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Sports Money

The 7 Highest Paid NBA Players Of All Time

When it comes to the highest-paid athletes of all time, the NBA usually dominates the list, showing just how lucrative the sport is. Getting into the NBA doesn’t not only provide a path toward international recognition but for the great players, it also offers the chance to make butt loads of money. 

Everyone (or at least those who care to follow the league) know the highest-paid NBA players for the 2019/20 season, but who are the highest-paid NBA players of all time? 

In this listicle, I am going to take you through the 7 highest-paid NBA players of all time, and spoiler alert, it is dominated by the greatest players to ever play the game. Therefore, it is easy to deduce the formula for becoming among the highest-paid NBA stars, which is greatness equals high earnings. 

Note that while Michael Jordan is now the richest NBA player in history, a huge chunk of his earnings come after he had retired, so he is nowhere near the top 7 highest-paid NBA players of all time. 

  • 7. Carmelo Anthony
  • 6. Dirk Nowitzki
  • 5. Chris Paul 
  • 4. Shaquille O’Neal 
  • 3. LeBron James 
  • 2. Kobe Bryant 
  • 1. Kevin Garnett 

7. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony Rookie Year - 2003
Carmelo Anthony Rookie Year – 2003

American NBA star Carmelo Anthony is the 7th highest paid basketball player of all time, earning almost $28 million in 2018 alone and without stepping out in the courts for Hawks and Bulls. Overall, Carmelo has had a lucrative NBA career and at the peak, he was believed to have earned more than $94 million from salary alone. 

Earnings: $247 million 

6. Dirk Nowitzki

1999:  Forward Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks during a Mavericks game versus the Phoenix Suns at Reunion Arena in Dallas. TX. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)
1999: Forward Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks during a Mavericks game versus the Phoenix Suns at Reunion Arena in Dallas. TX. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)

Coming on at number #6 is the German sharpshooter and recently retired Dirk Nowitzki. In total, the former Dallas Mavericks earned $251.6 million. 

Earnings: $251.6 million 

5. Chris Paul 

 (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images)

32-year old Chris Paul is currently with the Houston Rockets in the NBA league. Over the years, the star has grown himself into one of the highest value athlete brands by his excellent performances on the basketball court. The athlete has kept himself open to endorsement and commercial deals with numerous global brands, which have been one of his income sources. 

Earnings: $260.9 million 

4. Shaquille O’Neal 

Shaq O'Neal Rookie Year
Shaq O’Neal Rookie Year

In 2011, Shaq O’Neal decided to drop the curtain on his 19-year illustrious NBA career. Shaq began making headlines before he was even drafted, standing at 7-feet-1 and weighing 325 pounds; he dazed opponents with his imposing size and immense skills. Signing the biggest rookie contract in the NBA history with Orlando Magic, worth $41 million over seven years. He ended up amassing a total earning of $286 million in almost two decades with 6 different NBA teams.

Earnings: $286 million 

3. LeBron James 

LeBron James Rookie Year - 2003
LeBron James Rookie Year – 2003

The current Lakers star is the highest-earning active NBA player. By the end of his four-year contract with the Los Angeles based giants, King James will have made over $424 million. 

*Current Earnings: $307 million 

2. Kobe Bryant 

Kobe Bryant - Rookie Year
Kobe Bryant – Rookie Year

Bean Bryant was a one-team guy, spending 20 seasons with the Lakers and earning over $323 million in the process. The Black Mamba is considered the most competitive NBA player in history, and was named in the All-Starr team `18 times, won 5 NB championships, and set and broke numerous records. 

Earnings: $323 million 

1. Kevin Garnett 

Kevin Garnet Rookie Year

The highest-paid NBA player in history is Kevin Garnet. The star made 15 All-Star appearances, an MVP award, 12 All-Defensive Team wards, and earned over $326.3 million in a career spanning 21 years. 

Earnings: $326 million 

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