The 15 highest-paid players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) will earn a combined total of more than $1 billion this season, with 34% of that earnings coming from basketball players’ extracurricular activities
As fans browse through various betting sites for insights and odds in sports, the financial landscape of the NBA offers a fascinating parallel. This season, the top 15 highest-paid players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) are set to collectively earn over $1 billion, a figure that illustrates the high stakes and lucrative nature of professional basketball.
The Financial Powerhouse of NBA Players
According to Sportico, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James tops the ranking of the highest-paid NBA players. The American is expected to earn about $128 million this season, which is 25% more than any other NBA player. James’ total career earnings will reach about $1.4 billion by the end of this season – only Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Cristiano Ronaldo have earned more.
Stephen Curry of Golden State Warriors ($101.9 million), Milwaukee Bucks player Yannis Adetokumbo ($90.6 million), Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant ($88.4 million) and Warriors basketball player Klay Thompson ($64.2 million) are also in the top 5. Damian Lillard ($62.6 million), Joel Embiid ($56.6 million), James Harden ($55.6 million), Nikola Jokic ($54.6 million), Paul George ($54.1 million), Bradley Beal ($53.2 million), Jimmy Butler ($52.7 million), Kawai Leonard ($52.6 million), Luka Doncic ($52 million), Zion Williams ($50 million). Cumulatively, players from the top-15 rankings will earn more than $1 billion this season, with 34% of that amount coming from sources outside of basketball.
James and Curry combined to win six NBA MVP titles in eight years between 2008 and 2016 and played 16 games in the NBA Finals, making them the most sought-after players by sponsors. Their estimated earnings off the floor will be $80 million (James) and $50 million (Curry) this season, the highest in sports. Recall, that Golden State’s series against the Lakers last season was the most-watched NBA conference semifinal on American television in 27 years.
Endorsements and Sponsorships
James has contracts with AT&T, Beats, Crypto.com, GMC, and PepsiCo, while Curry has contracts with Callaway, CarMax, Rakuten, and Subway. Both basketball players’ biggest income comes from shoe contracts. LeBron signed a lifetime contract with Nike in 2019 that earns him more than $30 million a year. Curry in April extended his long-term partnership with Under Armour, became president of Curry Brand UA, and received $75 million in restricted stock that will vest in 2029 and 2034.
42 NBA players are expected to earn at least $30 million in salary this season, excluding bonuses, with Curry receiving the most ($51.9 million). By comparison, in the professional American soccer league NFL only 15 players receive more than $30 million, and in the baseball league MLB – 14.
It was previously reported that the salary ceiling for the new NBA season would be at $136 million, $2 million more than projected last September. The luxury tax threshold was $165 million. For the 2022/23 season, the salary ceiling was $123.6 million and the luxury tax threshold was $150.2 million.
The NBA regular season starts Oct. 24 with the Denver Nuggets vs. the Los Angeles Lakers and ends April 14. The reigning NBA champion is Denver.
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