Forbes has published a ranking of the highest-paid NBA players for the 2020/2021 season. The top five of the rating last year retained their positions.
For the seventh consecutive year, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James remains the highest-paid player in the NBA when he considers his off-court contracts. He will earn a record $ 95.4 million for an NBA player, including an estimated $ 64 million in advertising and other projects. Half of James’ advertising revenue comes from a Nike contract. According to Forbes, James is the highest-paid athlete in US team sports.
Second place goes to Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry with $ 74.4 million in revenue, of which $ 40 million comes from sponsorships and other projects. In December, Under Armour launched the Curry brand, which will introduce shoes, apparel, and accessories for various sports. The contract is valued at $ 20 million a year, but the amount could grow if the brand becomes popular.
In third place is Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, with $ 65.2 million in revenue. Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook, whose revenues should be $ 58.1 million, is fourth, and Brooklyn Nets defender closes the top 5, James Harden, with $ 50 million.
Salaries in the NBA have dropped 20% this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but third-party contracts keep the biggest basketball stars among the world’s highest-paid athletes. The 10 highest-paid NBA players in the 2020/2021 season are expected to earn $ 558 million.
Over the past 30 years, wages in the NBA have grown 10 times and last season (before the pandemic) averaged $ 9.5 million per player. This is more than double the average salary for baseball players and three times the average earnings of football players. This season, 44 NBA players were supposed to receive at least $ 25 million in salaries, but 34 such athletes remain due to salary cuts.