A debate about the highest-paid NBA players is usually dominated by the likes of Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade among other NBA greats. But little is known about the WNBA and the highest-paid female basketball player. Recently, the Women’s National Basketball Association has been gaining popularity steadily. It was launched in 1996 and despite being around for nearly three-decades. Player salaries have not been able to keep pace,especially in comparison to the men’s league. In the 2019 season of the WNBA, the minimum salary for a player with years of playing was set at $42,728 annually. Which is lower when compared to the middle-income salary of typical work in America, which is $48,672.
A New Dawn in the WNBA
Nevertheless, female players are expected to earn more in the future. Thanks in part to the newly signed collective bargaining agreement. With this agreement, top WNBA athletes can earn upwards of $500,000 per year. While an average player can pocket around $130,000 annually. Also, the lowest salary for an athlete with two years of service was increased from $42,728 annually to $57,000 annually. Increasing by 3% every year through 2027.
However, that still pales in comparison to male salaries. The lowest salary is set at $815,615 per year under the current contract for NBA athletes. Regardless, it is still new dawn in WNBA as the recently signed collective bargaining agreement offers massive salary improvement along with other benefits for female players.
For instance, a player categorized as a “core player” will earn in the region of $215,000 from 2020, which will then rise 3% annually up to 2027. Under the previous contract, a player designated as core player used to earn $117,500 per year and would have earned just $119,500 in 2020.
But who is the top earner in the WNBA? Below is a list of the top 3 highest-paid female players in basketball in 2020.
DeWanna Bonner | Connecticut Sun | $215,000
DeWanna Bonner sits on top of the highest-paid female players in WNBA with a $215,000 per year salary. She is known for her 10-year stint with the Phoenix Mercury. During which she scored in double figures in all of her W seasons, becoming one of the top WNBA players. She has been featured 3x in the WNBA All Start Games in 2015, 2018, and 2019 and won the championships 2x in 2009 and 2014.
Skylar Diggins-Smith | Phoenix Mercury | $215,000
Another Phoenix Mercury star, Skylar was brought in to replace Bonner from the Dallas Wings. She is currently on a four-year deal worth $215,000 per year, which is the current WNBA maximum salary.
Sue Bird | Seattle Storm | $215,000
Though a knee surgery kept her out of the 2019 season. Sue Bird is considered one of the best WNBA stars currently. She has played for the Seattle Storm throughout her career, which spans 17 years and 18 seasons (including 2019 that she didn’t play).
Other WNBA stars earning $215,000 include Brittney Griner of Phoenix Mercury and Emma Meesseman of Washington Mystics.