The NBA is an incredibly lucrative business. Players are paid huge sums of money just to put a ball in a hoop. Current NBA stars are routinely getting nine digit contracts thanks to new TV deals and the massive revenue streams they bring to teams. While some players are smart about it all, a lot of them just don’t know what to do with that kind of money. Plenty of former players have gone bankrupt thanks to mooching “friends” and family, poor investments and, in some cases, just bad luck.
Of course, there are also plenty of former NBA stars who were smart with their money and are thoroughly enjoying retirement with tens of millions of dollars or more in the bank. Plus, unlike football and hockey players, basketball players are a lot less likely to deal with head injuries that leave them debilitated later in life. For money-savvy NBA players, retirement can be a pretty sweet deal.
Even in retirement, some players just can’t stay away from the game. Several of the successful names on this list have remained involved in basketball in one way or another. Whether it’s owning a team or becoming a TV analyst, staying involved in the NBA is a great way for former players to build their net worths even after retirement.
15 Chris Webber, $80 Million
During his playing career, Chris Webber earned an impressive $178 million in salary alone. A large portion of that came from a seven-year, $127 million deal he signed with the Sacramento Kings in 2001. His trade to the Philadelphia 76ers just a few years into the contract marked the end of an era for both Webber and the Kings. The Kings streak of eight consecutive playoffs appearance was snapped shortly after Webber's departure and Webber was never able to muster the same spark while in a 76ers uniform.
Fortunately for Webber, his basketball career didn't end on the court. While his playing days might have ended after a brief second stint with the Golden State Warriors in 2009, his broadcasting career is just getting started. As an analyst on NBA TV's Gametime Live and commentator alongside Marv Albert, Webber's maintains a strong presence in the basketball world. Throughout his career, Webber has also managed to give back to the community. Off the court, his philanthropic achievements include The Timeout Foundation and C-Webb`s Crew.
14 Dennis Rodman, -$1 Million
Dennis Rodman's net worth is shockingly negative. Although he won several NBA titles and was a key part in one of the greatest teams of all time, the former Chicago Bull is now broke. In fact, according to his lawyers, he can't even afford to pay a dime in child support these days. This is all in spite of the fact that he earned nearly $30 million during his illustrious playing career and around $220,000 on a game show in 2004.
Since then, Rodman has managed to stay in the public eye by doing things like becoming friends with evil dictators and appearing on countless reality shows, including Celebrity Apprentice. Unfortunately, his often over-the-top antics and befriending North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un hasn't earned him any popularity contests with fans. As such, revenue streams for the former All Star seem to be few and far between. All three of his marriages have fallen apart and he reportedly owes a significant sum of money to at least one of his ex-wives. All in all, Rodman's life after the NBA has been a pretty good example of what not to do.
13 Reggie Miller, $90 Million
Unlike many of the other players on this list, Reggie Miller didn't exactly come from humble roots. The Miller family was already heavily invested in sports even before Reggie came along. His brother was an accomplished baseball player and his sister, Cheryl Miller, is a Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold medalist in her won right. It wasn't much of a surprise then when Reggie Miller became one of the NBA's biggest stars of the '90s and early 2000s.
Miller played his entire career with the Indiana Pacers and led the franchise to several of its greatest seasons ever. He was the league's top three-point shooter for a time and even helped earn an Olympic Gold for the U.S. in 1996. Although his playing career ended over a decade ago, Miller has maintained a large presence in the basketball world that has contributed heavily to his growing net worth. He is now most commonly seen commentating games courtside with Kevin Harlan.
12 Steve Nash, $95 Million
Steve Nash's playing career ended pretty dreadfully. The struggling Los Angeles Lakers traded for the Phoenix Suns All-Star and gave him an exorbitant amount of money in the form of a three-year, $28 million contract. Unfortunately for both the Lakers and Nash, injuries ruined the rest of Nash's career and forced him into an untimely retirement.
Retirement hasn't hurt Nash's net worth. Although some of his time and money are dedicated towards his charity, the Steve Nash Foundation, the former NBA MVP is also heavily invested in several companies that provide him with a considerable revenue stream. Most notably, Nash is a partial owner of the professional soccer team, Vancouver Whitecaps FC. On top of that, Nash also works with companies such as Nike and Vitamin Water. As one of the most beloved basketball players of the last generation, Nash has apparently had no trouble increasing his net worth, even after a tumultuous end to his playing career.
11 Yao Ming, $120 Million
Yao Ming is by far the most successful NBA player to come out of China. In fact, if it wasn't for a slew of bad injuries, Ming might have turned out to be one of the most successful NBA players of all time. The seven and a half foot tall center was in the league for less than a decade, but in that time he managed to earn $93 million in salary and countless more in endorsements and sponsorships.
Fortunately for Ming, retirement has been incredibly lucrative. He and Kobe Bryant are by far the two most famous NBA players in China and he's greatly responsible for popularizing the game in his home country. At only 35-years-old, Ming has plenty of time left to continue to build his net worth. In the half a decade since his retirement, Ming has already increased his net worth by an estimated $17 million, mostly thanks to smart investments both in the U.S. and in China.
10 Antoine Walker, $250,000
Friendly estimates put Antoine Walker's net worth at $250,000, despite the fact that he earned well over $100 million playing basketball. Walker's story is a troubling one with a surprisingly happy ending.
In 2010, the former All-Star filed for bankruptcy. At that point, he was as much as $8 million dollars in debt. He had been arrested for a DUI and for writing false checks. to pay off his over $750,000 in gambling debt. Needless to say, things weren't going well for Walker, but then he started to turn his life around. Most of his possessions were seized, including the Championship Ring he had one with the Heat, but, by 2013, Walker was debt free. He has since gradually built his net worth and teamed up with Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment to teach other athletes how to better manage their money so that they don't make the same mistakes he did.
9 Tim Duncan, $177 Million
If there was one former NBA All-Star who you had to guess was smart with his money, Tim Duncan would probably be a safe bet. The man who was endearingly nicknamed "The Big Fundamental" has probably been putting his money into trust funds and safe investments ever since he entered the NBA.
Duncan is perhaps the greatest power forward in NBA history and it didn't come as much of a surprise when the Spurs handed him a seven-year contract worth $122 million. Thanks to the careful treatment of his body, Duncan likely could have squeaked another year or two and a few million more out of his NBA career, but instead, he decided to go out on a relatively high note. That being said, the Spurs recently announced that they waived Duncan, indicating that he'd likely still receive the $6 million remaining on his contract, further bolstering his net worth.
8 Gary Payton, $130 Million
For as great as he was during his playing days, many people have largely forgotten about Gary Payton for some reason. It could be because of all the great point guards that have emerged since he retired or because even in his prime he had to contend with the likes of Michael Jordan and other mega stars. Either way, it's safe to say that Payton isn't struggling in retirement.
The money-savvy Payton has managed to grow his net worth to a very impressive $130 million. Aside from investments and a consistent gig as an NBA analyst, Payton also invested in a pretty successful restaurant. It's called The Kingfish Cafe and it's located in Seattle, Washington, where he spent the majority of his playing years. The Kingfish Cafe brings Southern soul food to the northwest and locals just can't seem to get enough of it, even though they had to relocate. Maybe it's because it's a reminder of a time when the city actually had an NBA team.
7 Grant Hill, $180 Million
Grant Hill is among the NBA's all-time top earners, even though he played for considerably less time than many of his counterparts. He pulled in a whopping $142 million in salaries during his playing career. Plus, you can add at least another $80 million in the form of endorsements. Since his retirement, he's managed to surround himself with plenty of rich business professional through various means. Needless to say, he's been managing his money pretty well over the years.
In 2015, Hill poured a considerable amount of his net worth back into the NBA when he and others purchased the Atlanta Hawks. The deal, which also included billionaire Tony Ressler, was worth a reported $850 million, though it isn't entirely clear how much of that came out of Hill's pocket. Hill's net worth is also helped by the fact that he's married to professional singer Tamia Marilyn Hill, who is worth a reported $10 million of her own.
6 Hakeem Olajuwon, $200 Million
Hakeem Olajuwon was a baller on the court and an entrepreneur off of it. As one of the greatest big men to ever play the game, Olajuwon racked up a pretty big salary over the years. However, since retirement, he's become heavily involved in real estate and investing.
The majority of Olajuwon's work has been focused in and around the Houston, Texas area, where he played ball both in college and the NBA. One of his biggest paydays so far has come courtesy of the Houston Metro, whom he sold 17.3 acres of land for around $15 million dollars, about 13$ million more than he bought it for. Even while he was still in the NBA, Olajuwon was turning a profit in the real estate market. He once bought the largest available office building in Midtown Houston and rented it out while playing in Toronto. Even through the recession and after retiring from basketball, Olajuwon has managed to steadily grow his net worth.
5 Allen Iverson, -$1 Million
Although Allen Iverson's career ended only a few short years ago, the former All-Star is already (reportedly) flat broke. He trashed his money on a massive entourage and luxuries that exceeded even his lofty income. Although Iverson made near $200 million in his career, including the money he got from endorsements and merchandising deals, by the time he retired most of that money was already gone.
According to Iverson himself, he makes payments of roughly $125,000 a month to creditors on top of his mortgage payment. Unfortunately for him, his income nowadays is only around $60,000. Luckily, in 2001, as part of a contract, Reebok set up a $32 million dollar trust fund for Iverson that he wouldn't be allowed to touch until 2030 when he turns 55. Granted, his now ex-wife gets half of that money, but hopefully by then Iverson will be able to make do with just $16 million.
4 T3. Shaquille O’Neal, $350 Million
Even off the court, Shaq and Kobe seemed destined to be together. Each of them has a net worth of $350 Million and you can expect both of those numbers to rise consistently in the coming years, especially with rumors that a Kazaam 2 might be in the works.
On the court, Shaq was a money making machine. The fact that he was widely popular and immensely talented meant that teams were willing to pay him just about everything. When the Lakers signed Shaq in 1996, he went from superstar to megastar in an instant. The Los Angeles limelight allowed him to build a brand that was unlike any others. The colossal center would go on to win titles, star in movies, produce music, invest in stocks and much more, all of which have continued to grow his substantial net worth. As successful as Shaq was on the court, he has somehow managed to be even more successful off it.
3 T3. Kobe Bryant, $350 Million
Love him or hate him, Kobe Bryant is a marketing phenom. Between salaries and endorsements, he earned more than $500 million during his tenure in the NBA. His net worth has been helped considerably by that fact that he played his entire career in Los Angeles. It afforded him the opportunity to build a worldwide brand that stretches all the way to China, where his jersey outsells Yao Ming's.
Kobe is one of the greatest basketball players to ever live. Unlike LeBron James, who surrounds himself with the best players around (and we can't blame him), Kobe wanted to do it all by himself. While that sometimes rubbed other players and coaches the wrong way, it meant that Kobe was always first priority when it came to money. The Lakers paid him top dollar even when he was less than his best. Plus, Kobe is working hard to become an All-Star investor. From The Players Tribune to sports drinks, he's making his money work for him.
2 Magic Johnson, $500 Million
Magic Johnson is just as successful a businessman as he was a basketball player. During his career, Johnson earned a mere $18 million in salary. He has turned that, plus the few million in endorsements he had, into a massive fortune. Savvy investing strategies and smart business decisions have allowed Johnson to become one of the most successful retired athletes in the world.
After retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson invested in the team as a partial owner in 1994 for $10 million dollars. In 2010, he sold his stake for an estimated $60 million. Around the same time, Johnson also sold off many of the investments he had made in Starbucks for around $75 million. He then turned his interests to baseball and invested a significant sum of money in becoming a partial owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. All in all, Johnson has proven to be one of the most business savvy athletes in the world and his net worth proves it.
1 Michael Jordan, $1.14 Billion
Michael Jordan is the undisputed king of basketball, both on and off the court. He is the GOAT, but he was rarely paid what he truly deserved. During his NBA career, he was only the highest paid player for two years, despite his endless accolades. He finished his career with a total salary of a mere $90 million.
Luckily for Jordan, Nike knew his worth. His endorsements and dealings with the company have made up a large portion of his wealth over the years. However, one of the best business decisions he ever made was investing in the Charlotte Hornets. He now owns a nearly 90% stake in the team, which is worth more than $500 million. Unlike other former professional athletes who own only a small part of a team, the Hornets really are Jordan's team. As if Nike and the Hornets weren't enough, Jordan also owns several restaurants and a car dealership, plus his ongoing endorsements with Gatorade and Hanes, leading to his large net worth.
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