It’s no secret that NBA players can earn a lot of money. Even though money wasn’t always as much in the past, NBA players have always been connected with being famous and rich. In NBA history, 35 players have earned over $200 million just from their basketball contracts, not counting endorsement deals or other sources of income.
In this article, we’ll group the NBA players who earned the most money into different levels based on their basketball contracts. These 35 players have earned more money than anyone else in the history of the game. As we go through these groups, we’ll quickly explain their earnings and contracts, which have given some players a very high financial status compared to the many others who have played in the NBA.
Highest-Paid NBA Players Of All-Time By Tiers
This is a list of the NBA players who earned the most money, categorized by their earnings.
Tier 5 – $200 Million-$249 Million
Here are the earnings of several NBA players divided into different tiers based on their contracts:
Tier 5 – Earnings Between $200 and $250 Million:
- Tobias Harris: He’s earned just over $209 million throughout his career, with his highest earnings coming from his extension with the 76ers.
- LaMarcus Aldridge: Made just over $213 million in his 16-year career, primarily with the Trail Blazers and the Spurs.
- Joe Johnson: Earned nearly $90 million during his best years with the Hawks, followed by a lucrative contract with the Nets.
- Jimmy Butler: Earned $218.1 million in his career, with his highest earnings from the Heat.
- Jrue Holiday: Made $219.1 million, with his highest earnings coming from his time with the Bucks.
- Pau Gasol: Earned just under $220 million in his 18-year career, with his peak earnings from his time with the Lakers.
- Bradley Beal: Earned $221.1 million and has a unique contract with the Wizards.
- Klay Thompson: Accumulated $222.9 million in his 12-year career, all with the Warriors.
- Anthony Davis: Made $226 million and won an NBA title with the Lakers.
- DeMar DeRozan: Earned over $26 million per season in his last seven seasons with different teams.
- Kawhi Leonard: Made a minimum of $34 million annually with the Clippers despite injury issues.
- Kyrie Irving: Earned $233 million with the Wizards, Celtics, Nets, and Mavericks, signing a notable contract with the Mavericks.
- Damian Lillard: Made $233.7 million and is among the highest-paid players wherever he goes next.
- Gordon Hayward: Despite injuries, made over $236.8 million in his 13-year career with the Jazz, Celtics, and Hornets.
- Chris Bosh: Earned over $239 million during his 13-year career, winning titles with the Heat.
- Tim Duncan: Made around $20 million annually just three times in his 19-year career with the Spurs.
- Dwight Howard: Earned $245.1 million in 18 seasons, excelling as a two-way player.
- Kyle Lowry: Accumulated $245.3 million over 17 NBA seasons with the Grizzlies, Rockets, Raptors, and Heat.
- Mike Conley: Earned nearly $250 million in his 16-year career with the Grizzlies, Jazz, and Timberwolves.
These players fall into Tier 5 due to their career earnings between $200 and $250 million.
Tier 4 – $250 Million-$299 Million
In Tier 4, we’ll look at eight NBA players who earned between $250 million and $300 million in their careers:
- Dirk Nowitzki: Over 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, he earned $251.6 million, with respect shown through high earnings even in his later years.
- Blake Griffin: In 13 seasons, he made $258.7 million, known for his exciting play with the Clippers and Pistons.
- Paul George: Earnings of $259.7 million over 13 years with the Pacers, Thunder, and Clippers, with recent controversy around his earnings.
- Carmelo Anthony: Accumulated $262.5 million over 19 seasons, lauded for his scoring abilities in his prime.
- Al Horford: Made $265.8 million in 16 seasons with the Hawks, Thunder, Celtics, and 76ers, but some consider his earnings excessive.
- Kevin Love: Earned $265.8 million in 15 years with the Timberwolves, Cavaliers, and Heat, considered by some to be overpaid.
- John Wall: Accumulated $276.5 million in 13 years, facing both highs and lows in his career and earning high despite limited playtime.
- Shaquille O’Neal: Dominant during his prime, he earned $286.3 million over his career, including endorsements and business ventures.
Tier 3 – $300 Million-$349 Million
In Tier 3, we’ll look at five NBA legends who earned between $300 million and $350 million in their careers:
- James Harden: Accumulated $301.6 million over his career with the Thunder, Rockets, Nets, and 76ers, known for his scoring prowess and MVP award.
- Stephen Curry: Changed the game with the Warriors, earning $302.8 million over 14 years, known for his three-point-centric play and multiple MVP awards.
- Kobe Bryant: Earned $323.3 million during his 20-season career with the Lakers, celebrated for his championships, MVP awards, and global impact.
- Kevin Garnett: Made $334.3 million in 21 seasons with the Timberwolves, Celtics, and Nets, known for his two-way play and championship mentality.
- Russell Westbrook: Accumulated $336.4 million in his 15-year career with the Thunder, Rockets, Wizards, Lakers, and Clippers, celebrated for his triple-double records and athleticism.
Tier 2 – $350 Million-$399 Million
In Tier 2, we have two exceptional players who have earned over $350 million in their careers:
- Chris Paul: Accumulated $359.1 million throughout his career with the Hornets, Clippers, Thunder, Rockets, Suns, and Warriors, known for his strong two-way play and consistency.
- Kevin Durant: Made $350.3 million in his 16-season career with the Thunder, Warriors, Nets, and Suns, celebrated for his efficiency, MVP, championships, and Finals MVP awards.
Tier 1 – $400 Million+
LeBron James stands in a league of his own when it comes to financial success and managing business affairs, being the only player to achieve a net worth of $1 billion while still playing and earning over $400 million from basketball contracts alone. With consistent high earnings, he hasn’t made less than $20 million in a season since 2014 and has consistently earned over $35 million annually since 2019. His impressive career includes four NBA titles, four Finals MVPs, and four MVPs, and he holds the record for the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Even after 20 seasons, he shows little sign of slowing down, set to earn $47.6 million in 2023-24 and with a player option worth $51.4 million for 2024-25. Given his contributions to the game, on and off the court, LeBron James has undoubtedly earned his position as the highest-paid player in NBA history.