Here Are The List Of The NBA’s Biggest Earners

NBA Biggest Earners

The National Basketball Association has millions of followers all around the world. While it is the premier competition in the United States, there is nothing to rival it elsewhere. The best players and biggest teams are in play and that’s why it has such a huge global audience.

The statistics show that the 2022 NBA Finals Series was watched by an average of 12.4 million TV viewers in the US alone. Add in numbers courtside, along with that worldwide audience and the division’s popularity is clear.

There is some serious revenue piled into the NBA and the best players in the competition are among the highest paid of all sports stars. Here is a round up of some of the NBA’s highest earners.

LeBron James

He may be getting to the end of his career, but LeBron James’ earning potential shows no signs of slowing down. Using stats for the 12 months ending May 2022, we learn that the LA Lakers forward received around $119.5 million in income.

Of all professionals in any sport, only tennis’ Roger Federer can match those sums. The way that the figures are broken down gives us an interesting insight into how NBA players make their money. It isn’t all about their activities on the court and the top men can earn even more from endorsements.

Of that $119.5 overall income, James earned more than 50% via external sponsorships. Around 40% of his overall earnings comes from Lebron’s lifetime deal with Nike. It underlines the potential and many younger NBA stars have taken full advantage.

Steph Curry

At the end of the 2021/22 NBA season, Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors won their fifth championship in seven years. Pulling the strings and setting new records was Point Guard Curry himself.

While they have some stiff competition in 2023, the current nba odds show that GSW are up among the favorites for the pennant. If they go deep into the playoffs once again, that would give Steph Curry the chance to improve on his 2022 earnings of $93.1 million.

Like all other top NBA stars, Curry supplements his income through endorsements and there is a near 50/50 split between on court and off court earnings.

Kevin Durant 

Just behind Stephen Curry with earnings of $91 million in the 12 months up to May 2022 is the Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant. Once again, his income shows a near 50/50 split with $48 million coming via on-court salary and $43 million via external endorsements.

Durant’s Nets team have been one of the strongest in recent years and, in the 2020/21 NBA season they made it through to the Conference semifinals. Away from basketball, Kevin Durant enjoys commercial arrangements with Nike, Coinbase and the video games NBA2K and Call of Duty, among others. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo

While Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets bowed out of the 2020/21 NBA campaign at the Conference Semi Final stage, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks went all the way to claim the championship pennant.

As he drove his team through the playoffs, the giant Point Guard picked up the MVP award in the finals series, and that clearly helped his earning potential.

Antetokounmpo’s earning stats for the 12 months leading up to May 2022 show figures of $86.5 million. $42.5 million was produced via his play while the remaining $44 is earned via endorsements.

The player recently became the first global brand ambassador for WhatsApp and he even holds a stake in his Milwaukee Brewers team.

Russell Westbrook

Slotting in at number five is LeBron James’ LA Lakers team mate Russell Westbrook. There’s a gap to the players above him, but this Point Guard should be happy enough with his 2022 salary of $72.1 million.

In comparison to some of his contemporaries, Westbrook may want to work on his endorsements. A mere $25 million was earned via external arrangements, while an impressive $47.1 million arrived through on court income.

Russell Westbrook was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player across the 2017 season and he’s so far featured in nine All Star games. Those achievements will have boosted his earning potential while his list of endorsements includes Nike Jordan and Hennessy.

Room for More

The best basketball players will always be a big attraction for major global brands. With the exposure that the NBA offers, it’s no surprise to see big companies such as Nike, WhatsApp, Hennessy and Under Armour getting involved. Even when they leave the game, their earning potential is barely diminished. LeBron James may be close to retirement, but his assorted brand partners will be eager to keep in touch. The remaining players have many more years left at the top, while there is room for others to rise through the earnings lists in the years to come.

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