It is no secret that elite sports people earn astronomical sums of money from their salaries, bonuses, and endorsement deals. Top athletes command salaries that mere mortals can only dream of. Of all the professional sports played globally, no sport pays more in salaries than basketball and the NBA in particular. The average salary of an NBA player is a jaw-dropping $4.9 million, and that includes complete rookies enjoying their first season in basketball’s top competition!
The very best players, those that stand out from the crowd, are paid tens of millions of dollars every year; it has always been the case. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has earned more than $346 million in salaries since he first stepped onto the court. Kevin Garrett earned $334 million before he retired, while the late Kobe Bryant’s salaries weighed in at over $3232 million. Today’s stars have unfathomable earning potential, especially these three NBA stars who are currently the best paid active players.
1. Kevin Durant – Brooklyn Nets
Coming in in fifth place on the list of top earners in the NBA is Kevin Durant.
The 33-year-old Maryland native currently plays small forward position with the Brooklyn Nets and rakes in on average a whopping $41,063,925 a year.
Having studied at University of Texas, Durant then went on to play with the Texas Longhorns. He impressed fans and pundits alike with his skill and talent. He has won several prestigious honors and Player of the Year awards though the years. He is also an Olympic gold medallist having success at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo with the USA basketball in 2023.
It was clear from early on that Kevin Durant was destined to be a basketball superstar and a move to the NBA quickly followed. He has played with Seattle SuperSonics, now known as Oklahoma City Thunder, followed by the Golden State Warriors. After a brief break in 2019 he returned to the court with his current team.
2. Russell Westbrook – Los Angeles Lakers
In fourth place on the list is Russell Westbrook. Westbrook started out playing college basketball with University of California, Los Angeles. There he displayed a natural flair for the sport he began his NBA career in 2008 with Oklahoma City Thunder. He professional career has also led him to play with other top teams such as Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards.
Despite setbacks such as a recurring knee injury he is still proving his worth as a player. In 2023, the point guard returned to his Californian roots and signed a 5-year contract with Los Angeles Lakers where he now brings home an annual salary of $44,211,146.
He is the holder of two Olympic gold medals with the national basketball team.
Despite some criticism, he is appreciated as one of the finest players in the NBA in terms of his all-round skill. There is no denying his talent, he is the winner of nine NBA All Star awards between 2011-2020.
3. John Wall – Houston Rockets
John Wall of the Houston Rockets is the third-best paid NBA player with an annual salary tipping the scales at $44,310,840. Not only is the salary enough to make your eyes water, but it is also surprising because the Houston Rockets are currently one of the worst teams in the NBA and nobody using Texas sportsbettingsites.com online even thinks of placing a wager on them to win a game. This season, the Rockets are rooted to the bottom of the Western Conference with a 17-51 record; they last won the NBA Championship in 1995!
Everyone who watched Hall in action during his college days with Kentucky Wildcats knew he was destined for global superstardom, and they were correct. The Washington Wizards drafted Hall as the number one overall pick in 2010 and he immediately found himself in the starting line-up.
Hall played for the Rockets from 2010 to 2020 and was named as an NBA All-Star five times between 2014-18. He moved to the Houston Rockets on December 2, 2020 in exchange for Russell Westbrook and a future first-round pick; Westbrook himself earns a staggering $44,211,146 per year.
4. James Harden – Philadelphia 76ers
James Harden is one of basketball’s greatest ever players and a ten-time NBA All-Star, and a one-time NBA Most Valuable Player. Harden played college basketball for Arizona State Sun Devils where he picked up dozens of awards in addition to interest from the NBA’s top sides.
Oklahoma City Thunder selected Harden as the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Only Blake Griffin and Hasheem Thabeet were selected before Harden. He spent four years with the Thunder before heading to the Houston Rockets, where he became a fan favorite.
Harden was unhappy that the Rockets’ general manager and head coach left the team during the 2020-21 off-season and demanded a trade. Brooklyn Nets came calling, and Harden spent a season there before signing a $44,310,840 per year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
5. Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the highest-paid NBA star with an annual salary worth a staggering $45,780,966. Curry is the first NBA player to earn $45 million in a single season.
Widely regarded as one of the best point guards of all time and one of the greatest shooters in the history of basketball, Curry was selected seventh overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2009, and he has been with the San Francisco-based team ever since.
Curry has played 825 regular-season games for the Warriors and the numbers he has put up are nothing short of incredible. He holds the record for the most three-pointers in NBA history with over 3,120, has a 90.8% free throw percentage (the highest ever in the sport), all while averaging 4.7 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 24.3 points per game.
Curry is a legendary figure in basketball, so it is fitting that he is also the highest paid, something that is unlikely to change soon.