NBA players’ primary source of income is their salary. However, depending on their character on and off the court, they could tap into endorsements for different global brands. Here are the top three players who earn more from business deals than their NBA salary.
3. Kevin Durant (NBA salary $31.2 million / Endorsement earnings $34 million)
KD’s star power has not diminished despite getting some flak for his Twitter burner account and ring chasing. Durant remains one of the most potent scorers in the world right now, and he wins wherever he plays. Brands love winners, and it is not surprising that KD is among the highest-paid basketball player endorsers today. The Brooklyn Nets star collaborates with 2K Sports, Degree, Master & Dynamic, and Nike.
Aside from commercial deals, Forbes reported he has invested in Postmates and Acorns and has acquired part ownership of Major League Soccer team Philadelphia Union.
2. Stephen Curry (NBA salary $34.4 million / Endorsement earnings $40 million)
Curry is famous because he is a good guy off the court and deadly on it when playing for the Warriors. As one of the best shooters of all time, he is credited for changing the way basketball is played. If not the main factor, he is definitely an important one for the revival of the Golden State Warriors franchise. He accepted less money so that the team can sign other talents. The former league MVP also single-handedly carries the banner for the Under Armour brand. With him as the face of the brand, it became a household name in only a few years.
His Forbes profile says the son of Dell Curry earns well from deals with Callaway Golf, CarMax, Google, OXIGEN Beverages Inc., and Under Armour.
1. LeBron James (NBA salary $31.4 million / Endorsement earnings $64 million)
James calls himself “The King” and that it’s also true when it comes to earnings. As “Cash King” of NBA players who earn more off endorsements than salary, it’s hard to argue why. In the 2020-2021 season, his endorsement deals netted $64 million, twice his NBA salary of $31.4 million.
James has not been involved in any issues off the court. He is a committed player and a remarkable family man who also builds schools for the underprivileged. Some of his endorsement deals come from Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats By Dre, Blaze Pizza, and 2K Sports.
He also has an upcoming movie “Space Jam: A New Legacy” which is expected to boost his earnings. The 4-time champion has also invested in media production in recent years. James owns a production company called SpringHill Entertainment and a media company named Uninterrupted.
If Devin Booker wins the title and the Finals MVP, it will elevate his status in the league. As mentioned, brands love winners. He is still young, and if the Phoenix Suns play their cards right, it could be dominating in the years to come. Right now, Booker is making $29.5 million off NBA salary. He currently represents Nike and Finish line, per Forbes. If he wins it all, expect him to join the elite group of top moneymakers off the court sooner than later. Him dating Kendall Jenner also helps the cause because of the platform she has, which obviously gives him more visibility for various brands.
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