In the sports world, Michael Jordan is considered to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), the best basketball player ever. His three titles in the NBA (1996, 1998, 2001) ranks him among the best athletes of all time, and his $6.45 million salary in 1998 was the highest of all-time. In the NBA, the most paid player is LeBron James ($32 million in 2016), followed by Steph Curry ($30 million in 2015), Chris Paul ($28 million in 2013) and James Harden ($25 million in 2016).
Back in 1998, Michael Jordan signed a one year contract with the Chicago Bulls worth a whopping $33 million. Today, the highest annual salary in the NBA is $26.5 million, per one year. Jordan’s $33 million salary is more than twice as high as the highest annual NBA salary today. So, what does the future hold for the NBA’s highest paid player?
While Jordan’s first contract with the Chicago Bulls may seem like a lifetime ago, it was one his only cameos in the NBA, and his only appearance in the league’s annual salary release. The 28-year-old was the youngest player on the list at the time, and his five-year, $30.5 million deal was the largest of the year. In the days since, the NBA’s salary cap was raised from $44.6 million to $50 million, and contracts have gotten bigger and faster.
Although this is due to the amount of income NBA clubs and the league as a whole earn in each year, the amount of money players get paid in today’s game is incredible. Because the amount of money flowing in contemporary sports is unprecedented, players are being compensated in proportion to their worth to the NBA.
It’s time to rank the top-10 players in the NBA in terms of pay right now, with the exception of one legend from the past: Michael Jordan. Because of his tremendous skill and rock star-like popularity, the majority of fans and commentators who saw Jordan in the late 1980s and 1990s think he was worth more than $100 million each year. The top-10 highest earners today are determined by comparing Jordan’s income to today’s norms.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (#10) – $39.3 million
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been offered a max deal by the Milwaukee Bucks, making him a Buck for life. Giannis has been fantastic for Milwaukee this season, kicking off a championship challenger, and the club has done an excellent job of constructing around him. Giannis Antetokounmpo, widely regarded as the greatest two-way player in the game today, has rewarded the Bucks handsomely this season.
The Greek Freak won two MVPs and a Defensive Player of the Year Award, but his greatest accomplishment was leading the Bucks to their first championship in 50 years. Giannis has lifetime averages of 20.9 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game, and 4.5 assists per game with the Bucks, and if he keeps this up, he may be one of the all-time greats.
Paul George – $39.3 million
Last season, Paul George had a terrible season that drew a lot of criticism, but in the playoffs this year, he performed like a superstar. George averaged 26.9 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game, and 5.4 assists per game while almost leading the Los Angeles Clippers to the NBA Finals without Kawhi Leonard for the entirety of the playoffs.
George is one of the greatest two-way players in the NBA and deserves to be paid accordingly, but fans need to see him perform like he did this season before they embrace what he brings to the table every night. As of now, Kawhi Leonard has agreed to re-sign with the Clippers, ensuring that we will see George and Leonard together for the foreseeable future. George will be well worth the money if he can help the Clippers win a title.
Kevin Durant – $40.9 million
Credit: Associated Press/Frank Franklin II
Kevin Durant agreed to a four-year, $197.7 million contract deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Even though Giannis Antetokounmpo won the NBA championship this year, Durant is the greatest player in the world right now. For the Nets, Durant averaged 26.9 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, and 5.6 assists per game, with 34.3 points per game in the playoffs.
Durant has earned his money without a doubt, particularly after what he accomplished for Team USA at the Olympics. No one can score like Durant, and he will make Brooklyn championship challengers on his own. Durant is expected to win his third title in due time, with James Harden and Kyrie Irving at his side.
LeBron James – $41.2 million
Because he is the most well-known active player in the world, LeBron James should be the highest-paid superstar in the game today. He is also a worldwide celebrity in terms of his off-court activities and brand. We’ve never heard of any personal behavioral issues that have harmed his brand in any manner, no matter how spotless he is when he comes off the floor. Of course, for more than a decade, he has been the greatest basketball player on the planet.
By generating over $1 billion in revenue, LeBron is already a millionaire, so accepting a salary reduction to enable the Lakers to construct a team around him makes a lot of sense. James will be 37 next year, but his value to a team on and off the court makes him worth more than $39 million as long as he remains in the NBA.
Damian Lillard ($43.8 million) is the sixth-highest paid player in the NBA.
Damian Lillard is the franchise superstar for the Portland Trail Blazers, and he has a contract of over $43 million dollars to show for it. Nobody can dispute that Lillard is deserving of such a sum of money, given his dedication to his hometown and the amount of effort he has put in.
Lillard has averaged 24.7 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, and 6.6 assists per game in 682 games with the Trail Blazers. The six-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA performer has done all he can to help Portland become a championship contender, even making it to the Western Conference Finals in 2018. If Portland fails to develop a contender around Lillard quickly, they may lose their only chance to compete in the Western Conference.
Russell Westbrook ($44.2 million) is the fifth-highest paid player in the NBA.
Russell Westbrook, the 2017 MVP, has been a max-money player since becoming an All-Star in 2011. The best triple-double player in history has consistently performed at a high level every night, never deceiving his fans or his team with his effort. Westbrook wants to win more than nearly anybody else, even if he can be a little unpredictable at times.
By joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles, Westbrook has his greatest chance at a ring since 2012, and winning a title would be the frosting on the cake for his Hall of Fame career. Westbrook, who is just 32 years old, still has a lot left in the tank and can show to be one of the greatest players in the world by helping the Lakers win.
4. John Wall ($44.3 million)
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When the Wizards opted to back up the brinks truck for their No. 1 overall pick, John Wall had one of the worst contract extensions in NBA history. Nobody objected to the deal offer when Wall was healthy and in his prime. However, Wall has missed the whole 2020 season due to a slew of ailments that have forced him to play in fewer than 50 games over the last four seasons.
Following his Achilles injury, John Wall had some bright moments this season, averaging 20.6 points per game and 6.9 assists per game, but he only played in 40 games for the Rockets before undergoing surgery again. Wall may never be healthy again, but he is still earning top dollar and will do all he can to be a senior leader for the youthful Rockets.
James Harden ($44.3 million) is the third-highest paid player in the NBA.
Over the last eight seasons, James Harden has been the franchise superstar for the Houston Rockets, and his status as one of the best five players in the world has won him a huge deal. Since his arrival, the 2018 MVP has single-handedly transformed the Houston Rockets into playoff contenders.
The Rockets were in the lottery as soon as Harden departed. Harden is currently a member of the Brooklyn Nets, where he has a good chance of winning his first NBA title as part of a superteam. Although the Beard has been chastised for his playing style and the manner in which he departed the Rockets after earning such a large sum of money, there is no question that he is one of the greatest players on the planet.
2. Stephen Curry – $45.8 million dollars
No player since Shaquille O’Neal has had such an impact on the game as Stephen Curry. Curry has persuaded the whole NBA to alter their style of play to prefer three-point shots after O’Neal drew attention to post players and the league began to limit big players’ dominance. Every club in the NBA now plays a three-point-heavy offense, thanks to Curry’s (and Klay Thompson’s) three championship campaigns.
With the Warriors, Stephen Curry has lifetime averages of 24.2 points per game and 6.5 assists per game, and his influence on the team has earned him almost $46 million each year. Because the best shooter of all time is also one of the most popular players in the game, the amount of money he brings in to the NBA is impossible to calculate.
Michael Jordan is the richest athlete in the world, with a net worth of $55.2 million dollars.
Michael Jordan’s annual salary now would be almost $55 million dollars. Who could argue that this is too little, given his accomplishments as a player? Jordan was the greatest player in the NBA during his first season, and he was a 6-time NBA champion and 5-time MVP by the time he retired.
Jordan was the most famous player in NBA history, and his name is still remembered across the world. Jordan was unable to go down the street while playing and continues to be restricted now due to his exceptional abilities. Jordan is the highest-paid player in the NBA because he single-handedly brought in millions, if not billions, of dollars in revenue.
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The GOAT, or greatest of all time, is one of the most difficult concepts in sports to define. As one of the greatest players of all time, there are many who believe that he is worthy of being called “the GOAT”, as well as those who think he is not.. Read more about michael jordan salary 1996 and let us know what you think.
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