Basketball players among best-paid athletes

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.

CountryBest-Paid AthleteTeam (Competition)Annual SalaryPer Capita GDP
AustraliaAndrew BogutMilwaukee Bucks$11,050,000$47,615
ChinaYao MingHouston Rockets$17,700,000$3,769
GeorgiaZaza PachuliaAtlanta Hawks$4,251,250$2,522
GermanyDirk NowitzkiDallas Mavericks$17,278,618$40,528
GreeceTheo PapaloukasOlympiacos$4,400,000$29,006
GuadeloupeMickael PietrusPhoenix Suns$5,300,000$7,900
HaitiSamuel DalembertSacramento Kings$12,200,000$626
IranHamed HaddadiMemphis Grizzlies$1,600,000$4,863
LatviaAndris BiedrinsGolden State Warrios$9,000,000$11,505
LithuaniaLinas KleizaToronto Raptors$4,995,000$11,211
MartiniqueRony TuriafNew York Knicks$4,000,000$14,400
RussiaAndrei KirilenkoUtah Jazz$17,822,187$8,736
SenegalDeSagana DiopCharlotte Bobcats$6,478,600$1,018
SerbiaPeja StojakovicDallas Mavericks$15,602,138$5,612
SudanLuol DengChicago Bulls$11,355,850$1,305
TanzaniaHasheem ThabeetMemphis Grizzlies$4,793,280$526
TurkeyHedo TurkogluOrlando Magic$9,800,000$8,215
U.S. Virgin IslandsTim DuncanSan 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.