Taxes and Athletic Performance: Why NBA Players Perform Better in Low-Tax States

22 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2023 Last revised: 17 Aug 2023

See all articles by Michael Conklin

Michael Conklin

Angelo State University - Business Law; Texas A&M University School of Law

Jordan Daniel

Angelo State University

Date Written: 2023


Game locations can make a significant difference on a player’s after-tax earnings. And under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, this disparity has increased. Extensive research exists regarding state tax rates and professional athletes. These studies conclusively show that athletes consider state tax rates when considering which team to join; that teams in high-tax states are therefore at a disadvantage in acquiring talent; and that because of this disadvantage, these high-tax teams underperform when compared to teams in low- and no-tax states. However, no study has been conducted to measure how the various different state tax rates experienced by professional athletes in their away games affect athletic performance. This first-of-its kind study fills this gap in the research by finding that NBA players averaged significantly higher free-throw percentages in away games at no-tax states compared to high-tax states.

This finding provides empirical support for numerous topics that were previously discussed only theoretically. This invites future research into areas such as the far-reaching implications of tax policy, significance of sports psychologists, the importance of addressing mental states in athletes external to their past athletic performance, and the importance of team cohesion. Furthermore, the effects of mental states are likely applicable to the corporate world as well. Therefore, this study invites future research into how mental states in general and state tax rates specifically might affect workplace performance, including collegiality, risk adverseness, discriminatory behaviors, and ethical corporate conduct. These issues are of increased importance in modern corporate America, where the ability of workers to telecommute is rapidly increasing.

Keywords: Sports psychology, jock tax, taxation, athletic performance, state tax rates

Suggested Citation

Conklin, Michael and Daniel, Jordan, Taxes and Athletic Performance: Why NBA Players Perform Better in Low-Tax States ( 2023). Michael Conklin, Taxes and Athletic Performance: Why NBA Players Perform Better in Low-Tax States, ___ HOUS. BUS. & TAX L. J. ___ (forthcoming 2023)., Available at SSRN: or

Michael Conklin (Contact Author)

Angelo State University - Business Law ( email )

United States

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

Tarrant County
United States

Jordan Daniel

Angelo State University

2601 W. Avenue N
San Angelo, TX 76909
United States

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