Who is the highest-paid basketball player? It’s not as simple as just comparing the salaries of LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, though. Here’s how they stack up against each other. As a matter of fact, LeBron James has more million-dollar salaries than any other player in the NBA. But how does Lebron James justify his record-breaking salaries?
The Greek Freak averaged 29.5 points per game last season and will look to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a title challenge in 2025-26. If he continues to play at this high level, he might become the first player to make more than $50 million in a season. The next time we see him, he will be 30 years old and will make that much in 2025-26.
The salary cap has doubled since 2010 and according to Forbes, 35 players will earn more than USD$28 million this season. That puts the NBA’s players ahead of the MLB and NFL. In the same list, the top ten earners will be paid USD$714 million this season, up 28% from last year. But why is the cap so high? What’s driving these salaries?
Giannis AntetokounmpO was born in Greece, but his parents are Nigerians. He started his basketball career with Filathlitikos, a semi-professional Greek basketball team. He then signed a contract with CAI Zaragoza, the Spanish basketball team. That contract paid him a reported $2.5 million in 2012 and he has since gone on to become the highest-paid player in the NBA.
Giannis AntetokounmpO has recently signed a five-year contract with the Milwaukee Bucks worth a total of $228.2 million. The contract also includes an opt-out clause at the end of the fourth year. That means Giannis AntetokounmpO can opt out of the deal at any time and stay with the Bucks.
LeBron James is the highest-paid NBA player, with $111.2 million in earnings as of 2022. His earnings from endorsements alone amount to nearly 60 percent of his total revenue. Other notable endorsements include Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats By Dre, Blaze Pizza, and 2K Sports. As of 2022, the average NBA player earns around forty million dollars a year.
In high school, LeBron James appeared on covers of Sports Illustrated and other magazines. It was evident that he was destined to be a star in the NBA. In fact, he was the first African-American to appear on a Vogue cover. Moreover, he is married to his high school sweetheart, Britney Spears. In addition to his lucrative NBA contract, James is also a businessman who has invested in two companies: Tonal and StatusPRO.
Since the start of his professional career, LeBron has been able to build a lucrative business by signing endorsement deals with various companies. The first endorsement deal he signed with Beats by Dre, a sports music company, turned out to be his most lucrative deal to date. After the company sold Beats to Apple, he received royalties worth between $1 million and $30 million. LeBron signed another three-year deal worth $60 million with the Cavs before the 2007-2008 season. His salary rose from $5 million to $13 million annually and to $15 million annually for the 2009-2010 season. By the end of his second NBA contract with Nike, LeBron will have earned more than $428 million in NBA salary.
Despite the fact that LeBron James is not going to play in the 2022 NBA playoffs, he is still the highest-paid basketball player. According to Forbes, he has made $130 million in pre-tax earnings as of August 2022. He is the second highest-paid athlete in the NBA after Lionel Messi, who earned $130 million. LeBron James’ NBA earnings are a testament to his talent and success off the court.
It’s no secret that Stephen Curry is the highest-paid basketball player in the NBA. After signing a five-year, $201 million contract with the Golden State Warriors, he’s set a new record. Curry, a former two-time NBA MVP, will earn a minimum salary of $40 million during the next four seasons. However, Curry’s salary may only be the tip of the iceberg. His off-court work and endorsement deals could ultimately make him even more money.
The NBA has also increased the amount that each player earns. King James, a four-time champion, is currently on pace to earn $111.2 million this season with a series of endorsement deals and partnerships. The same can be said for Stephen Curry, who’s currently second in the list. In addition to his NBA salary, Curry has also made deals with Under Armour, Fortnite, and the FTX cryptocurrency exchange company.
Although Stephen Curry has become the highest-paid basketball player, he has never cared too much about money. In fact, he earned less than his peers early in his career. Rather, he chose to focus on the benefits of the contract and his father, a former NBA player. Ayesha Curry, on the other hand, has branched out into the cooking industry, which has helped her earn more money.
When it comes to salary, Kevin Garnett is among the highest paid players in the NBA. In his final NBA season, he earned $12 million in salary and another $10 million in endorsements. The Minnesota Timberwolves were the first team to draft a player straight out of high school. Over the course of his career, Garnett has made $334.3 million in salary alone. His high salary is nearly $11 million higher than Kobe Bryant’s.
The salaries for the NBA players were first tracked in 1984. Before that season, players were not limited in their salaries. In fact, the first CBA didn’t have a salary cap at all. Until that season, Kevin Garnett was paid more than any other player in the league. In modern dollars, that would be more than $100 million. And if you want to bet on the future of the NBA, Garnett is the highest-paid player in the world.
After his hiatus, Kevin Garnett made a comeback in the NBA and returned to the top of the list. Though his team didn’t make the playoffs, Kevin Garnett’s salary was reportedly the highest of any player in the league. If you have the money to spend on a superstar, why not make it a career? It’s definitely worth it. And, while you’re at it, consider all the other perks that Kevin Garnett enjoys.
Luka Doncic’s deal with the Dallas Mavericks was a steal for both parties. He’ll enter his fourth season on a five-year, $207 million supermax rookie contract, the largest in NBA history. His salary will go up each year. He’ll earn $37 million in 2022-23, $38.6 million in 2023-24, and $47.1 million in 2026-27. His contract is a reflection of his development as a player and franchise cornerstone. He’s already been named a first-time All-NBA selection in 2020-21, and he has scored 36 triple-doubles in his three seasons.
Doncic is the highest-paid basketball player in history at 22 years old. At 18, he helped Slovenia win the gold medal at the EuroBasket tournament. Just a year later, he led Real Madrid to a EuroLeague championship. In the postseason, Doncic averaged 33.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game. His contract includes a player option for the final year.
Luka Doncic is the first rookie on a supermax contract. He has already been named to the NBA first team twice. The new contract includes a player option in his final year. Doncic was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2018 NBA Draft, where he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young. Doncic is also the first player to sign a player option in his rookie deal.
Damian Lillard is a point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers. He played college basketball for the Weber State Wildcats and was drafted sixth overall in the 2012 NBA draft. Lillard has been named to six NBA All-Star teams, including the First Team in 2018 and the Second Team in 2016. He is the second player in Trail Blazers history to earn six All-Star honors. He averages 24.6 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Lillard is a six-time All-Star and has been with the Blazers for his entire professional career. Lillard is one of the most versatile players in the NBA and can break down any defense and make the game-winning play. His scoring ability is legendary, and he can drain three-pointers from amazing distances. He is the all-time leader in scoring for the Blazers and ranks 10th in the NBA for 3 pointers made.
A two-time NBA champion, Lillard was named Finals MVP last year. He previously played for the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors, but has yet to win a championship with the Los Angeles Clippers. Lillard was injured in the playoffs last year and missed the entire 21/22 season. The six-time All-Star has been with Portland since 2012. Damian Lillard is currently earning $39,344,900 for his work this season.