LA Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant has vehemently defended his $48.5m contract extension, which he signed earlier this week.
The 35-year-old, who is the fourth-highest scorer in NBA history, believes his wages are the result of supply and demand in modern-day basketball - and revealed that accepting a lower salary would be bowing to public pressure.
"Most of us have aspirations for being businessmen when our playing careers are over," Bryant told Yahoo Sports. "But that starts now. You have to be able to wear both hats. You can't sit up there and say, 'Well, I'm going to take substantially less because there's public pressure, because all of a sudden, if you don't take less, you don't give a crap about winning. That's total bull----.
"I'm very fortunate to be with an organization that understands how to take care of its players, and put a great team out on the floor. They've figured out how to do both.
"Most players in this league don't have that. They get stuck in a predicament – probably intentionally done by the teams – to force them to take less money. Meanwhile, the value of the organization goes through the roof off the backs of their quote, unquote selfless players.
"It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
Kobe's new contract means his career earnings will surpass $328m when his current deal ends in 2016.
Many were surprised that Bryant was handed such a lucrative deal given his recent injury problems. In April he suffered a torn Achilles tendon - and he has yet to feature for the Lakers since.
However, the shooting guard is expected to return to action in the next week or two.