Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Because of this, it has a huge fan base. In addition to this, its fan base is consistently growing throughout the years. The NBA is arguably the best basketball league in the world as it has the best players in the world. There’s no question that these players are highly paid in order to perform well in front of the league’s beloved fans. Because of their high salaries, a lot of NBA players automatically become millionaires. On the other hand, other players use their paychecks to invest in other ventures which also allowed them to become financially successful.

For this piece, let’s take a look at the top 20 richest NBA players in history.

20. Yao Ming


Net worth: $120 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $10 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $93,390,336

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Nike, Reebok, Apple, Garmin, Visa, McDonald’s, and Yanjing), Restaurant Owner, Shareholder of Ablues Design, Owner of Shanghai Sharks Basketball Team, President Of Chinese Basketball Association

Arguably the best big man coming from Asia, Yao Ming made a name for himself in the NBA. After playing in the Chinese Basketball Association, the Houston Rockets drafted the Chinese big. Yao became an eight time NBA All Star and was named to the All-NBA Team five times. Furthermore, he was also inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 after retiring in 2011.

Yao earned approximately $93 million in his stay with the Rockets, according to Sportskeeda. Adding to this, his endorsements also allowed him to earn approximately $34 million while he was still an active player. Now that he the star center has retired, Yao is currently earning as a basketball executive, as an owner of the Shanghai Sharks and President of the Chinese Basketball Association. After making basketball big in China, Yao is now tasked to grow the reputation of Chinese basketball across the world.

19. Dwayne Wade

Dwayne Wade, Heat

Net Worth: $120 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $2 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $199,499,205

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Converse, Jordan, Li Ning, Gatorade, Lincoln, Staples, Sean John, T-Mobile, Topps, Panini, Hublot, and New Era), Investor (D Wade Cellars, Mars Reel, The Tie Bar, Stance), Commercial & Magazine Model

Dwayne Wade definitely made a mark in the NBA during his playing years which is why he is one of the most highly paid players in history. The Flash earned approximately $199 million in his stay with the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Cleveland Cavaliers. In his decorated career, Wade accumulated three NBA championships and was declared the Finals MVP in 2006. He was also a 13 time NBA All-Star and an All-Star Game MVP in 2010. His list of achievements in the league go on which shows how much he deserved to be paid highly.

Now retired, the future Hall of famer continues to enjoy earning from endorsements and model appearances. According to Forbes, his lifetime contract with Li-Ning allows him to earn $12 million annually. Furthermore, the former Heat player also supplants his income with his business ventures to maintain his lifestyle as a millionaire. Despite being retired, The Flash is still making moves, at least in the business world.

18. Tim Duncan

Spurs, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett

Net worth: $130 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $5 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $245,964,351

Other Ventures: Brand Endorser (Adidas, AT&T, Bridgestone), San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach, Owner of BlackJack Speed Shop

One of the greatest players in the NBA, Tim Duncan was also considered to be one of the highest paid players ever. In his 19 seasons playing in the league, Duncan won the NBA Championship five times and in three of those he was declared as the Finals MVP. The former Spurs big man also appeared in the All-Star game on 15 occasions. Duncan was also declared to be part of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020. The former first overall pick definitely deserved all the money he was paid for. According to Hoops Hype, Duncan collected around $246 million in his NBA career. He was also paid $2 million annually by his endorsements based on Forbes.

Dubbed as The Big Fundamental, Duncan simply couldn’t move on from basketball despite retiring in 2016. The greatest Spurs player returned to the franchise and is currently serving as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich. With all the memories and championships he gave for the Spurs franchise, there’s no doubt San Antonio welcomed him with open arms.

17. Gary Payton


Net Worth: $130 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $1 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $104,367,619

Other Ventures: Brand Endorser (Nike, Beats), Sports Analyst, Movie & TV Actor

Gary Payton also had a stellar career in the NBA. He earned the moniker, The Glove, due to his defensive prowess. Payton led the NBA in steals and won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1996. The Glove was also declared an All-Star on nine occasions and was part of the Miami Heat championship team in 2006. His NBA journey also included teams like the Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Boston Celtics. Aside from his championship with the Heat, his memorable stint was with Seattle. He is currently the franchise’s record holder in terms of most points, assists, and steals. His achievements eventually earned him a place in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

The retired Supersonics guard was highly paid as a player which is why he currently has a high net worth. After retiring, Payton is one of the basketball players that didn’t move far away from sports. On some occasions, he served as an analyst for the NBA and Fox Sports. Gary Payton would also become a TV show and movie actor. His movies include The Lego Movie 2 and Fear Not.

16. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

Net Worth: $130 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $40 million

Total Earnings from the NBA: $128,839,966

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Under Armor, Vivo, JP Morgan Chase, Brita), Owner of Unanimous Media

Stephen Curry is arguably one of the most popular players today. The Golden State Warriors’ spitfire guard was a focal point in ushering the three-point revolution in the NBA. Due to his sharp shooting, Curry collected various awards in the NBA, highlighted by two MVP trophies. Curry also helped the Warriors win three NBA championships. The hot shooting guard is simply sensational as he is a six Time All-Star that also led the league in scoring and steals in 2016.

With Curry being one of the hottest players today, there’s no question he is one of the highly paid players today. Aside from his salary with the Golden State Warriors, Curry also earns a big amount from his endorsements. The most notable one is his shoe deal with Under Armor which is a huge part of the $40 million income he earns off the court, according to Sportskeeda.

15. Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard, Lakers

Net Worth: $140 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $23 million

Total Earnings from the NBA: $240,096,336

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Adidas, Peak), Investor of Tapiture

Although Dwight Howard is currently a role player for the Los Angeles Lakers today, he was a dominant center back then. Playing for the Orlando Magic, Howard was a three time Defensive Player of the Year winner. He was also included in the All-NBA First Team five times. After his stint with the Magic, Howard has bounced around the league and played for five teams. However due to his dominance with the Magic, there’s no question that these five teams paid Howard a big amount to get him to replicate that same dominance. Unfortunately, the eight time NBA All-Star had a dip in his career during those times and was involved in a string of controversies and chemistry issues with his teams. But now playing for the Lakers, Howard has slowly started to become relevant again with his ability to play as a backup bigman for Anthony Davis and Javale McGee.

Howard’s net worth mainly stems from the huge contracts NBA teams have offered him. Apart from those contracts, the Lakers center also gets a huge paycheck from his latest shoe endorsement with Chinese sports apparel company, Peak. According to the Sports Rush, Howard reportedly earns $15-30 million per year from this deal.

14. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki

Net Worth: $140 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $5 million

Total Earnings from the NBA: $255,371,800

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Panini, Nike), Investor of Tiff’s Treats

Dirk Nowitzki was arguably the best player in Dallas Mavericks history. Coming out of Germany, Nowitzki made an impact in the NBA by ushering in the era of stretch big men. In his 21 seasons in the NBA, the German shooter has accomplished a lot in his career including an MVP trophy in 2007. The 14-time NBA All Star capped of his legacy by pulling off a championship run in 2011, where they bested the heavily favored Miami Heat in six games. Nowitzki would also be declared as the Finals MVP during that championship run.

The German shooter is currently enjoying retirement. His stay with the Mavericks not only benefitted his career basketball wise, but it also allowed him to be paid for what he’s worth. This includes a 4-year $80 million deal in 2010. Although he lost $72 million by choosing to stay with the Mavericks in 2014 according to Forbes, Dirk garnered the respect of NBA fans. Nowitzki has stayed away from basketball after retirement. According to Baking Business, Nowitzki is one of the celebrities to make an investment on a cookie business called Tiff’s Treats. It looks like the German standout is ready for life after basketball.

13. Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook and James Harden relationship

Net Worth: $150 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $38.5 million

Total Earnings from the NBA: $205,415,040

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Nike/Jordan, Subway), Owns a car dealership company

Russell Westbrook is one of the best guards in the league today. His all-around game and knack for triple doubles make him a valuable player for any team. The Houston Rockets star has the second most triple doubles in NBA history with 146, just behind the legendary Oscar Robertson. Westbrook also has the record for most number of consecutive games with a triple double stat line with 10. Because of his all-around prowess, Westbrook became a league MVP in 2017. He also won the NBA scoring title twice and led the league in assists on two occasions. The nine time All-Star is surely a force to be reckoned with.

Westbrook is an All-Star caliber guard that can help any team become a legit playoff contender. Because of this, there is no question Westbrook deserves a pricey paycheck. The Rockets guard gets paid $38.5 million per year, according to Sportrac, which is one of the highest paid players annually in the league today. Adding to this, his shoe deal with Nike/Jordan, according to Sportskeeda, is said to be approximately $15 million per year.

12. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

Net Worth: $160 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $2.2 million

Total Earnings from the NBA: $248,940,171

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Nike, Jordan, Nickelodeon, IWC, Steiner Sports, Panini, Foot Locker, PowerCoco, Isotonix, Haute Time), Investor of Nobody’s Pizza and The Ainsworth, Owns M7 Tech Partners, TV show actor

Lethal scorers get buckets and get paid. That’s just the case for Carmelo Anthony. Arguably one of the best jump shooters in the league, the sweet shooting swingman’s calling card is to score. The 10 time All Star first made a name for himself with the Denver Nuggets after getting selected third overall in 2003. Afterwards, he took his talents to New York. With the Knicks, Melo continued his scoring tenacity by recording the most points in a single game by a Knicks player with 62. Anthony would also win the NBA scoring title in 2013. However, Carmelo’s career started to decline after his departure with the Knicks. He would bounce around the league having stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and now with the Portland Trailblazers. Although he isn’t playing as the star anymore, there’s no question Carmelo Anthony is still a dangerous scorer when he is on the court.

Although Carmelo had a difficult time getting signed by NBA teams and his contract with the Blazers was a far cry from his previous contracts, he remains to be one of the richest players today. Aside from his NBA paychecks, Melo also sources his income from a variety of endorsement deals which amount to $8 million according to Forbes. As a businessman, the Blazers forward also partnered up with former Stuart Goldfarb, who is a former NBC executive, to create M7 Tech Partners. The company involves itself with digital media, internet, and technology. The NBA star also went on to become a tv show actor as well when he starred in La La’s Full Court Life with his ex-wife.

11. James Harden

James Harden

Net Worth: $165 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $38.2 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $185,482,251

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Adidas, Beats Electronics, Stance, BodyArmor, State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance), Investor Of Houston Dynamo

James Harden is one of the best scoring guards in the league today. After showing his scoring potential as a Sixth Man for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden emerged to become the main star player for the Houston Rockets. Harden’s ability to score from anywhere is his most valuable asset. Throughout his career, he has achieved the Sixth Man of the Year Award, declared an All-Star on eight occasions, and named league MVP in 2018. Aside from these, he has also led the league in scoring and assists on separate occasions.

Because of his achievements and star caliber talent, Harden can undoubtedly demand a multimillion paycheck. According to Forbes, he is the 17th highest paid athlete in the world. After signing one of the biggest contract extensions in history with the Rockets, Harden is in the top 20 richest NBA players in history. His performance also allowed Adidas to make him the face of their franchise, signing him to a 13 year, $200 million dollar deal.

The 10 Richest NBA Players Of All Time

10. Kevin Durant

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Kevin Durant, Nets, The Boardroom

Net Worth: $170 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $26.5 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $225,382,333

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Nike, Degree, YouTube, Master & Dynamic), Shareholder of Philadelphia Union, Investor of 40 companies

Scoring and winning are always associated with Kevin Durant. One of the most polarizing athletes today, the sweet shooting forward is simply unstoppable on the court. After making a name for himself with the Seattle Supersonics and Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant shocked everyone when he took his talents to the heavily stacked Golden State Warriors as he gave them two more championship victories. Durant has been a league MVP, 10 time NBA All-Star, four time NBA scoring champion, and a two time NBA Finals MVP. His out-of-this world talent is desired by many teams. Because of this, he is now the highest paid player in the Brooklyn Nets roster after agreeing to a $164 million contract in 2019.

Aside from his on court achievements, Durant has also been winning off the court. The deadly scoring forward has also been winning in his investments. This includes a $15 million paycheck after Uber acquired Postmates where the Nets star invested $1 million, according to Forbes. Durant has also reportedly bought some shares of the Philadelphia Union from Major League Soccer. His YouTube channel has also found success as it garnered 800,000 subscribers while also teaming up with major companies such as Apple, Fox, Showtime, and ESPN. Despite being currently out with an injury, Durant simply continues to win big.

9. Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon, Rockets

Net Worth: $200 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $7 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $107,011,426

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Spalding, Etonic, L.A. Gear), Real Estate Businessman

Dubbed as The Dream, Hakeem Olajuwon is arguably the best center of all time. Equipped with unmatched footwork, Olajuwon was able to dominate opposing centers in the post during his era especially with his signature maneuver, the Dream Shake. Olajuwon has achieved a lot in his career which allowed him to receive enormous paychecks from the NBA teams he played for. His achievements include 12 All-Star game appearances, two Defensive Player of the Year Awards, two time leader in rebounds, and three time leader in blocks. All of these were capped by two NBA championships that also declared him as the Finals MVP in both occasions. After 18 seasons in the league, Olajuwon earned a mind-boggling $107 million.

The Dream supplanted his big NBA contracts with his endorsement deals as well. Although Olajuwon was very much qualified to become one of the faces of the Jordan brand, he decided to support the brand, Spalding, in order to address the sneaker killings in his time.

According to The Guardian, Olajuwon said in his sneaker release “How can a poor working mother with three boys buy Nikes or Reeboks that cost $120? She can’t. So kids steal these shoes from stores and from other kids. Sometimes they kill for them.”

The former Rockets star definitely showed he can be a great person on and off the court. After retirement, Olajuwon is currently in the real estate business given his love for architecture.

8. David Robinson

Spurs, David Robinson

Net Worth: $200 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $7.9 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $114,448,123

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Doritos, Edge), Former board member of the USAA Federal Savings Bank, Board member of the United States Naval Academy Foundation and Centerplate, Venture Capitalist and Advisor

David Robinson is certainly one of the best big men in the NBA. He made his presence felt for the San Antonio Spurs, as he earned the moniker The Admiral. Robinson had an emphatic career with the Spurs. He was a 10 time NBA All-Star that has led the NBA in scoring, rebounding, and blocking on different seasons. The Admiral has also won the Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and league MVP in his career. His legacy was highlighted by two NBA championships. There’s no question Robinson’s efforts were compensated financially, especially during the 2000-2001 season when he was paid $14.7 million by the Spurs franchise according to Hoops Hype.

After an emphatic career in the NBA, Robinson is still making winning moves off the court as a venture capitalist. He is one of the co-founders of the Admiral Capital Group, which involves itself in private equity and the real estate industry according to CNBC. The firm has invested a total amount of $300 million on transactions that are worth more than $1.5 billion.

7. Grant Hill

Grant Hill

Net Worth: $250 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $1.98 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $141,008,544

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Fila, Sprite, McDonald’s, Tag Heur, AT&T), TV show actor and host, Sports Broadcaster, Owner of Hill Ventures, Co-Owner of the Atlanta Hawks

Grant Hill was definitely one of the best forwards to play in the NBA.  The most notable aspect in his play is his all-around abilities. Hill had thee ability to score and to set up the team’s offense like a court general. He immediately made an impact in the league by winning the Rookie of the Year alongside Jason Kidd. During his sophomore year, he led the NBA in terms of most triple doubles in a single season with 10. Furthermore, Hill would go on to achieve a lot more in his career. He would be declared an NBA All-Star in seven occasions and would be part of the All-NBA Team five times. Although Hill was hampered by foot injuries, he did enough to his career to be declared as a Hall-of-Famer in 2014.

Hill is definitely one of the biggest what-ifs. It lingers on people’s thoughts on what would’ve happened had he been healthy throughout his career. But despite what happened, Hill is definitely one of the highest paid athletes. His 7th spot in this list mostly stems from a big contract he signed before being traded to the Orlando Magic. This contract amounted to $92.8 million.

Now retired, Hill didn’t move far away from the basketball. He would make appearances for NBA TV and CBS Sports as a broadcaster or host. Hill would also become one of the co-owners of the Atlanta Hawks. Hill has also started looking past basketball, as worked as a co-host with Rikki Lake during MTV VMA’s. Aside from this, Hill is also earning from his company, Hill Ventures, which deals with housing projects. The former Orlando Magic swingman had a successful career in basketball, and he is surely doing a good job in his life outside basketball.

6. Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal

Net Worth: $400 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $27.7 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $292,198,327

Other Ventures: Brand endorsements (Icy Hot, Vitamin Water, Burger King, Kraft Foods, Pepsi, Comcast, Radio Shack, Taco Bell, The General, Reebok, Buick, Monster Headphones), Own line of Shaq shoes, Board member of Papa John’s, Movie actor, Sports Analyst

Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most dominant centers to take over the NBA. His size and strength were simply overwhelming for opposing centers especially in the paint. Shaq took over the league, as soon as he played in his rookie year, claiming Rookie of the Year honors. Shaq would eventually take his talents to Los Angeles and won three straight NBA championships where he was also declared the Finals MVP in all three of those occasions. Afterwards, he would have stopovers with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics. The talented center would win his last championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. His unmatched back to the basket abilities earned him 15 trips to the All-Star game , two scoring titles, and a league MVP trophy under his name. Although Shaq struggled a lot from the free throw line, he made up for it with commanding rebounds and overpowering buckets in the paint.

Shaq’s dominance and star power were heavily desired by many teams. Because of this, there’s no doubt that NBA teams are willing to pay millions to the All-Star center. This includes the 7-year, $41 million rookie contract offered by the Orlando Magic which was one of the biggest rookie contracts in NBA history. Aside from his enormous NBA paychecks, Shaq also benefitted financially from his endorsements that included big names such as Burger King, Taco Bell, and Buick. According to Investopedia, he reportedly earned millions from these endorsement deals.

With Shaq growing his celebrity status, the former Lakers star even released four rap albums. He would also make movie appearances, including the basketball movie Blue Chips and romantic comedy film Blended. Now retired, Shaq is currently one of the analysts for the NBA. In addition to this, he also made sufficient preparations for life after basketball which includes his investment in Papa John’s and income from his own line of shoes. All of his various income streams allowed him to maintain the multi-millionaire status.

5. Lebron James

LeBron James, Lakers, More Than A Vote

Net Worth: $450 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $37.44 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $306,984,009

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Nike, Cola-Cola, Beats by Dre, Blaze Pizza, 2k Sports, Rimowa, Upper Deck, State Farm Insurance, Audemars Piguet, Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins, Kia Motors, Verizon, Intel, Samsung, McDonald’s), Franchise Owner of Blaze Pizza, Stakeholder of Liverpool F.C.

If you’re the best player in the world, there’s no question almost every NBA team would want you in their roster. Because of this, Lebron James is arguably the highest paid active player of today. It makes sense given how much James has achieved throughout his career. This includes the Rookie of the Year trophy, four league MVPs, 16 All-Star game appearances, and a scoring title. All of these were capped off by three NBA championships where he was declared the Finals MVP in those occasions. James immediately makes any team a championship contender. James has been to the NBA Finals on nine occasions.

Because of his presence and achievements on the court, James is definitely in position to ask for a fat paycheck from any NBA team that wants his services. Because of this, he was able to bag a $153 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. His presence on the court has also allowed him to garner endorsement deals such as Nike. According to Forbes, his lifetime deal with Nike amounts to around $1 billion. Outside of basketball, James has also been making investments as this includes becoming a franchise owner of Blaze Pizza and acquiring a stake in football club, Liverpool based on the article of MSN.

James is approaching the latter part of his career. However with his endorsement deals and investments,  he is certainly ready to become financially stable even without basketball.

4. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, Lakers, Del Harris

Net Worth: $600 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $25 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $328,237,108

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Adidas, Nike, McDonald’s, Sprite, Ninetendo, Turkish Airlines), Venture Capitalist, Investor of Body Armor, Poem writer

Kobe Bryant will forever be remembered as one of the most hardworking players to succeed in the highest level of basketball. Because of this, he even makes a case to become the greatest of all time to play in the NBA. Kobe’s achievements include 18 All-Star game appearances, two NBA scoring titles, and a league MVP trophy. His legacy was highlighted by five NBA championships where he was declared the Finals MVP on two occasions. Kobe’s desire to win and Mamba Mentality definitely played critical roles in his memorable performances. Because of this, the Lakers franchise offered him multimillion dollar contracts to keep him in Los Angeles. This allowed him to become one of the richest NBA players in history.

Outside of basketball, Bryant was also starting to make an impact. He lived his retirement life as a businessman and venture capitalist, on which he co-founded the firm Bryant Stibel. Furthermore, his investment in Body Armor proved to be successful when Coca-Cola acquired a stake of the sports drink brand. Here, Bryant made millions of dollars. The Black Mamba would continue to make waves after basketball when he won an Oscar for the animated short film based on his poem, Dear Basketball. Unfortunately, his great start to a career outside basketball was cut short after a helicopter crash in January 2020.

3. Magic Johnson


Net Worth: $600 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $1 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $39,342,860

Other Ventures: Entrepreneur, Investor of LA Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks, Former Lakers President Of Basketball Operations

If there is a player that paved the way for basketball to be a lucrative sport, it would be Magic Johnson. The former Lakers star possessed remarkable talent that helped made the Lakers relevant in the NBA again. Johnson’s remarkable playmaking allowed the franchise to have a nickname Showtime. In his career, Johnson collected five NBA championships and three Finals MVPs. He would also be declared the league MVP three times. The 12 time All Star performed so well he became the player that earned the most lucrative sports contract at that time. Johnson signed a 25-year $25 million contract.

His career in the NBA as a player was successful which allowed him to earn a great amount of cash. Because of this, he didn’t move far away from basketball. Johnson had a short stint with the Los Angeles Lakers franchise as the President. It was said that he was paid approximately $10 million annually for the job. Aside from basketball, Johnson earns a lot as well from his investments which include stakes in the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and LA Dodgers of the MLB. His firm, Magic Johnson Enterprises, has also been relatively successful. According to Sportskeeda, has invested in big companies such as Burger King, T.G.I.Fridays, Sodexo, Starbucks, 24 Hour Fitness, and AMC Theaters. His successful career on and off the court allows him to be in the top five richest NBA players in history.

2. Junior Bridgeman

NBA, Orlando, Covid-19

Net Worth: $600 million

Annual Average NBA Salary: $350,000

Total Earnings from NBA: $4,200,000

Other Ventures: Board Of directors for PGA, President Of Bridgeman Foods Inc., Bottler for Coca-Cola

Junior Bridgeman wasn’t a basketball superstar like the rest of the players in this list. However, he did have a decent career in the league. He averaged 13.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. Unlike today, players in his time weren’t given multimillion contracts. The highest salary Bridgeman received annually was $350,000.

After retiring from basketball, Bridgeman eventually took an interest in the fast food business by working and studying the business model of Wendy’s. He eventually became the biggest franchise owner of Wendy’s and Chili’s with at least 160 franchises of the former and 120 of the latter. More importantly, he is the CEO of Bridgeman Foods Inc., which has turned into an empire, according to Forbes. The firm has recently acquired Blaze Pizza as part of its roster. Junior Bridgeman had a more lucrative career off the court as he found gold in the fast food industry. His Chili's franchises alone produced $3oo million in sales according to Celebrity Net Worth. Bridgeman currently runs a bottling plant for the Coca-Cola Company with his son in Kansas and its 18 distribution centers. Aside from this, he is one of the board members for the Professional Golfers Association.

1.Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, Bulls, Baseball

Net Worth: $1.6 billion

Annual Average NBA Salary: $4 million

Total Earnings from NBA: $93,772,500

Other Ventures: Brand endorser (Nike, Hanes, Gatorade, Upper deck), Businessman, Investor

Michael Jordan makes a case to be the greatest player ever to play in the NBA. He led the Chicago Bulls to two three-peat championships, where he was declared the Finals MVP in all six of those occasions. The 14 time NBA All-Star also won the Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year on separate occasions. His Airness also won the league MVP trophy five times. Because of this, Jordan is in a class of his own. There’s no question Jordan’s talent was special which was why he was paid highly by the Chicago Bulls. Before 2017, Jordan received the highest single season paycheck which amounted to $33.1 million, according to NBC Sports. The amount was much higher than the average team payroll during that era. On the other hand, Jordan has also earned a huge amount from his endorsement deal with Nike. According to Forbes, Jordan has received at least $1.3 billion from the well known sports wear company.

Currently retired as a player, Michael Jordan is still very much involved in the NBA world as the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. According to Reuters, Jordan owns 97% of the team’s overall shares. He reportedly bought the team for approximately $180 million. The Charlotte based team is now valued at $1.3 billion. Aside from owning the Hornets, Jordan is also a co-owner of the Miami Marlins from MLB. Outside of sports, Jordan has also made some moves as an investor. He has also partnered with Sportradar, Muzik, Gigster, Cornerstone Restaurant Group, and aXiomatic according to Forbes. With multiple income streams after retirement, Jordan is definitely winning in life after after an already successful basketball career. According to Forbes, he is the World’s Richest Athlete which is why he tops this list.