/$125 million deal with the Angels in 2012 and played in 151 games in 2013 while batting .250 with just 21 home runs, half of what he hit the previous season with Texas. He is the only active player to have ever hit four home runs in a game, a feat he accomplished on May 8, 2012 against the Baltimore Orioles.
6. Chris Paul (Clippers) – Point Guard – 2013 Salary: $18.6 Million
After being drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2005, CP3 signed with the Clippers in 2011 and has made every All-Star Game since the 2008 season. In July 2013, Paul signed a whopping $107 million contract for 5 years after averaging nearly 10 assists and over 15 points per game every year he has been in the league. In his last two playoff appearances, Paul has averaged over 20 points per game through 17 games.
5. Zach Greinke (Dodgers) – Pitcher – 2013 Salary: $19 Million
After playing for the Kansas City Royals from 2004-2010, Zack Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010 and then to the Angels in 2012. He became a free agent after the season and was signed by the Dodgers in 2012 to a 6 year/$159 million contract. In his first year with the Dodgers, Greinke posted a 15-4 record with an ERA of just 2.63. Greinke’s only All-Star Game appearance came in 2009 while with the Royals, the same year he won the AL Cy Young Award.
4. Pau Gasol (Lakers) – Center – 2013 Salary: $19.25 Million
The 7-foot-tall center has been in the league for 12 years, the last 6 being with the Lakers. Pau Gasol was traded to the Lakers in 2008 along with a 2010 second-round draft pick in exchange for three players (including Kwame Brown) and the rights to his brother, Marc. After winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2001, Gasol has gone on to win two silver medals with the Spanish national basketball team, made it to the All-Star Game four times, and won NBA Championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.
3. Matt Kemp (Dodgers) – Centerfielder – 2013 Salary: $21 Million
Kemp was drafted by the Dodgers in the 2003 Amateur Draft although he didn’t play in the big leagues until 2006 at the age of 21. He has a career .293 batting average and in 2011, Kemp stole 40 bases while knocking in 126 runs, leading him to his first All-Star Game appearance and second Golden Glove Award. Since his breakout season in 2011, Kemp has played just 179 games while suffering through various injuries. Don’t feel too bad though, he had a brief relationship with Pop star Rihanna and has been rumored to be dating Khole Kardashian most recently.
2. Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers) – First Baseman – 2013 Salary: $21.8 Million
Gonzo has been in the league since 2000 when he was drafted first overall in the 2000 Amateur Draft by the Florida Marlins. In 2012, Adrian Gonzalez was traded by the Red Sox along with Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto in exchange James Loney and two other players. After making it to the All-Star Game every year from 2008-2011, Gonzalez has failed to make an appearance since joining the Dodgers. He is slated to make $21 million per year until 2018 with the Red Sox paying $3.9 million of his salary for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons.
1. Kobe Bryant (Lakers) – Shooting Guard – 2013 Salary: $30 Million
The “Black Mamba” has come a long way since being drafted 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. After being traded to the Lakers in exchange for Vlade Divac in 1996, Kobe Bryant has made it to the All-Star Game 15 times, made the All-NBA team numerous times, won 5 championships and became the NBA Finals MVP in 2009 and 2010. The 2007-08 MVP is worth an estimated $200 million and is fourth on the NBA’s all-time points list. Since 2000, Kobe has failed to average at least 25 points per game just two times; in 2000 when he averaged 22.5 and 2004 in which he averaged 24. With a resume like that, I would say he certainly deserves the title of being the highest-paid athlete in the City of the Angels.
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