In terms of the highest-paid athletes of all time, it can’t be denied that we usually see the NBA stars dominate the list. The league is really profitable for the great players with the chance it offers to make heavy loads of money. Now, with sport betting site W88, let’s take a look at the top six highest-paid players in the history of the NBA.
6. Kevin Durant ($286 million)
Teams: Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Brooklyn Nets
Highest-paid season: 2019-20 ($38.1 million)
In 2019, Kevin Durant signed a four-year contract that would pay him $164 million to play for with the Brooklyn Nets. In addition to being a Nike athlete, Durant also invested in various startups such as Postmates & the Acorns investing app, which boosted his earning potential. In 2019-20 season, Durant earned $38 million in salary along with $35 million in endorsements.
5. Shaquille O’Neal ($292 million)
Teams: Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers
Highest-paid season: 2004-05 ($27.6 million)
Standing at 7-feet-1 and weighing 325 pounds, Shaq O’Neal dazed opponents with his impressive size and immense skills. He signed with the Orlando Magic the biggest rookie contract in the history of the NBA, worth $41 million over seven years. He then decided to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, which helped him to make unbelievable amounts of money. Having made $1.3 million with the Celtics in his last season, the basketball star ended up earning a total amount of $292,198,327 in almost twenty years with 6 different NBA teams.
4. Chris Paul ($300 million)
Teams: New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets, LA Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder
Highest-paid season: 2019-20 ($41.3 million)
Chris Paul is now playing for the Phoenix Suns in the NBA. Thanks to his great performances on the court, Paul has become one of the highest value athlete brands in the sport of basketball. During his career, the star has signed numerous max contracts as well as commercial deals with many global brands, which have been some of his income sources. His latest contract, worth $160 million over four years, has helped much to inflate his earnings.
3. Kobe Bryant ($328 million)
Teams: Los Angeles Lakers
Highest-paid season: 2013-14 ($30.4 million)
Kobe Bryant was a one-team guy. He spent 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and earned more than $328 million in the process. He didn’t enter free agency as often as other basketball stars like Chris Paul or LeBron James, which was also the only reason his totals aren’t higher. Having won five NBA championships and broken a lot of records, Bryant is considered the most competitive player in the history of the NBA. Perhaps most impressively, Bryant made a large share of his earnings in the later period of his NBA career, signing a three-year contract worth $84 million in 2011 after a two-year contract worth $48 million in 2013.
2. Kevin Garnett ($343 million)
Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics
Highest-paid season: 2003-04 ($28 million)
Kevin Garnett spent more than two decades playing in the NBA. Most of his NBA career saw him perform at an All-Star level, so it is easy to understand why he stands second on this list. Impressively, Garnett topped $20 million in annual earnings seven times during his professional basketball career. When he was just 21 years old, Garnett got one of the richest deals in NBA history at the time: a $123 million six-year extension.
1. LeBron James ($339 million)
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Laker, Miami Heat
Highest-paid season: 2019-20 ($37.4 million)
LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, not to say the best. So, there is no need to wonder why he would top this list. The current Lakers star is currently the highest-paid active NBA player. He will have made more than $424 million by the end of his four-year contract with the Lakers. What’s more, LeBron signed a two-year extension, worth $85 million, with the Los Angeles based giants, which will bring his NBA career’s total earnings to $435 million by 2023. However, the fun fact is that despite being the highest-paid player in the NBA history, James has never got the highest salary in the league.