Forbes published an article highlighting the top-paid NBA Players 2021. LeBron James tops the list for the 7th straight year. He and other superstars are mitigating the money lost from their salary due to the pandemic through endorsements.
NBA players were all required to put 20% of their salary in an escrow account to balance league-wide revenue. Without fans in the arena, the NBA loses a sizable chunk of their revenue, meaning players likely won’t be seeing that money. All salaries in the article take this into account.
10. Damian Lillard
Lillard kicks off the list with a salary of $25 million and endorsements worth $14 million. Gatorade’s Bolt24 line recently kicked off in 2019, and Lillard is one of the main endorsement partners. His current contract will end this season, but he has already agreed to a supermax extension with Portland worth $196 million.
9. Chris Paul
Chris Paul is often touted as having a “bad” contract, yet he proves that he’s worth it year after year. His salary this year is worth 33.1 million, with endorsements reaching 7 million. Next year he has a player option worth 44.2 million, which will be the last year of his contract.
8. Kyrie Irving
The Nets star is 1 of 3 players on the team who appear on this list. Irving’s recent absences this season cost him over $900,000 between lost game checks and fines from the league. His salary this year clocks in at $26 million, with $17 million in endorsements
7. Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson likely won’t make an appearance this year well he rehabs from his torn Achilles. The injury hasn’t stopped him on the investment side; this year, he launched a CBD brand along with Alex Morgan, Travis Pastrana, and Paul Rodriguez. Altogether his endorsements are with 15 million, to go along with a 28.3 million dollar salary.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Bucks star recently signed the largest contract in NBA history with his team. The 5-year, $228 million deal will kick in next year. His salary this year is $22 million, and he is making $27 million in endorsements.
5. James Harden
Recently traded to the Nets in the biggest blockbuster of the season, Harden hopes to win his first NBA championship this year. Meanwhile, he has his salary worth $33 million and endorsements of $17 million.
4. Russell Westbrook
Russ has had a relatively slow start to the season by his standards. The duo of him and Beal haven’t lived up to expectations. His salary remains at $33 million this year. His endorsements, with a major piece coming from Nike, total at $25 million.
3. Kevin Durant
Westbrooks former teammate and now Net’s star Kevin Durant is at number 3. Durant bought shares in Uber back in 2016 for $1 million. Those shares have risen to roughly $15 million in value. His salary is $31.2 million, and his endorsements are $34 million.
2. Stephen Curry
Curry’s salary of 34.4 million is the highest in the league this year. Couple that with $40 million in endorsements, and you have the 2nd highest-paid player in the league. Under Armour’s new Curry Brand will be similar to the Jordan Brand model that Nike used. The deal is worth $20 million a year but could grow.
1. LeBron James
For the 7th year in a row, LeBron will be the NBA’s top-paid player. He’s well known as a savvy businessman, and this is represented best by his movie Space Jam 2 coming this July. He is a star actor, executive producer, and co-founder of SpringHill entertainment, one of the production companies. James will make somewhere near $10 million for the film. His salary this year is $31.4 million, and endorsements are $64 million.