The NBA is definitely the most popular basketball league in the world. It dominates other American sports not only in terms of viewership but also in the average player salary. Stars in the NBA receive one of the highest salaries of all pro-athletes.
What is the average NBA salary? The average NBA salary is approximately $8.25 million a year. The NBA’s average player salary is the highest of any professional sports league. The figure grows gradually year after year and is tied to the salary cap that is formed through the NBA Players Associations collective bargaining agreement with the NBA owners. The lowest NBA Salary is around $550,000 and the highest NBA Salary is $45million (as of the 2021-22 season). NBA Salaries are also fully guaranteed, meaning they are often much more player friendly than many sports leagues.
Lamelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets earns a league average $8.25million Salary
The average salary is significantly higher compared to other leagues such as the MLB and the NFL. In the following article, we will have a look at salaries as well as some of the highest-paid players in the NBA.
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Why is the Average Salary High in the NBA?
A basketball player playing in the National Basketball Association, on average, earns over $8 million. This is twice as much as that of the English Premier League which is widely regarded as one of the most prominent and lucrative sports leagues in the world. In 2021 the Premier League’s Manchester city had the highest Premier League average salary at $8.7million – only just above what the NBA averages across its entire playing staff.
The, not so secret, secret to the NBA’s generosity is a new TV deal. The rights to 9 years of broadcasting matches cost media giants Turner and ESPN $24 billion – this is three times more than the previous agreement. The players benefit the most, due to their collective bargaining agreement that is negotiated through the NBA Players Association.
Interesting Stats to Consider
Of the 449 players on NBA teams, 109 receive $10 million or more. 58 of them are over $15 million. 29 players are over $20 million. So there are 95 players in the league this season, each earning more than all of the women‘s NBA players combined.
The total salary fund of all 12 teams for the women is only $11.1 million. At the same time, with an average annual salary of $75,100, it is the women’s NBA that is the highest paying women’s league in world sports.
Comparison With Other Sports
Of course, it must be taken into account that a football team has 53 people, a baseball team has 25, a hockey team has 23, and a basketball team has a maximum of 15. In addition, one basketball player on the court makes up 20% of the team, while a hockey player 16.7%, a baseball player 11.1%, and a football player 4.5%.
But there is a difference between the concepts of the average salary of a basketball player and the salary of an average basketball player, and the difference is significant. Suppose a team has 2 superstars each receiving $20 million and 10 other players each receiving $2 million. The average salary in such a team will be 5 million, but in reality, the average player of the team receives the same 2 million, that is, 2.5 times less than the nominal average salary.
To calculate the salary of an average basketball player, people use the median. This is a salary value that divides all NBA basketball players in half. That is, half of the players receive a salary, more than this amount, and the other half – less. The median salary for an average NBA basketball player is $3.83 million.
Highest-Paid Players in the NBA
The statistics regarding the highest-paid athletes in the NBA changes all the time from season to season. Here we will have a look at the highest-earners as of the 2021-2022 season.
Stephen Curry – $45,780,966
Steph signed a maximum contract with the Golden State Warriors for 5 years, worth $201.2 million in July 2017. By that time, he had led the team to the NBA championship twice, and he himself was twice recognized as the MVP. Throughout all these years, Curry has been underpaid by regular role players on other teams like Larry Sanders and Andrea Bargnani.
In the 2020/2021 season, Stephen Curry became the most productive player in the regular season having 32 points per game.
James Harden – $44,310,840
Over the course of his career, James Harden has accomplished many personal achievements. Such talent definitely deserves a solid contract, and the Houston Rockets agreed to a maximum contract extension until the end of the 2022/2023 season (player option) for $171.1 million.
However, some individual awards were not enough for Harden. After playing for Houston for almost nine years, he never made it to the NBA Finals. In the fall of 2020, James Harden requested a trade in order to move to one of the contender teams. As a result of a complex exchange, he ended up in Brooklyn, where Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant had previously moved. Harden is the highest-paid basketball player in Brooklyn.
John Wall – $44,310,840
Wall’s contract is rightly considered one of the worst in the NBA. In the 2016/2017 season, John Wall produced the best performance in his career. Thanks to this, he received the right to extend the contract.
The Washington Wizards could not offer Wall a new agreement and wait for the end of the old one, which was valid until the 2018/2019 season. But the leadership of the team was so inspired by Wall’s achievements that they immediately gave him a super-maximum extension for 4 years and $171.1 million.
It soon became clear that the Wizards hurried. Due to knee and heel problems, Wall only played in 73 of 164 games in the next two seasons. His statistics fell, and one could only dream of getting into the symbolic teams.
He requested a trade from Washington following general manager Tommy Sheppard’s announcement that the team would be built around Bradley Beal. It all looked pretty arrogant. Wall actually cooled off for a year and a half and eventually moved to the Rockets.