Sacramento Kings Offer to Pay Players in Bitcoin

After starting to offer fans everything from tickets to hot dogs in exchange for bitcoin in 2014, the Sacramento Kings are cementing their reputation as one of the most crypto-forward teams in professional sports.

Earlier this week, the organization’s top executive said the team is planning to offer to pay team employees, including their players, in bitcoin.

I’m going to offer everyone in the Kings organization, they can get paid as much of their salary in bitcoin as much as they want, including the players,” Kings co-owner and CEO Vivek Ranadivé said on Clubhouse, according to a tweet from bitcoin enthusiast Neil Jacobs.

Despite what Ranadivé said the franchise plans to do, the collective bargaining agreement between players and the league prohibits NBA teams from paying players in cryptocurrency or any method other than cash via live check or direct deposit, Front Office Sports reports.

When reached for comment by CoinDesk, fellow NBA team owner Mark Cuban scoffed at Sacramento’s plan to pay out bitcoin rather than attempt to collect it.

“Any player can convert their income to any crypto they choose,” Cuban told CoinDesk via email. “Paying in BTC or any crypto doesn’t really do anything. I would rather keep my BTC.”

The Mavericks started accepting bitcoin as a payment method in 2019 and Cuban announced last month that the Mavs would become the first pro team to accept dogecoin, a meme-referencing cryptocurrency that started as a joke but has gained influence due to prominent supporters like Cuban and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

“The Mavericks have decided to accept dogecoin as payment for Mavs tickets and merchandise for one very important, earth-shattering reason, because we can,” Cuban said in a press release. “Because we can, we have chosen to do so. We have chosen to do so because sometimes in business you have to do things that are fun, engaging and hopefully generate a lot of PR. So we will take Dogecoin, today, tomorrow and possibly forever more. For those of you who would like to learn more about dogecoin we strongly encourage you to talk to your teenagers who are on tik tok and ask them about it. They will be able to explain it all to you.”

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