Money Moves February 01, 2021 at 11:42 am

Here are the highest-earning basketball stars

Francis Akhalbey | Content Manager

Francis Akhalbey February 01, 2021 at 11:42 am

February 01, 2021 at 11:42 am | Money Moves

Forbes has released the list of the highest-earning NBA stars -- Left Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels | Right Photo Credit: Frenchieinportland

Although having to play the season behind closed doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has slashed the earnings of NBA players by 20%, some of the league’s top superstars are still taking home a considerable amount of cash thanks to other lucrative deals and partnerships.

According to Forbes, Los Angeles Lakers superstar, Lebron James, continues to lead the pack as the highest-earning NBA player for the seventh year in a row with an expected earnings of $95.4 million. Though the 36-year-old isn’t the highest paid player in the league, a significant portion of his income comes from endorsements and other partnerships. For this year, $64 million of his earnings is expected to come from endorsements, memorabilia sales and media.

James also writes his name in the history books as he becomes the first NBA player and athlete in American team sports to take home such an astronomical amount in a year. With his career earnings expected to hit $1 billion by the end of the year – with $700 million of that coming from endorsements – James joins the likes of Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to reach the 10 figure threshold while still being active in their respective sporting fields.

Breaking down his endorsement portfolio, Forbes reported the four-time NBA champion and four-time MVP has lucrative partnership deals with industry giants including AT&T, Beats, Nike, Walmart, Rimowa, GMC and Blaze Pizza. He is also expected to put pen to paper on a multi-year endorsement deal with PepsiCo to promote its Mountain Dew brand after parting ways with its rival Coca-Cola last fall.

Take a look at the other biggest earners in the NBA below:

Damian Lillard — Photo Credit: Frenchieinportland

10Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)

Total Earnings: $39 million

Salary: $25 million

Endorsements: $14 million

Chris Paul — Photo via @cp3 on Instagram

9Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns)

Total Earnings: $40.1 million

Salary: $33.1 million

Endorsements: $7 million

Kyrie Irving — Photo via @brooklynnets on Instagram

8Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)

Total Earnings: $43 million

Salary: $26 million

Endorsements: $17 million

Klay Thompson — Photo via @klaythompson on Instagram

7Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)

Total Earnings: $43.3 million

Salary: $28.3 million

Endorsements: $15 million

Giannis Antetokounmpo — Photo via @giannia_an34 on Instagram

6Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

Total Earnings: $49 million

Salary: $22 million

Endorsements: $27 million

James Harden — Photo via @brooklynnets on Instagram

5James Harden (Brooklyn Nets)

Total Earnings: $50 million

Salary: $33 million

Endorsements: $17 million

Russell Westbrook — Photo via @russwest44 on Instagram

4Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards)

Total Earnings: $58.1 million

Salary: $33 million

Endorsements: $25 million

Kevin Durant — Photo via @easymoneysniper on Instagram

3Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)

Total Earnings: $65.2 million

Salary: $31.2 million

Endorsements: $34 million

Stephen Curry — Photo via @warriors on Instagram

2Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

Total Earnings: $74.4 million

Salary: $34.4 million

Endorsements: $40 million

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