Adam Silver Salary: How He Earns His Money

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Adam Silver is one of the preeminent commissioners in professional sports. Spearheading the inner workings of the NBA, he’s expanded the league exponentially on a global scale, as well as dealt with a slew of ordeals. Therefore, with all of his success, arises questions surrounding his salary. Below, is a breakdown of how much money Silver makes a year, along with a rundown of his earnings throughout his career.

Silver became the commissioner of the NBA in 2014. His reported yearly salary is $10 million, making him the third-highest-paid commissioner amongst the four major North American sports. The NFL’s Roger Goodell earns $63.9 million and the MLB’s Rob Manfred makes $17.5 million, respectively.

In 2018, Silver signed an extension through the 2023-2024 season. Thus, he will have made nearly $100 million by the conclusion of his deal.

Silver’s career before being commissioner

DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 05: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver participates in a ceremony honoring former plater Dirk Nowitzki and retiring his No. 41 jersey at American Airlines Center on January 05, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Prior to working for the NBA, Silver, 60, was an associate at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. His original plan was to become a lawyer, like his late father, Edward Silver.

However, in 1992, Silver found himself working for the NBA. In his first eight years with the company, he held a slew of different positions. For instance, he was the senior VP and COO of NBA Entertainment, special assistant to the commissioner, as well as NBA chief of staff at one point. Silver’s exceptional job in the NBA’s Entertainment division allowed him to become deputy commissioner. He was integral in the NBA’s involvement in productions such as Like Mike, The Year of the Yao, and Michael Jordan to the Max.

As the league’s deputy commissioner, Silver portended his penchant for expansion. He espoused the need for the development of both the G League and WNBA. Furthermore, he was pertinent in the negotiating of NBA China, as well as a robust deal with Tuner Broadcasting ? which is home to the award-winning NBA on TNT crew.

Adam Silver becomes commissioner

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: NBA Commissioner David Stern (L) and NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver speak at a press conference after NBA labor negotiations at the New York Helmsley Hotel in the early morning hours of November 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Silver was endorsed by his predecessor, the late David Stern, to become commissioner in 2012. Then, in 2014, he officially became the NBA’s CEO.

Less than three months into his tenure as commissioner, Silver was forced to deal with one of the most tumultuous ordeals in NBA history. On April 25, 2014, audio leaked of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments. Silver acted swiftly, banning Sterling from the league a mere four days later. Additionally, he fined Sterling $2.5 million — the maximum amount under the NBA’s bylaws.

That same year, Silver also championed legalized sports betting. In an op-ed piece in The New York Times, he talked about how it would be auspicious for sports gambling to be “brought out of the underground.

“There is an obvious appetite among sports fans for a safe and legal way to wager on professional sporting events,” Silver said. “I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.”

Most recently, Silver was the first commissioner to suspend action during the 2019-2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, he allotted $170 million to create the NBA Bubble. This served as a means to complete the NBA season.

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