Forbes Releases NBA Highest-Paid Players List
“I’m not a businessman- I’m a business, man,” Jay-Z famously rapped.
This seems to be a reality for NBA superstars as they are turning their names into brands. The biggest stars, including LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, have set up companies to manage their own media, marketing and investment opportunities.
The NBA’s top 10 earners will make an estimated $540 million this year from salaries, endorsements, appearances, royalties and media facts. That is more than $180 million higher than five years ago. LeBron James is the NBA’s highest-paid player for the fifth-straight year, with $88.7 million, including $53 million off the court.
Below is the top 10 list of the NBA’s highest-paid players for the 2018-19 season. The figures include total earnings, comprised of salaries and endorsements.
- LeBron James ($88.7 million)
James joined the Lakers on a four-year, $153 million contract. His endorsement partners include: Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats By Dre, Blaze Pizza and 2K Sports.
- Stephen Curry ($79.5 million
As the mainstay of the Warriors, Curry is on a five-year, $201 million contract. Aside from his lucrative shoe deals, Palm and Rakuten are a few of Curry’s most recent endorsement partners.
- Kevin Durant ($65 million)
Durant can set an NBA record this summer, as he is eligible for a five-year, $220 million contract extension with the Warriors. He earned over $35 million in endorsements this past year.
- Russell Westbrook ($53.7 million)
Westbrook is currently on the biggest contract in NBA history, worth $207 million over five years. Off the court, he recently released his second signature sneaker, ‘Why Not Zer0.2, with his third lifestyle shoe, Westbrook 0.3 expected to hit stores this fall.
- James Harden ($47.4 million)
The Beard is firmly in the running for his second straight MVP trophy, putting up numbers the NBA hasn’t seen since the 1960s. Recently, he partnered with Amazon to share his workout products, and has endorsements with Adidas, BodyArmor and Beats.
- Chris Paul ($43.7 million)
Last summer, the Rockets splashed the cash on Paul with a four-year, $160 million contract. He is the president of the National Basketball Players Association and has endorsement deals with that partners that include: Nike, State Farm, Sharpie and Spalding.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo ($43.2 million)
The Greek Freak’s stock continues to rise as he establishes himself as one of the best players in the NBA. Nike is releasing his first signature shoe in June.
- Damian Lillard ($41 million)
Dame is in the middle a five-year, $140 million deal with the Trail Blazers. He has a pair of rap albums under his belt and a shoe deal with Adidas who will be released his fifth signature shoe last month.
- Blake Griffin ($39.1 million)
Griffin is in the middle of a five-year, $171 million deal with the Pistons. He has his own production company, Mortal Media, which has five movie and TV projects in active development.
- Paul George ($38.6 million)
PG is in the midst of the best season of his career, after signing a four-year, $137 million contract with the Thunder in July. His endorsement portfolio includes: Nike, Gatorade, New Era, Bass Pro Shops, 2K Sports and Foot Locker.