Antoine Walker claims he ‘would’ve made $300 million’ in today’s NBA
Part of the rise of the NBA’s popularity in the 21st century has been a ballooning salary cap tied to the league’s revenue. Due to revenue increasing, players of all stripes—from the stars to role players—have seen gains in their salaries as teams dish out new deals in free agency. Former NBA player Antoine Walker is slightly envious of the salaries players are making nowadays.
Walker, a retired power forward and former sixth overall pick who spent eight seasons with the Boston Celtics and later won a championship with the 2005-06 Miami Heat, expressed confidence that he could have earned north of $300 million if he played in the contemporary NBA.
“I probably would’ve made $300 million in today’s NBA, if I could’ve played in this day and age! But I think it shows the skill level of big men. We’re seeing that big guys can do some of the things that small guys can do. It was a tough time for me when I was doing it; I used to get ripped for shooting so many threes,” Walker shared.
“But I really give Jim O’Brien a lot of credit. When he took over for Rick Pitino, he’s the one who instilled that confidence in me as a shooter. He’d say, “Anytime you get an opportunity to shoot, shoot it!” Once he put that confidence in me, I didn’t have a problem shooting. I wasn’t bashful. (laughs) I went out there and played my game. Now, playing that way is looked at as exciting. And it is fun to watch! Watching some of these big men take the ball full-court, coast to coast, and then seeing some of these centers be able to step out and shoot threes – guys like Marc Gasol and Anthony Davis – it makes for a fun style of basketball.
Walker instead earned a total of approximately $108 million in his 13-year NBA career, per Basketball-Reference. However, that doesn’t account for off-the-court endorsements and sponsorships that comes with being a pro.
Still, like Antoine Walker, one could only imagine how much would have players of the past like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird would have earned in the NBA if they play today.