The road to becoming a professional athlete is difficult no matter what the circumstance. However it can be easier if you have the financial stability being born into a wealthy family. In the NBA there are players that come from both ends of the spectrum. Some players were born into poverty and very poor areas, but they rose above it to become a multi million dollar athlete. Other players have been rich their entire lives due to either their father playing in the NBA or their parents being successful in other careers.
Some of the players that were born poor are among the best players in the league, so that goes to show when players have to work hard to get to the NBA it benefits them in the long run. The best NBA players have some of the highest annual salaries in the world and even players on the bench make millions of dollars per season. Now, all of these players on this list are doing well financially, but it was not as easy for all of them to get where they are today. The two top players on the best teams in the league, LeBron James and Stephen Curry took two completely different paths to get to the NBA. One of them was wealthy and the other was poor but they both ended up at the top of the league. It proves that it does not matter how you were raised, it comes down to what you can produce on the court.
15 Baller: Jerian Grant
Jerian Grant is a role player for the Chicago Bulls and his brother Jerami also plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder in a similar role. They both could make the list because their father Harvey played in the NBA from 1988 to 2000. He was a relatively average big man, but still managed to earn over 20 million dollars during his playing career. 12 seasons in the NBA definitely makes a family financially stable, and their father is not the only person they grew up around that played in the league. His twin brother Horace Grant was a much more notable NBA name and was even an All-Star at one point in his career. He made a ton of money playing for the Bulls, Magic, and Lakers and was a four time NBA champion. Jerian has a long way to go before he can catch up to his uncle's accolades. Growing up around two professional basketball players definitely gave him and his brother the fast track to follow in their families foot steps.
14 Broke: Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has had a very difficult journey to become the NBA All-Star that he is today. Not only did he over come being slept on as a second round draft pick, but he had about as difficult a child hood as it gets and still managed to live out his dreams. Butler's father left his family when he was just a baby and then his mother was forced to raise the family alone in Houston Texas. When he was only thirteen it got even worse for Butler because his mother kicked him out of the house and he had to find a place to live, he mainly stayed with friends anywhere he could. Thankfully Butler ultimately found the Leslie family that took him in and helped him get everything he needed to get to the NBA. Now Butler is one of the most recognizable faces in the game and he never has to worry about his financial stability again because of his earned success.
13 Baller: Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is another player on the list who's father was a big name player in the NBA and his dad might have been the best one on the list. Jr. is a solid guard in his own right, but his father was one of the best shooters and scorers of his era and was more of a star. Sr. was a 5 time all-star in his prime and it is no wonder why he was one of the highest earning players as well. He made almost 50 million in his career and what is crazy is that Jr. will definitely make more because contracts are much bigger now a days. With his father having a boat load of many it is easy to say Hardaway had a comfortable childhood growing up. Last off season the Knicks signed Hardaway to a big deal worth more than $70 million dollars which is more than pops made during his entire career.
12 Broke: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is one of the best players of this generation and is a top five shooting guard of all-time. That is why it is somewhat surprising that he had it so difficult before he became the superstar that he is today. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago was rough for Wade because drugs, violence, and gangs were considered the norm in that area. From the time he grew up in the 80s until today his home town has been a difficult place to live for anyone. Wade used his basketball talent to earn a scholarship to Marquette University and get out of Chicago to get a fresh start. He carried Marquette to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament in 2003 and that catapulted him to be drafted by the Miami Heat 5th overall that same year. The rest is history and Wade went on to become the greatest Heat player of all-time being apart of all 3 of their NBA titles, he even got traded back there this season to rightfully retire with the team that drafted him.
11 Baller: David Lee
David Lee was once an All-Star caliber player in the NBA, but he has pretty much converted into a role player at this point in his career. At the tail end of his prime he helped the Golden State Warriors when they won their first title in 2015. However Lee did not need his solid NBA career to be wealthy, his family was already well off because his grandfather was a very successful business owner. E. Desmond Lee was a co-founder of the Lee-Rowan Company that he eventually sold for $70 million to Rubbermaid. His families riches probably made it easier for him to get to the NBA. Yet ultimately you have to have the skills to make it in the league no matter how much money you had access to growing up.
10 Broke: Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is a New York basketball legend because he carried Syracuse its only national championship in school history as just a freshman. Growing up Carmelo lived in New York, more specifically in the Red Hook projects of Brooklyn. During the time he lived there, his neighbourhood was the deeply rooted in the crack epidemic. When he was 8 his family moved to Baltimore which was just as rough as the place the place that he left. The street his family moved to was known as "Murder Ave" because of the high homicide rate in that area of Baltimore. Just like Ben McLemore a previous player on the list, Anthony escaped poverty and attended Oak Hill Academy in High School to make a name for himself nationally. Fast forward to today and Melo is one of the highest earning players of all-time. The one knock on his career is that he has never won a championship, but he will have a decent chance this post season playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
9 Baller: Gary Payton II
Every basketball fan recognizes the name Gary Payton and thinks of the hall of famer who was one of the best Seattle Supersonics of all-time, but now his son plays in the NBA as well. Dad was known for being one of the best defenders in the league, hence his nickname the glove. This reputation allowed him to become one of the highest paid players in the entire NBA in the 1990s and he earned more than 100 million in his career. Gary Payton II followed in his father foot steps at Oregon State and was a two time Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12, but he has not had as much success landing a contract in the NBA as his father. He went un-drafted and was cut from the Bucks after just one season playing for them. He recently signed with the Lakers but he has not played much since being signed last month. Luckily for him if he ends up out of the league he has a ton of money from his father to fall back on.
8 Broke: Derrick Rose
Like Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose grew up in the rough part of Chicago and that made it difficult for him growing up. His home town of Englewood Chicago is known for having one of the highest poverty rates in the entire country at 44%. Rose managed to stay out of trouble growing up because his brothers forced him to focus on basketball. He used that focus to get a scholarship from John Calipari at Memphis and was one of the best players in the country his freshman season. He took Memphis to being seconds away from winning a National Championship. This lead him to go number one overall in the next NBA draft and his home town team the Chicago Bulls held the pick. It was a match made in heaven with Bulls to start his career and he even was the youngest player ever to win the MVP award. Unfortunately for Rose and Chicago, his career went off the rails because of a multitude of injuries that he could never recover from.
7 Baller: Austin Rivers
Doc Rivers is known as a Championship winning coach, but he was also great player in the NBA as well playing for the Hawks alongside Dominique Wilkins. Austin even plays for his father now in Los Angeles for the Clippers and some people think that is the only reason he got the contract in the first place. Austin was a stand out guard at Duke yet he struggled early on in his career after being selected tenth overall by the New Orleans Hornets in 2012. He got a second chance with the Clippers and he has proven that he can be an above average player in the league. There is no doubt that Rivers had a ton of privileges because his dad is such an influential NBA figure. You could say that Rivers is still living off of his fathers name, but now that the Clippers have let go of almost all their stars he is actually one of their best players.
6 Broke: Ben McLemore
Ben McLemore came into the NBA known as a high fly act who could make plays using his big time athletic ability. He was a highly sought after prospect coming out of Kansas and was selected in seventh overall in the 2013 draft. Before all his college success and making it to the NBA, McLemore grew up in poverty. Apparently when he was drafted there were still almost 15 people living in his small 600 square foot home in Wellston, Missouri. It was so hard for McLemore growing up that the only time he was eating was at breakfast and lunch time at school. Luckily for him and his family he had the basketball talent to go and play at Oak Hill Academy which is one of the basketball programs in the country. This helped him get out of his poverty stricken home town and get the notoriety he needed to make the NBA.
5 Baller: Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson is one of the best shooting players in NBA history and sometimes that gets overshadowed because he plays with Stephen Curry who is the best three point shooter ever. He is already on track to become a hall of famer if he continues to win championships with the Golden State Warriors. His father was also an NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and he was also the number one pick in 1978 by the Portland Trailblazers. He did not earn as much money as the players do these days because he played in the 1970s and 80s. However, Thompson has also has had a long and successful broadcasting career working as the Lakers radio colour man for quite some time. All of this success definitely means that Klay was well off growing up. He lived grew up in the same area as the next player on the list in nice area in Oregon before moving to sunny Southern California.
4 Broke: Kevin Durant
Standing at 6'11 Kevin Durant is probably the most skilled big man of all-time and pretty much plays like a guard. If he retired today he would be a hall of famer because he is already an MVP, scoring champion, and a NBA Champion. Before he had all the fame and success of the NBA lifestyle, Durant struggled as a kid being raised by raised by a single mother who had to work long hours to support his entire family. That is why he famously got emotional and called her "the real MVP" during his acceptance speech for the trophy back in 2014. She raised them in Prince George's County Maryland that is on the eastern outskirts of Washington D.C. and the area is known for violence and poverty. These days Durant is one of the richest athletes in the world and is using his fame to meet with different companies to make investments that will set him up long after basketball.
3 Baller: Kevin Love
Kevin Love's father played in the NBA but he was nowhere near the player that his son Kevin is. Most of the Love family wealth is generated from Kevin's uncle who was one of the first members of the band the Beach Boys. Everyone knows about the Beach Boys classic songs and that lead Kevin to live very comfortably growing up. Kevin does not need any help from the Beach Boys residual income any longer, he is one of the highest paid players at his position. He was one of the the highest paid players in the league during his time with the Timberwolves, has signed two max contracts in his career, and he will surely get another lesser contract before he retires.
2 Baller: Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is arguably the most popular basketball player in the world right now and he was born into the perfect situation to become that. He has been around NBA locker rooms his entire life because his father Dell was a sharp shooter himself back in the day. Dell was never the superstar that Steph is now, but he played from 1986 all the way until 2002. 16 years in the NBA definitely means your family will be financially stable for generations. Steph's brother Seth also plays in the NBA, so he could have been included on the list as well. They both grew up in a nice neighbourhood in Charlotte while their dad played for the Hornets. At the end of the day Steph will probably have earned more than both his brother and father combined with all his endorsements and the large contract he just signed with the Warriors.
1 Broke: LeBron James
When he retires LeBron James will go down as one of the best basketball players ever and he is perhaps the most influential player of all-time. His decision in 2010 to go to Miami changed the way the league is run and is now more controlled by the players deciding to team up and create super teams. Like Kevin Durant, James was also raised by a single mother who had to provide and take care of his whole family. He grew up in the projects of Akron Ohio and his mother was only 16 years old when he was born. His father was an ex-convict who was never apart of LeBron's life. None of this stopped LeBron from becoming the global icon that he is today. He has earned over $120 million in his career and that does not include his endorsements and media empire that he has built.