Going for the three, he shoots, he scores! As the crowd goes wild, so do the dollar signs pouring into the bank account of the player who made the shot. Modern-day NBA athletes rank among the highest paid athletes in the world and are no strangers to living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Considering NBA teams have such a small roster, players are at an advantage as they share nearly $2.1 billion in collective salaries. So which of these high-profile ballers are cashing in the highest paychecks?
By collecting data from Spotrac.com, we were able to collect the career base salaries and signing bonuses for each player currently active in the NBA. Players were then ranked by their career cash earnings in each of their current team’s respective home state location. States that do not have a home team were excluded from our study.
Continue reading to see which standout NBA ballers are rolling in the most dough in the U.S.
For our comprehensive ranking, we calculated the career base salaries and bonuses of active basketball players in the NBA.
Dirk Nowitzki – franchise power forward for the Dallas Mavericks – cashes in as the richest active NBA player. Texas is known for producing big things, and Nowitzki's career earnings have yet to fall short of that motto. The 7-foot giant currently has added an estimated nearly $217million fortune to his bank account. Joe Johnson, small forward for the Utah Jazz, follows behind “The Germanator” with career earnings exceeding $192 million. If you’re located in the Beehive State, keep an eye out for “Joe Cool” riding around in his Ford F-650 Super Truck XUV.
Johnson isn’t the only athlete in the league known to flaunt his fortune. Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks forward – has been spotted by fans walking the streets of the Big Apple in a luxurious white robe with his name embroidered on it. A fitting gesture for the legend, considering he’s the first basketball player in U.S. history to win three Olympic gold medals.
We next decided to compare NBA salaries and the top five richest players in each state by region. While the average fan may be aware of the NBA having a total of 30 teams divided into six divisions, player earnings are often less discussed.
After he spent four seasons in Florida, LeBron James headed home to Cleveland in 2014 on a mission: to bring the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy to Ohio. “King James” plays as small forward for the Cavaliers and boasts quite an impressive resume – including receiving the NBA Most Valuable Player award a total of four times (2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013). LBJ dominates the income bracket in the Midwest and has nearly amassed an estimated $170 million in earnings.
Other impressive dollar figures stem from Paul Pierce – small forward for the Los Angeles Clippers – in the West, who has raked in over $190 million throughout his 19 seasons in the league. If you’re passing through La La Land, be sure to stop by the affluent Westside neighborhood, Cheviot Hills, where Pierce recently scored a house for $2.23 million.
Curious about how the rest of the NBA superstars line up? Look for yourself by trying out our interactive. Just choose the region you would like to view and then select the specific state of your choice. Results will display the top five richest players in each state, including their current teams as well as their career salaries with bonuses.
To put these enormous earnings into perspective, we examined some of the highest paid NBA players and compared their salaries to other figures to show just how much they’re worth.
Let’s start with Kevin Durant – small forward for the Golden State Warriors – who has earned over $105 million throughout his 10 seasons playing in Seattle, Oklahoma, and California. KD’s career earnings, when broken down by games played, points, and rebounds, are $161,534 per game, $5,892 per point scored, and $22,857 per rebound made. These numbers might rise in the coming days if Durant continues to share the court with two-time MVP Steph Curry.
You know what they say – time is money, and Dwight Howard, center for the Atlanta Hawks, surely agrees with this. “Superman” has been around since the 2004-05 season and, while he has yet to wear a championship ring, he’s wealthy in other areas. Just take a look at his earnings – a fortune estimated over $163 million. It would take an average NBA player 42 years to earn what “D12” has earned in just 12 years!
One thing is for certain – standout NBA athletes rank among the highest paid athletes not only in the U.S. but around the world as well. As time goes on, top talent will continue to enter the league, boosting the high-water mark that much higher for contract deals and signing bonuses. All money aside, these players will keep playing their hearts out on the court to provide eager fans with an unforgettable experience.
We scraped Spotrac.com for all salary and bonus data for current players in the NBA through January 13, 2017. Only career earnings from salary and bonuses were considered.
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