Who is the highest-paid NBA player?
Recently, Forbes released for the year 2020, the top-100 highest-earning sports athletes in the world. NBA stars didn’t fail to rise to the occasion as in fact they dominated the list. Over 30% of NBA players make up the 100 athletes list with, LeBron James taking the crown as the number 1 big-time earner in the NBA.
SportyTell takes a look at the top-20 highest-paid NBA players for the year. The ranking is based on total earnings from salary/winnings as well as income from endorsements and sponsorships.
Here are the Highest-Paid NBA Players Right Now
20. Zion Williamson
Salary: $7.3 Million; Endorsements: $20 Million
Zion Williamson was the most marketable rookie since LeBron James and being the No.1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, he penned a four-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans for $44 million. Endorsements were a spoil for the 19-year-old as Nike had to conquer a tough bidding war to secure the power forward for a $13 million per year deal. He makes $20 million on endorsements alone. His annual earnings is a whopping $27.3 million with endorsements earning making up for more than 60 per cent of his total income.
19. Kemba Walker
Salary: $24.6 Million; Endorsements: $3 Million
The ninth overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft signed a four-year contract with Boston Celtics in 2019 for $141 million and earns $24.6 million as salary. All endorsement deals walker signed totals a sum of $3 million bringing his total income to $27.6 million.
18. Gordon Hayward
Salary: $24.6 Million; Endorsements: $3 Million
The first NBA player to sign an endorsement deal with Hyperx, an esports brand in 2016 penned a four-year deal with the Boston Celtics in 2017 for $128 million. However, six minutes into his debut for the Celtics, an injury had the better of him. He made a stunning comeback in the 2018 season. The 30-year-old amassed a total of $27.6 million in earnings which include salary and endorsements earnings.
17. Jimmy Butler
Salary: $24.6 Million; Endorsements: $3 Million
Jimmy Butler in 2019 joined the Miami Heats in a trade agreement deal with Philadelphia 76ers for $142 million which happens to be his fourth team since his NBA debut. He rakes in an annual $24.6 million on salaries and bonuses alone. Although he cut ties with the Nike’s Jordan Brand in 2019, he profited $3 million from his endorsement deals.
16. Kyle Lowry
Salary: $27 Million; Endorsements: $1.5 Million
The summer of 2017 saw Kyle Lowry penning a three-year deal with Toronto worth $100 million with $93 million guaranteed. Then he profited $1.5 million in incentives after aiding the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship, also signing a one-year contract extension worth $30 million with the Raptors. He comes sixteenth on the list of highest-paid NBA stars with a total income of $28.5 million.
15. Anthony Davis
Salary: $20.4 Million; Endorsements: $10 Million
The 2012 NBA draft first overall selection and seven-time All-Star signed with New Orleans in 2015 a five-year contract extension for $127 million, but Anthony Davis was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019 upon his request. Salary and endorsement deal with the Nike brand and Ruffles brings the 27-year-old’s earnings to a total of $30.4 million this year.
14. Kawhi Leonard
Salary: $25 Million; Endorsements: $5.5 Million
The small forward who joined the Los Angeles Clippers in 2019 as a free agent penned a three-year contract worth $103 million and receives an annual sum of $25 million in salary. Kawhi Leonard who left Nike’s Jordan Brand in a switch to New Balance in 2018 was involved in a legal battle with the Nike brand a year later. However, he made a whopping $5.5 million from all his endorsements deals.
13. John Wall
Salary: $28.7 Million; Endorsements: $2.5 Million
Two years ahead of his free agency, John Wall signed a $169 million contract extension with the Washington Wizards back in July 2017 which would see Washington pay Wall approximately $207 million in six years with $47 million in the year which falls in the 2022–23 season. The point guard signed a five-year contract with Adidas in 2018. However, Wall parted ways with the brand in the 2019–20 season. Still, he rakes in $2.5 million on endorsements to earn a total of $31.2 million.
12. Blake Griffin
Salary: $25.9 Million; Endorsements: $6 Million
The 2009 first overall draft, is currently in a five-year contract worth $171 million which would run through till the 2021–22 season. However, Blake Griffin receives over $20 million in salary yearly and endorsements worth $6 million makes up for his total pay of $31.9 million.
11. Paul George
Salary: $24.8 Million; Endorsements: $8 Million
In 2019 after joining the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George forged one of the best partnership in the game with fellow teammate Kawhi Leonard. In the 2018-19 season, he made his first appearance in the All-NBA first team and topped the league in steals. The 2016 Olympic gold medalist raked in a total of $32.8 million, receiving a salary of $24.8 million and profiting $8 million on endorsements.
10. Chris Paul
Salary: $29 Million; Endorsements: $6 Million
Paul who transferred from Houston to Oklahoma City having spent three years of his four-year contract extension worth $160 million in 2018 experienced a reduction in his salary earning due to the Pandemic crisis. He was formerly earning $38.5 million. Nevertheless, the president of the NBA players union now receives $29 million annually on salary alone and rakes in an extra $6 million on endorsements.
9. Damian Lillard
Salary: $22.5 Million; Endorsements: $14.5 Million
The former rookie of the year and five-time All-Star who has featured in every playoff of his career with the Blazers comes ninth on the list. Annual earnings on salary see the 29-year-old profiting $22.5 million. His endorsements deals are worth a total of $14.5 million. Aside from being a basketball player, Damian Lillard also is a rapper with three studio albums already released under rap name, Dame D.O.L.L.A.
8. Klay Thompson
Salary: $24.8 Million; Endorsements: $14 Million
One of the versatile shooters in the game, who happens to be the first player in NBA history to score 60 points under 30 minutes extended his contract with the Golden State Warriors in 2019 for $190 million for five years. A 10-year deal with Chinese shoe brand Anta sees the five-time All-Star profiting $80 million excluding yet to be paid bonuses and royalties. In total, Klay Thompson‘s total earnings is a sum of $38.8 million.
7. Kyrie Irving
Salary: $23.9 Million; Endorsements: $18 Million
Kyrie Irving who helped the Cleveland Cavaliers to a first NBA championship back in 2016 comes seventh on the list with salary earning of $23.9 million yearly. Endorsement deals with Nike, Pepsi, 2k Sports gives the 28-year-old an additional $18 million. His total income is $41.9 million.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Salary: $19.6 Million; Endorsements: $28 Million
2016 saw Giannis Antetokounmpo pen a four-year contract extension with the Bucks worth a $100 million which will see it end in the 2020–21 season. Salaries, winnings and bonuses along with endorsements deals compile with a lucrative deal signed with Disney to develop a movie which centres around the life of the four-time All-Star raised his earnings in a year to $47.6 million. The movie is scheduled for release in 2022.
5. James Harden
Salary: $28.8 Million; Endorsements: $19 Million
James Harden signed a four-year deal extension in 2017 worth $171 million which would see him through till 2023. He also signed a 13-year endorsement deal with big brand Adidas worth $200 million as a face to its NBA campaign. The 2018 NBA MVP income totals at $47.8 million annually.
4. Russell Westbrook
Salary: $29 Million; Endorsements: $27 Million
The 2017 NBA MVP spent his first 11 years in the NBA with Oklahoma City and was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2019 and thus receives a yearly salary of over $20 million. 2017 saw the nine-time All-star extending his endorsement deal with Nike’s Jordan brand for ten more years. Russell Westbrook earns a whopping $27 million from endorsements alone.
3. Kevin Durant
Salary: $28.9 Million; Endorsements: $35 Million
In 2019, after three years spell with the Golden State, Kevin Durant signed a four-year contract for $164 million with the Brooklyn Nets and began earning over $20 million annually. With $35 million from endorsements and sponsorship deals, Durant earns a total of $63.9 million on a yearly basis.
2. Stephen Curry
Salary: $30.4 Million; Endorsements: $44 Million
Stephen Curry two time crowned MVP in the NBA sealed the first $200 million contract back in 2017, thus becoming the league’s top earner on a salary basis for the past three seasons. Couples of endorsement deals including that of Callaway Golf saw the point guard amass a total of $44 million. He also has an investment in the entertainment scene as he does own a production company, Unanimous Media which has a development deal with Sony Pictures. The company released its first movie “Breakthrough” in 2019.
1. LeBron James
Salary: $28.2 Million; Endorsements: $60 Million
The four-time NBA MVP tops the list. A four-year contract LeBron James signed in 2018 with the Los Angeles Lakers worth $153 million, coupled with the fact he owns a production company, as well as a media company, sees him taking the number 1 spot. He in fact is the highest-earning NBA player in terms of endorsements. Deals signed with Coca-Cola, Beats and a few other companies see him earn a whopping $60 million on endorsement alone, bringing his total income to $88.2 million annually. Back in 2015 James also signed a lifetime deal with sportswear company Nike. That deal potentially would exceed over a billion-dollar.
What are your thoughts on the highest-paid NBA players in 2020? Feel free to share in the comments section below.
Very great article. I love it!