Top Earning NBA Players Today

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Not every sport can promise millions of dollars to your bank account. Collegiate wrestling, track and field, and other unknown sports leave high caliber athletes with no money even if they reached the pinnacle of their respective disciplines.

However, basketball is in a different league. According to Forbes Magazine, two of their top five highest paid athletes came from the NBA. The sport of basketball is a lucrative source of income that once you hit the NBA, you can expect great wealth. Apart from the fact that they are earning from their contracts, endorsements are another.

According to the latest statistic, the average contract within the National Basketball Association is $3.4 million. As for the median salary of NBA players, it is $1.5 million. If you are going to compare the salaries of the highest paid athletes from different sports, you will see an NBA player on these lists every now and then. So who are the highest earners NBA players today?

#5 Kevin Durant ($29.7 M)

The 5th spot for highest paid NBA athletes for this season goes to 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant. Known for his perimeter plays, and quick ball handling skills, KD as he is being called by fans and peers is a force to be reckoned with. Kevin Durant earned around $29.7 million total this year. He is in his second year in Oklahoma for an $85 million deal. As for the endorsements that he received, most of the $13 million come from Nike. In fact, looking at the bulk of his income, around $9 million annual income comes from his off court ventures such as endorsements.

#4 Dwayne Wade ($30.2 M)

Born poor, it was his talent that would propel him to become one of the highest paid NBA athletes in the league today. Now, Dwayne Wade joined Lebron James to launch Miami Heat’s dominant run in the NBA. He earns as much as $30.2 million a year. The thing with Dwayne Wade’s off-court income was that it even increased after leaving Nike. He signed with Li Ning, a Chinese shoe company just recently.

This could be a good or a bad decision for Wade to leave Nike. It could be a disastrous move considering Li Ning isn’t really a known company. In fact, it dropped 60% in a year in terms of shares. But of course, there is always the bright side that the company has a good amount of money for advertisement in order to dish out against the large brands out there.

#3 Derrick Rose ($32.4 M)

Just how much does Derrick Rose earn? For the year, he earned $32.4 million total for both on court and off court efforts. He managed to kick off a 13 year contract with Adidas for $185 million, not to mention an extended 5 year contract with the Chicago Bulls. According to, Derrick Rose enjoys a $70 million net worth given the $94 million 5 year extension that he signed with the Chicago Bulls.

#2 Lebron James ($40.0 M)

Ever since joining the Miami powerhouse, King James received mixed reactions from fans. Whether you like him or hate him, he is the second highest earning player in the NBA. Though earning just $17.6 million on-court, putting him just on the 9th spot among the NBA players with the highest on-court salaries, King James knows how to endorse brands. Nike, Coca Cola, Samsung, Mc Donald’s among many other global brands pay an accumulated $40 million to Lebron.

Nicknamed as King James, he has been known not only as a player, but also as an entrepreneur. In fact, according to sources, Lebron has a net worth of $120 million. He partnered with Fenway Sports Group in 2011 in order to manage his business ventures. This made him a small stake owner in a an FSG owned soccer club, Liverpool. Living in a $9 million mansion that he acquired in 2010, he is one of the most successful young players in the league.

#1 Kobe Bryant ($59.8 M)

A long time Lakers standout, Kobe earned the number one spot for being the highest paid NBA athlete today. Though currently battling a series of injuries, Kobe earned $59.8 million for both his on court and off court efforts. He is the poster boy for Nike and Lenovo among many other endorsements that constitute to $32 million in total income.

Not only is he the highest paid athlete today in the NBA, he is considered as the third highest earning player in the history of the NBA. In terms of assets, he enjoys $150 million worth of assets. But of course, the lack of prenuptial agreement between him and his ex-wife drained a huge chunk of his assets. A marriage that lasted for 10 years, under California law, it was mentioned that the wife should be able to maintain her standard of living after the split. Despite personal setbacks, Kobe has been growing his portfolio of endorsers ranging from Turkish Airlines to Mercedes Benz.

If you will look at the salaries of the NBA players alone, you will get a totally different list from what we have here. In fact, in this top five list, only 3 are seen in the top 10 players with the highest on-court salary in the NBA.

During every player’s time in the NBA, it is common to see them accumulate wealth. However, when it is time to retire, how much they retain from their income is another story. In fact, if you will look at Allen Iverson for instance. He was able to earn millions of dollars per contract playing for the 76ers during his stint in the NBA. However, there’s news that he still wants to play in different leagues after his NBA career was long gone. It is the complete opposite, on the other hand, for the likes of Shaquille O’Neil, who managed to get his Masters in Business Administration and enhance his source of income from fast food chains to car washes, and even endorsements years after his days as the top NBA center was over.

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