Everyone of us watches a boxer get knocked out in 32 seconds and thinks, hey I could do that. Yes, you could, but would they let you? The sad sack boxer and the bench warming NBA nobody get paid lots and lots of money for doing what anyone of the street could do: Nothing.
Then we see these CEO's get paid millions for exceptionally poor performance and we think, hey I could do that. Yes you could, but would they let you? My personal grievance was watching people at my job who were eminently less able than I get paid much more and do a poor job. Hell, I could have done that but they wouldn't let me.
Wages are based on two different things. The position and the performance within that position. I am getting an MBA in hopes of gaining the position. That position is in itself a higher salary regardless of my performance. Granted that if I am really terrible I would eventually lose my position but it doesn't change the fact that I am in a higher pay grade. While my performance in that position is secondary in terms of my salary, it does two things: It sets my pay within the position and ultimately puts me in line for the next position. Rinse and repeat.
Before we lament at the pay of the bench warmer or the poor performing CEO, remember they are not only being paid for performance. They are being paid as much money as is necessary for someone in that position. Think about it this way. First you get paid for being an NBA player, then you get paid for being Michael Jordan.