Journalists at ESPN The Magazine gathered information about the best-paid athletes from 182 countries. The research revealed that there are 18 basketball players that are the top earners among athletes in their native countries.
It is worth mentioning that all athletes were sorted by the country of origin and not by country that they represent internationally. For example Luol Deng is presented as Sudanese while he plays for Great Britain national team.
Out of 18 basketball players on the list 17 are playing in NBA and one in Europe thanks to big-spenders Olympiacos.
Eight players are earning more than $10M annually. The top earners are German star Dirk Nowitzki ($17,278,618), Yao Ming of China ($17,700,000), Russian Andrei Kirilenko (17,822,187) and former USA international Tim Duncan born in U.S. Virgin Islands ($18,700,000)
Greek legend Theodoros Papaloukas is the only player outside NBA to make the list with $4,400,000 earned annually.
“Annual Salary” represents only base salary from the most recently completed season or calendar year from each sport, and excludes any other source of compensation, unless otherwise noted. In countries where official salary figures were unavailable, we estimated the number based on information from multiple sources, including leagues, agents, consulates, embassies, sports federations, cultural centers and the U.N. All figures converted to U.S. dollars. Per Capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product), a leading indicator of national wealth, is the market value of a country’s goods and services divided by its population; we used most recently available GDP data for each country.
|Country||Best-Paid Athlete||Team (Competition)||Annual Salary||Per Capita GDP|
|Australia||Andrew Bogut||Milwaukee Bucks||$11,050,000||$47,615|
|China||Yao Ming||Houston Rockets||$17,700,000||$3,769|
|Georgia||Zaza Pachulia||Atlanta Hawks||$4,251,250||$2,522|
|Germany||Dirk Nowitzki||Dallas Mavericks||$17,278,618||$40,528|
|Guadeloupe||Mickael Pietrus||Phoenix Suns||$5,300,000||$7,900|
|Haiti||Samuel Dalembert||Sacramento Kings||$12,200,000||$626|
|Iran||Hamed Haddadi||Memphis Grizzlies||$1,600,000||$4,863|
|Latvia||Andris Biedrins||Golden State Warrios||$9,000,000||$11,505|
|Lithuania||Linas Kleiza||Toronto Raptors||$4,995,000||$11,211|
|Martinique||Rony Turiaf||New York Knicks||$4,000,000||$14,400|
|Russia||Andrei Kirilenko||Utah Jazz||$17,822,187||$8,736|
|Senegal||DeSagana Diop||Charlotte Bobcats||$6,478,600||$1,018|
|Serbia||Peja Stojakovic||Dallas Mavericks||$15,602,138||$5,612|
|Sudan||Luol Deng||Chicago Bulls||$11,355,850||$1,305|
|Tanzania||Hasheem Thabeet||Memphis Grizzlies||$4,793,280||$526|
|Turkey||Hedo Turkoglu||Orlando Magic||$9,800,000||$8,215|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||Tim Duncan||San Antonio Spurs||$18,700,000||$13,660|
Data gathered by Sulaiman Folarin, Jeff Gold, Lizzie Haldane, Adesina O. Koiki, Brandon Lilly, John Mastroberardino, Jason Matloff, Doug McIntyre and Gueorgui Milkov. Special thanks to Ori Cooper, director of IMScouting.
For a complete list of best-paid athletes click here.