When sports fans hear that an athlete gets a $100 million contract, it sounds like an astronomical amount of money, but what they do not realize is that the athlete does not get to cash in on the entire amount. Uncle Sam alone will take approximately 44% of that contract, which already reduces the total amount to $66 million; unless you happen to live in places like Florida and Texas where they have no state tax. Additionally, most players have agents, and agents typically make about 4% of the total contract amount. So, with the combination of Uncle Sam and player agents, almost 50% of a player’s contract is subtracted from their total amount.
Now, earning $50 million out of $100 million is still a lot, but these are only for the max contract players. Players that sign a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum at slightly over $1 million have their paychecks cut down 50% as well, which gives them a total of slightly over $500k.
Obviously, your blue-collar fan is still screaming, that’s still an insane amount of money! And it is. So, it is even more incredible when you think about how much money that the top 25 richest basketball players in NBA history have made over their lives. Keep in mind that this is not only the amount of money that players have earned from their basketball salaries, but also the amount of money that they have made through endorsements and their own businesses during and after their playing careers.
Latrell Sprewell is infamous for saying that he could not feed his children with the amount of money that he was making from basketball. If that is true, and there is no way that it is, he should have taken a page out of these players to learn how to properly invest his money.
24 Tracy McGrady - $80 million (net worth)
The now retired minor league baseball player and former NBA player has a net worth of $80 million. McGrady signed lucrative contracts with the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets during his glory years. He even signed a decent contract when he played for the Qingdao Eagles in China after he left the NBA and briefly returned.
23 Patrick Ewing - $85 Million
The current assistant coach for the Charlotte Hornets has a net worth of $85 million. As the franchise player for the New York Knicks, Ewing was always the highest player on his team. And even after his long career playing for the New York Knicks, he cashed in on a couple more checks with the Orlando Magic, and the Seattle Supersonics.
22 T22. Reggie Miller - $90 Million (net worth)
Arguably one of the best shooters in NBA history, Reggie Miller was never trigger shy. The shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers loved playing for the city of Indianapolis and they loved him back, making Miller the face of their franchise. Today, Miller is a commentator on TNT and talks about the game that he once dominated from the perimeter.
21 T22. Alonzo Mourning - $90 Million (net worth)
Alonzo Mourning was one of the best shot blockers during his era. Zo was always undersized in the paint at 6’10”, but he had the strength of an ox, which allowed him to overpower his opponents in the paint. This allowed the soon-to-be Hall of Famer to become one of the best finishers and defenders in the game. Today, Mourning is a part of the Miami Heat family and has not left the team since.
20 T19. Vince Carter - $95 Million (net worth)
It will be interesting whether or not Vince Carter is able to make the Hall of Fame after he retires. However, one thing is for sure, he definitely got paid like a future Hall of Famer. And the great thing about the older Vince is that he has been able to modify his game, and has developed a very respectable 3-point shot, despite losing much of his athleticism.
19 T19. Amare Stoudemire - $95 Million (net worth)
There is perhaps no other NBA player whose contract is as publicly known and ridiculed as Amar'e Stoudemire’s. When Stoudemire was healthy, he was one of the deadliest pick and roll threats in the NBA. However, Stoudemire has not been a dominant player in the league for the past 4 years due to various knee injuries. Meanwhile, he is collecting hefty pay checks every year, despite having a minutes restriction on his playing time.
18 T19. Steve Nash - $95 Million (net worth)
Nash has made it publicly known that he wants to play another season for the money. Even though Nash may be one of the oldest players in the league, he wants to milk every penny that he can before he retires for good. But fans must never forget why he was paid so much money to begin with. The former MVP was one of the greatest threats on offense without having to score all that much.
17 Tony Parker - $97 Million (net worth)
Coming fresh off his 4th NBA Championship, Tony Parker has carved out for himself quite a nice career. The point guard for the San Antonio Spurs has established a reputation as an elite player in a point guard saturated league with title after title. Parker is the Michael Jordan of basketball in France and has numerous endorsements in America and France. Parker just signed a 3-year extension with the Spurs this summer worth $43.3 million. If you deduct the 44% tax and the 4% agent fees, that should come to somewhere around $97 million for his latest net worth.
16 T16. Dwight Howard - $100 Million (net worth)
It is hard to believe that Dwight Howard is still under 30-years-old, since he has looked so old over the past 3 injury riddled seasons. However, the big man in the middle has said that he feels healthier than ever and the Rockets looked poised and ready for a championship push this upcoming season. Howard has not broken the 30-year-old mark yet, but he has broken the 9-digit mark with a net worth of $100 million.
T16. Ray Allen - $100 Million (net worth)
Jesus Shuttlesworth has not only collected hefty paychecks from all of the NBA teams that he has played for, but also from two movies he starred in. The most famous Ray Allen movie was called, “He Got Game,” that he played in with Denzel Washington. Allen is a two-time NBA Champion and will go down as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. His net worth is $100 million, and that number may go up a little bit more when he signs his new contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
15 Chris Bosh - $105 Million (net worth)
The two-time NBA Champion has cashed in big time with LeBron’s Decision 2.0. With LeBron’s departure, Bosh is now the new face of the Miami Heat. The Heat rewarded Bosh with $118 million for the next five years, which is far more than any other team was willing to pay him. Bosh originally had about $46 million in net worth, but if you deduct about 44% from taxes and the 4% due to his agent from his new contract, that gives him a rough estimate of around $105 million.
14 Dwyane Wade - $110 Million (net worth)
Dwyane Wade will now have to prove more than ever that he is the same type of player that he used to be with the departure of LeBron James. Wade opted out of his contract that would have paid him more, but decided to share his wealth with incoming free agents. His newest contract is a 2-year deal worth $31.1 million. After taxes and agent fees, that should take his original net worth of $95 million to about $110 million.
13 Dirk Nowitzki - $120 Million (net worth)
The former NBA Champion now sees the light at the end of the tunnel, but he wants to win one more ring before he retires. Dirk has taken a tremendous pay cut with his new contract this summer, proving that he is all about the pursuit of a championship. However, that doesn’t mean that he has not received a little coin throughout his playing days either.
12 Yao Ming - $120 Million (net worth)
The 7’6” big man from China did not have a long career, but he had a very impactful one. Ming was able to cash in on $120 million through his playing career and with endorsements from companies such as Apple. Ming was very easy to market because of his Chinese background, humongous size, and likable personality.
11 Gary Payton - $130 Million (net worth)
The Glove needed several gloves to carry all the cash that he had accumulated after his playing days were over. Payton was the 2nd overall pick in the draft and was one of the greatest defensive point guards to ever play. He is also one of the best trash talkers to ever play the game. After his career had finished Payton had cashed in on $130 million.
10 Carmelo Anthony - $142 Million (net worth)
It is hard to say exactly how much Carmelo Anthony has made, but prior to his contract this summer, he had over $80 million in net worth. The lone ranger on the New York Knicks scored a five-year contract worth $124 million this summer, making him one of the richest players in the league right now. If you cut the 44% tax off his contract and the 4% the agent takes, it comes to around $62 million. Add that to the $80 million he originally had, and that adds to $142 million.
9 Tim Duncan - $150 Million (net worth)
The greatest power forward in NBA history has resurrected his career in his late 30’s. Fresh off his 5th NBA Championship, Duncan wants to play basketball until his wheels fall off. Like many aging superstars, Duncan has taken a major pay cut for the sake of his teammates, but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t made a buck or two during his illustrious career. Duncan has a net worth of $150 million, and if you ask Spurs fans, he was worth every penny.
8 Grant Hill - $180 Million (net worth)
Grant Hill was one of the most versatile players to ever play the game, but severe ankle injuries derailed his career. Hill was able to become a solid role player later in his career with the Phoenix Suns, but he was never the same type of player that he was in Detroit. Today, Hill has become a television personality and is the new co-host for NBA Inside Stuff. Hill pocketed a total of $180 million and is definitely enjoying his post-NBA life.
7 Kevin Garnett - $190 Million (net worth)
The 5th overall pick selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves has now been playing in the NBA for almost twenty years. With Garnett set to come back for one last hurrah in Brooklyn, he will be collecting another nice paycheck before he finally retires. Garnett’s net worth is $180 million; a well deserved for one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history.
6 Hakeem Olajuwon - $200 Million (net worth)
The Dream has become a personal coach for modern big men lately where he charges over $100,000 for his lessons, but during his own playing days, he was one of the best big men to ever play himself. The number one pick in the best draft class in NBA history (’84) won two consecutive NBA Championships. He was not only a defensive presence, but offensively, he had the footwork of a point guard. The Dream has earned a whopping $200 million with his salaries and endorsements.
5 Kobe Bryant - $260 Million (net worth)
Even at the age of 36, Kobe Bryant is still the highest paid player in the NBA. Kobe has signed several max contract offers ever since he came out of high school at the age of 18. Since then, the five-time champion has accumulated over $220 million (net worth) in salaries and endorsements making him one of the wealthiest players in the NBA. Not only is Kobe set for life, but so are his great, great, great grandchildren.
4 LeBron James – $270 Million (net worth)
LeBron has said on more than one occasion that he doesn’t want to just be a millionaire, but he wants to become a billionaire. However, LeBron is still in the prime of his NBA career and at the top of the popularity totem pole. LeBron spiked his value after his Decision 2.0 and return to Cleveland. The world is LeBron’s oyster right now and his net worth could easily triple before he retires.
3 Shaquille O’Neal - $350 Million (net worth)
Shaq was one of the most dominant forces to ever play the game. The four-time champion punished defenders in the paint with his size and speed. Today, Shaq has also become a television icon. The host of “Shaqtin the Fool” has added even more personality to the TNT crew on Thursday nights. With television, movies, commercials, video games, and a long career, Shaq has accumulated $350 million.
2 Magic Johnson - $500 Million (net worth)
Magic Johnson is not only a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he is pretty much the owner of the city of Los Angeles. Magic won 5 NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and is the greatest point guard to ever play the game. But where Magic really made his money was after his career was over. Johnson owns several successful businesses throughout the city of Los Angeles, making him as savvy in the business world as he was on the court.
1 Michael Jordan - $1 Billion (net worth)
The greatest basketball player of all-time and the current owner of the Charlotte Hornets has made a buck or two during his playing days and with his plethora of endorsements from Gatorade, Nike, Hanes, and Coke. Jordan is the only basketball player that can say that he is a billionaire and not just a millionaire. He not only ranks at the top for the best basketball world, but he ranks at the top of the financial world out of any basketball player to ever play the game.