LeBron James came to Los Angeles not just to chase another title and some legacy with the Lakers, but to position himself off-the-court now and for when he retires. It was a business move, not just a basketball one.
Business is good.
Counting salary and endorsements, LeBron will make $92.4 million this season, making him the highest-earning NBA player, according to Forbes Magazine. This is the sixth straight season LeBron has topped their list.
Here are the top 10 earning NBA players as calculated by Forbes:
- LeBron James, $94.2 million ($37.4 million salary, $55 million endorsements)
- Stephen Curry, $85.2 million ($40.2 million salary, $45 million endorsements)
- Kevin Durant, $73.2 million ($38.2 million salary, $35 million endorsements)
- Russell Westbrook, $56.5 million ($38.5 million salary, $18 million endorsements)
- James Harden, $55.2 million ($38.2 million salary, $17 million endorsements)
- Kyrie Irving, $51.7 million ($31.7 million salary, $20 million endorsements)
- Klay Thompson, $47.7 million ($32.7 million salary, $15 million endorsements)
- Chris Paul, $46.5 million ($38.5 million salary, $8 million endorsements)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, $45.8 million ($25.8 million salary, $20 million endorsements)
- Damian Lillard, $43.8 million ($29.8 million salary, $14 million endorsements)
No real surprises on that list, just expect Antetokounmpo to climb it fast as more endorsements roll in and he gets a bump to a new supermax salary in a couple of years (five years, $247 million). With LeBron and Durant both having production companies, they likely will stay e up at the top for as long as they keep playing.
Will LeBron’s stumbles with China impact his bottom line much? That’s an unknown and something interesting to watch, but it’s not slowing him down yet, and probably won’t be more than a small dent.
Also, don’t be shocked if Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Anthony Davis start to appear on this list after their moves to Los Angeles. While being in a big market doesn’t help as much as endorsements as it used to, being in that market on elite teams is going to add to the exposure, and that’s what companies will be drawn to.