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According to Forbes.com, the 10 highest-paid players in the NBA will collectively earn $340 million this year alone, through salary and endorsements. Seven of the top 10 suit up in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, while two others hail from sunny, no-income-tax Miami.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant leads the list, as he’s expected to make $59.8 million in salary and endorsements this year. His salary of $27.8 million is $7 million higher than any other player in the league.
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement limits individual player salaries to 35% of the team salary cap, which is $58 million this year. But players can also sign deals that are 105% of their previous salary even if it exceeds the cap. Bryant’s case is exceptional because he is in his 17th season with the same team at 34 years old and is still playing at an exceptionally high level.
Kobe will also earn an estimated $32 million, annually, from off the court endorsement deals and business ventures.
The Miami Heat’s LeBron James comes in at #2 with annual earnings of $57.6 million. His contract will bring him $17.6 million this season which could’ve been more, but he inked a smaller deal to sign with the Heat and join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to earn his first NBA title. Off the court his sponsors include global titans Nike, Coca-Cola, Samsung and McDonald’s to name a few.
The third highest paid is the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, who will rake in $32.4 million. The young star’s income skyrocketed this season in the first year of his five-year, $95 million contract extension with the Chicago Bulls. He will earn 16.4 million, while off the court, he’ll take in another $16 million due to a 13-year, $185 million dead with Adidas.
1) Kobe Bryant $59.8 million
2) Lebron James $57.6 million
3) Derrick Rose $32.4 million
4) Dwayne Wade $30.2 million
5) Kevin Durant $29.7 million
6) Carmelo Anthony $28.4 million
7) Amar’e Stoudemire $27.9 million
8) Dwight Howard $26.5 million
9) Chris Paul $24.8 million
10) Pau Gasol $21.5 million