CNNMoney ran a fantastic infographic, comparing one minute in salaries of various people.

You don’t think of a minute as very much, in terms of one’s career. But for guys like Kobe Bryant, a minute is a grotesque amount of money.

It’s almost on a scale beyond that of anything we know, essentially breaking the visualization as it goes.

And you really get a taste for salary differentials when you see Kobe stacked beside a doctor, what’s considered a pretty decent-paying job.

Or put differently, Kobe’s salary is worth about 1,355 minimum wage employees.

Of course, for the full effect, you should watch the animated version. Check it out here.

Infographic: 60 Seconds Of Kobe Bryant’s Salary Vs. A School Teacher's

How much does one of the NBA’s biggest stars make in a minute, compared to someone we trust with our childrens’ future? You don’t even want to know.

Every minute, Kobe Bryant makes $162.55. By comparison, a family doctor—what most of us consider a decent occupation!—makes $1.35. In that same amount of time, an elementary teacher makes $0.43 (yes, forty three cents). And a minimum-wage worker pulls in just over a dime—a mere $0.12.

For CNNMoney, designer Bård Edlund created a fantastic animation to visualize this disparity. But rather than turning to stacks of gold or even bar graphs, Edlund rendered the data in circles. Which may not sound all that radical—but in data visualization, the area (or value) of circles can be difficult to compare.

“For designers, there are traps to avoid, like scaling [circles] by diameter instead of area, which results in wildly incorrect representations,” Edlund tells Co.Design. “But the germ of an idea for this piece was the image of a clock that grows as the hand rotates…I was intrigued by the simplicity of that image and wanted to see if I could pursue it in a way that didn’t get confusing. I think the result has a kind of quiet urgency to it.”

It’s true. The circles create an almost subconscious tension, especially as Bryant’s salary breaks free of the rectangular grid as if it’s gone nuclear on the competition.

“The bounding boxes set up an expectation: Here are the areas for each data point, neatly organized in a grid,” Edlund explains. “When one of the circles grows past its boundary already by the 8 second mark, I think it drives the disparity home—the boxes actually help you compare the circle sizes, because they provide another frame of reference.”

But before you get too down on Bryant, keep in mind: His $150 million(ish) in assets are nothing compared to the billionaire club. For them, we’re going to need a bigger screen.

Watch the visualization here.

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6 Comments

  • Wh Thompson

    I think you're forgetting that his salary is a reflection of the money that he earns as an athlete and a public figure for the NBA and the Lakers franchise. So before you say that he is overpaid remember that he most likely earns more money for the NBA than what he gets paid. So from an economic standpoint his contributions to the NBA organization and Lakers franchise justify his salary very well.

  • Colin

    While someone like Kobe is a big enough name that he will have endorsement opportunities for years to come, a major point that people overlook in athletes is that their career ends. If they are lucky they can make money playing into their late 30s. They have dedicated their lives to something that provides them with nothing for the second half of their life.

    Yes, the salaries are outlandish, but there are countless factors that are completely ignored.

  • jmco

    Nice animated infographic design but, it would be even more valuable to let the user choose industries to compare and compare it to other things, like the GDP of some countries compared to various sports stars and CEOs.

    Here is an even more mind blowing and better animation on the same issues.
    http://mashable.com/2013/03/02...

  • Paulst

    This sort of data, removed from any other salient points, just comes across as needlessly agit-prop. 

    OK, Kobe Bryant makes a large amount of money. He also is very talented at what he does. He also surpassed the insanely high failure rate to become a professional basketball player. That's years of practice, physical training and learning. Just like a doctor or any other profession, he's investing a lot of time and effort in an even riskier profession and his salary is directly tied to high levels of performance. 

    Can the same be said for the average minimum wage worker, or a teacher?

  • Al

    Are you saying that teachers don't invest time and effort in a risky profession? The risks are different types (drain, burnout and depending on the school risk of violence rather than competitive pressure) - but I don't understand why you would choose teachers as a foil here. I don't know why it seems to have become the norm for people defending huge levels of income inequality to also attack teachers.

    Also, your point would be more constructive if you suggested some of the other salient points and how they could be worked into a graphic like this. Failure rate is an interesting one - it would be interesting to see relationships between income and failure rate by profession, or, the variability within each profession - each profession as a stack of circles from highest paid to lowest, for example - but I doubt any correlation would be neat. What else?

  • Danny Wadeson

    I hate over-inflated salaries as much as the next guy but it's hardly old news. Of course the whole thing is largely crooked and aside from a crop of disproportionately highly paid stars, top-flight sports economies benefit the shareholders and cripple the fans.  

    I'm British and there's a system problem on a similar scale in the Premier League where life-long fans and supporters are being priced out of stadiums.  It's obscene that we live in a world, and culture, where people can earn so much and do little with it whilst the pillars of society like teachers and doctors face cuts seemingly every other week.  

    Now, if every over-paid sports star became a philanthropist or set up foundations....