5. Shaquille O’Neal
During his time in the NBA, Shaq was one of the most dominating centers in the league. He won Rookie of the Year honors, three NBA Championships and three NBA Finals MVP honors while with the Lakers. He also played for the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat, winning a final title in 2016. His 7-year, $41 million rookie contract with the Orlando Magic was one of the highest in league history.
During his career, Shaq averaged nearly $28 million per year and also has earned considerably from numerous endorsements which include Burger King, Kraft Foods, Pepsi, Comcast, The General, Reebok, Taco Bell, and Buick, among others. In addition, Shaq even released four rap albums and is a current NBA studio analyst for TNT. His total earnings from the NBA is over $290 million and Shaquille O’Neil total net worth is estimated at $400 million.
4. LeBron James
James is in the conversation for the top player in NBA history and is arguably the highest paid player in the league today. James has won the Rookie of the Year, four league MVPs, nine NBA Finals appearances, three-time NBA Finals MVP and 16 All-Star appearances. He signed a huge $153 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers and his average NBA salary per year is over $37 million.
The list of endorsements for James is impressive, which includes Nike, Coca-Cola, Upper Deck, State Farm Insurance, Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins, McDonald’s, among others. His lifetime deal with Nike is reportedly worth around $1 billion. James has surpassed $300 million in earnings in the NBA. It is estimated that LeBron James net worth is around $450 million.
3. Magic Johnson
One of the most flamboyant and best point guards in NBA history, Johnson has five NBA championships and three NBA Finals MVPs. He was one of the players to help make the NBA a lucrative sport. A 12-time-NBA All-Star, Johnson signed what at the time was the biggest contract in history of the league at $25 million over 25 years. Johnson’s total earnings from the NBA approached nearly $40 million.
Johnson also earned an estimated $10 million per year during his time as President of the Lakers. In addition to his NBA earnings, Johnson has investments in the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and the Dodgers of MLB. Johnson also has made big investments in top companies such as Burger King, Starbucks, 24 Hour Fitness, among others. Johnson has an estimated net worth of $600 million.
2. Junior Bridgeman
A solid NBA player, Bridgeman averaged around 14 points and 3.5 rebounds per game during his career which spanned from 1975 to 1987. His highest yearly salary was $350,000 and earned just over $4 million during his NBA career.
Bridgeman has earned his worth in the restaurant business, owning at least 160 Wendy’s and 120 Chili’s franchises. He is the CEO of Bridgeman Foods Inc, which has acquired Blaze Pizza. It is estimated that his Chili’s franchises alone have more than $300 million in sales. In addition, Bridgeman runs a bottling plant for Coca-Cola. Bridgeman has accumulated a net worth of $600 million.
1. Michael Jordan
Arguably the best player in NBA history, Jordan made 14 All-Star teams, five MVP trophies, six NBA titles and six NBA Finals MVP awards. His average NBA salary was $4 million and according to NBA Sports, earned over $33 million one season, which was highest ever until a few years ago.
His endorsements include Nike, Hanes, Gatorade, and Upper Deck. Reportedly by Forbes, the Nike endorsement has earned Jordan nearly $1.3 billion. Jordan also is owner of the Charlotte Hornets and co-owner of the Miami Marlins. Jordan earned nearly $94 million in the NBA and according to Forbes is the world’s richest athlete with an approximate net worth of $1.6 billion.