Basketball is one of the most popular sports on the planet. This sport is equally popular in the USA and Europe, but a much larger amount of money is spent in the NBA than in Europe. Players in Europe have decent contracts, but they are not nearly as big as the contracts that NBA players have.
On this occasion, we will talk about how much NBA players earn. The numbers are unreal.
The highest-paid player at the moment is Stephen Curry, the point guard of the Golden State Warriors who will earn over $ 45 million in the 2021/22 season. He will earn almost 215 million dollars in the next four years.
Of the active players, Lebron James earned the most in his career. When his contract with the Lakers expires, he will cross the magic limit of $ 400 million. NBA legend Michael Jordan is the richest basketball player of all time and his total wealth is estimated at around 1.6 billion dollars.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players in NBA History
What is the Average Salary of a Player in the NBA?
If we look back at the previous 2020/21 season, we will see that the average salary of NBA players was slightly less than 8 million dollars, or 7.9 million. As for the current season 2021/22, the projected salary per player is 8.25 million dollars. That is four percent more than the previous season.
The average salary is increasing from year to year, although this season recorded the lowest growth in the average salary of NBA players in the last seven years. Only ten years ago, the average salary of NBA players was around 4.5 million dollars. If we go back to the 1990s, then we can see a very interesting fact.
In the 1990/91 season, the average salary was not even one million dollars. At that time, NBA players earned an average of about 850 thousand dollars. At the beginning of the two thousand years, the average salary was only about 3 million dollars.
The largest increase in average earnings was recorded in the 2016/17 season. In that season, earnings increased by 23% compared to the previous season, so the average earnings jumped from just over 4.8 million to almost 6 million dollars. The only drop in the average earnings of NBA players in the last seven years was recorded in 2015, when the average salary dropped by almost 600 thousand dollars, ie from a little more than 5 million dollars to 4.45 million dollars.
After the 2014/15 season, each subsequent season, the average salary increased by a certain percentage.
In the time we live in today, money has become the most important thing and considering that sport has become a kind of industry, it is no wonder that basketball players in the NBA earn huge amounts of money.
All these players have great contracts, and the biggest stars, in addition to playing basketball, also earn money from fantastic sponsorship contracts. By the end of this decade, the average salary should be expected to reach 10 million dollars.
Top 10 Highest Paid Players for the 2020/21 season
Stephen Curry, Warriors: $43,006,362
Chris Paul Suns: $41,358,814
Russell Westbrook, Wizards: $41,358,814
James Harden, Rockets: $41,254,920
John Wall, Rockets: $41,254,920
Kevin Durant, Nets: $40,108,950
LeBron James, Lakers: $39,219,566
Blake Griffin, Pistons: $36,810,996
Paul George, Clippers: $35,450,412
Klay Thompson Warriors: $35,361,360
In the last two seasons, point guards had the highest average earnings in the NBA. They took that place from high-ranking players who play in the center position and who were the players with the highest average earnings in the NBA for six consecutive seasons before the 2019/20 season.
Players playing in this position earned an average of just over $ 11 million last season. Point guards are the first group of players to cross the magic limit of 10 million dollars when it comes to the average salary of players in the NBA. It is especially interesting to note that in as many as eight previous seasons, the players who play in the position of shooting guard had the lowest average earnings.
Players playing in this position were the only ones to have an average salary of less than seven million dollars. In the previous season, their average salary was 6.5 million dollars. Only two of the twenty highest paid players from the previous season play in the shooting guard position.
Until six years ago, the average salary of point guards was just over $ 4 million. Exactly three decades ago, the point guard earned an average of barely 750 thousand dollars in the NBA. In the previous 2020/21 season, six of the ten highest-paid players were point guards. In the last three seasons, their earnings have increased by almost 20 percent.
As for the players in the small forward position, their average salary in the 2020/21 season was 7.13 million dollars. Only one player playing in that position was among the top 10 highest-paid players in 2021.
In more than three previous decades, it has never happened that a group of players playing in this position will be the highest paid in the NBA. As for the players in the power forward position in the 2020/21 season, they earned an average of 7.64 million.
In the end, the centers earned an average of 7.82 million dollars in the previous season. Their average earnings fell by 15 compared to a year earlier.
Only the centers experienced that their average earnings were reduced while players in other positions enjoyed smaller or larger raises on their bank balance.
For years, the centers were the highest paid players, but the situation has changed in the last two seasons, so the first place in terms of average earnings in the NBA was taken by players who play in the position of point guard. No center was among the fifteen highest-paid players in 2021.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players for the 2021/22 season
Not all players in the NBA have as high contracts as the players on this list. Some of the players have very “funny” contracts compared to these figures. How much a player will earn on average per season depends on years of experience spent in the NBA.
When you are a great superstar as the mentioned players then as expected you have incredibly high contracts. On the other hand when you are a rookie or a veteran then your contract is not that high.
The minimum salary that a player earns in the NBA varies between 925 thousand dollars intended for players who have no experience of playing in this league, such as Luka Garza, and 2.6 million dollars, which is intended for veterans with more than 10 seasons of experience such as Marc Gasol or Trevor Ariza. Demetrius Jackson is the lowest-paid player in the 2021/22 season, earning “only” $ 92,857.
The Lowest Paid Players per Year
If we compare European basketball with the NBA, we come to the fact that the highest paid player in Europe, Nikola Mirotic, who once played in the NBA, and now plays for Barcelona, earns $ 4.5 million per season. Shane Larkin, another player who tried his hand in the NBA, has a salary of 3.7 million dollars and is currently playing for the winner of the Euroleague, Anadolu Efes.
We can see that the highest-paid player in the NBA earns ten times more than the highest-paid player in Europe. The money that the best players in Europe earn is equal to the money that players with average qualities earn in the NBA.