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Who was the first 100 million-dollar NBA player?

The NBA is recognized as being one of the best-paying professional sports league, due to the relatively small number of players contracted in the league as well as the league’s growing global popularity, but many could not have foreseen the extraordinary amounts of money that players would pull in. At one point, $100 million could be the sum of a superstar’s earnings over the entirety of their career, but that quickly changed that players would get that much in just one contract!

Who was the first 100 million-dollar NBA player? Juwan Howard was the first player in NBA history to sign an NBA contract exceeding $100 million. Ahead of the 1996-97 NBA season, Howard re-signed with the Washington Bullets on a 7-year, $105,375,000 contract. Outbidding the Miami Heat in a battle for Howard’s services. Howard’s total career earnings from 8 teams over 19 seasons were $149,014,155.

What was Juwan Howard’s career like?

It would be unfair to jump to Juwan Howard’s NBA career without covering his high-profile time in college basketball. Juwan Howard joined the Michigan Wolverines in 1991, becoming one of the players in the legendary “Fab Five” alongside Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson: all of the Fab Five except for King went on to have NBA careers. Howard, alongside the Fab Five and the rest of the highly-ranked Michigan program, went to two consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, but unfortunately lost both (the second loss is when the infamous Chris Webber timeout incident happened). Of course, the Fab Five and the University of Michigan became broiled in legal issues and scandals, but Howard was seemingly uninvolved (or at least not implicated).

After impressing during his 3 years in the NBA, Howard was selected by the Washington Bullets (now known as the Washington Wizards) with the 5th overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft. Reunited with another Fab Five member in Chris Webber, Howard impressed in his first year despite a late start and a bench role in the beginning of the season. He elevated his game even further in the 1995-96 season, posting arguably his best statistical season, even though the remaining core of the team missed significant time to injuries that season. Howard was named to his only All-Star Game that season.

After becoming a free agent, a battle to sign Howard after having a great sophomore season ensued between the Bullets and the Miami Heat. While the Heat had just about signed Howard, the league rejected the contract, citing improper salary cap calculations by the Heat, allowing the Wizards to swoop in and offer Howard the first $100 million contract in NBA history. However, Howard never quite managed to continue on the upward trajectory many thought he was on going into his third season. While he was still a good player for the Wizards, he did not improve, and his very large salary meant that people had higher expectations that his performances did not meet.

After 6.5 years in Washington, Howard was traded to the Dallas Mavericks midway through the 2000-01 season. Howard had short, consecutive stints with the Mavericks, the Denver Nuggets, and the Orlando Magic between 2001 and 2004. No longer the focal point of teams, Howard was still a double-digit scorer and a double-double threat on the teams he played. After being traded to the Houston Rockets for the 2004-2005 season, Howard began to further embrace the veteran role while his on-court production slightly fell although he remained a starter.

For the 2007-08 season, Howard began a bit of a reunion tour, first going back to the Mavericks and then the Denver Nuggets. He had a limited role off the bench for both teams as well as in short periods with the Charlotte Bobcats and the Portland Trailblazers. Howard capped off his career with a bit of stability and success, joining the Miami Heat (the very team that battled for his services many years ago) from 2010 to 2013, playing alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh to win 2 consecutive NBA championships. Howard retired in 2013 and joined the Miami Heat coaching staff for a few years, and has gone full circle as he is the current coach of the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team.

List of NBA Players with $100 Million Contracts – All time

Juan Howard was the first $100 million NBA player, but he certainly wasn’t the last. Up until the end of the 2023 NBA Season there have been 109 NBA Contracts signed worth more than $100,000,000. Below is a complete list.

RankPlayerAge at first yearYears of ContractContract TotalYearly Average
1Nikola Jokic275$272,020,000$54,404,000
2Bradley Beal295$251,019,650$50,203,930
3Giannis Antetokounmpo265$228,200,420$45,640,084
4Devin Booker254$224,224,000$56,056,000
4Karl-Anthony Towns264$224,224,000$56,056,000
6Stephen Curry334$215,353,664$53,838,416
7Luka Doncic225$215,159,700$43,031,940
7Zach LaVine275$215,159,700$43,031,940
7Trae Young225$215,159,700$43,031,940
10Joel Embiid274$210,112,000$52,528,000
11Russell Westbrook285$206,794,070$41,358,814
12Rudy Gobert285$205,000,002$41,000,000
13Stephen Curry295$201,158,790$40,231,758
14Ja Morant225$194,300,000$38,860,000
14Zion Williamson215$194,300,000$38,860,000
14Darius Garland225$194,300,000$38,860,000
17Kevin Durant324$194,219,320$48,554,830
18Klay Thompson295$189,903,600$37,980,720
18Anthony Davis275$189,903,600$37,980,720
20Tobias Harris265$180,000,000$36,000,000
21Shai Gilgeous-Alexander235$179,299,750$35,859,950
21Michael Porter Jr.235$179,299,750$35,859,950
23Khris Middleton275$177,500,000$35,500,000
24Ben Simmons225$177,243,360$35,448,672
25Paul George304$176,265,466$44,066,367
26Kawhi Leonard304$176,265,152$44,066,288
26Damian Lillard284$176,265,152$44,066,288
28Blake Griffin285$171,174,820$34,234,964
29James Harden274$171,131,520$42,782,880
29John Wall264$171,131,520$42,782,880
31Kevin Durant304$164,255,700$41,063,925
32De’Aaron Fox225$163,000,300$32,600,060
32Donovan Mitchell245$163,000,300$32,600,060
32Bam Adebayo235$163,000,300$32,600,060
32Jayson Tatum225$163,000,300$32,600,060
36Chris Paul334$159,730,592$39,932,648
37Karl-Anthony Towns225$158,253,000$31,650,600
37Devin Booker215$158,253,000$31,650,600
37Kristaps Porzingis235$158,253,000$31,650,600
37Brandon Ingram235$158,253,000$31,650,600
37Jamal Murray225$158,253,000$31,650,600
42LeBron James334$153,312,846$38,328,212
43Mike Conley285$152,605,578$30,521,116
44Andrew Wiggins225$147,710,050$29,542,010
44Joel Embiid235$147,710,050$29,542,010
44Nikola Jokic235$147,710,050$29,542,010
47Jimmy Butler313$146,396,031$48,798,677
48Kemba Walker294$140,790,600$35,197,650
48Jimmy Butler294$140,790,600$35,197,650
50Damian Lillard245$139,888,445$27,977,689
51DeMar DeRozan265$139,000,000$27,800,000
52Paul George284$136,911,936$34,227,984
53Pascal Siakam254$136,905,216$34,226,304
54Kyrie Irving274$136,490,600$34,122,650
55Kobe Bryant257$136,434,375$19,490,625
56Jrue Holiday304$134,997,333$33,749,333
57Deandre Ayton234$132,929,128$33,232,282
58Jordan Poole234$128,000,000$32,000,000
59Gordon Hayward274$127,829,970$31,957,493
60Anthony Davis225$127,171,313$25,434,263
60Bradley Beal235$127,171,313$25,434,263
60Andre Drummond225$127,171,313$25,434,263
63Jermaine O’Neal247$126,588,000$18,084,000
64Kevin Garnett216$126,016,300$21,002,717
65Jrue Holiday275$126,000,000$25,200,000
66John Collins235$125,000,000$25,000,000
67Carmelo Anthony305$124,064,681$24,812,936
68Joe Johnson286$123,658,089$20,609,682
69Tim Duncan277$122,007,706$17,429,672
70Kevin Love294$120,402,172$30,100,543
71Chris Paul364$120,000,000$30,000,000
71Shaquille O’Neal237$120,000,000$17,142,857
71Nicolas Batum275$120,000,000$24,000,000
71Tyler Herro224$120,000,000$30,000,000
71Gordon Hayward304$120,000,000$30,000,000
76Chris Bosh295$118,705,300$23,741,060
77Rashard Lewis276$118,200,000$19,700,000
78James Harden264$117,964,846$29,491,212
79D’Angelo Russell234$117,325,500$29,331,375
80Julius Randle264$117,089,280$29,272,320
81Chris Webber277$116,287,500$16,612,500
82Al Horford304$113,326,228$28,331,557
83Marc Gasol305$113,211,750$22,642,350
83Kevin Love265$113,211,750$22,642,350
85Gilbert Arenas266$111,000,000$18,500,000
86LeBron James256$109,837,500$18,306,250
86Chris Bosh256$109,837,500$18,306,250
88Andrew Wiggins274$109,000,002$27,250,001
89Al Horford334$109,000,000$27,250,000
90Chris Paul285$107,343,477$21,468,695
91Dwyane Wade286$107,186,000$17,864,333
92R.J. Barrett224$107,000,000$26,750,000
93C.J. McCollum244$106,633,449$26,658,362
94Otto Porter Jr.244$106,524,975$26,631,244
95Jaylen Brown224$106,333,334$26,583,334
96Juwan Howard237$105,375,000$15,053,571
97Alonzo Mourning267$105,034,200$15,004,886
98Jaren Jackson Jr.224$104,720,000$26,180,000
99Jalen Brunson254$104,000,000$26,000,000
100Jason Kidd306$103,572,000$17,262,000
101Kawhi Leonard283$103,137,300$34,379,100
102Rudy Gobert244$102,000,000$25,500,000
103Michael Finley287$101,141,999$14,448,857
104Shaquille O’Neal325$101,000,000$20,200,000
105Allan Houston306$100,387,500$16,731,250
106Anfernee Simons234$100,000,000$25,000,000
106Jarrett Allen235$100,000,000$20,000,000
106Kevin Garnett275$100,000,000$20,000,000
106Kyle Lowry313$100,000,000$33,333,333

These 109 $100 Million contracts have been given to just 84 players. Meaning some NBA players are lucky enough to have signed multiple 100 million dollar contracts in their careers!

James explains about guaranteed money on NBA contracts

Below we have the complete list of players with multiple £100 mill NBA contracts, including, the only player to ever have signed 3 100 million dollar NBA contracts!

Player$100 Million Contracts
Chris Paul3
Nikola Jokic2
Bradley Beal2
Devin Booker2
Karl-Anthony Towns2
Stephen Curry2
Joel Embiid2
Rudy Gobert2
Kevin Durant2
Anthony Davis2
Paul George2
Kawhi Leonard2
Damian Lillard2
James Harden2
LeBron James2
Andrew Wiggins2
Jimmy Butler2
Jrue Holiday2
Gordon Hayward2
Kevin Garnett2
Kevin Love2
Shaquille O’Neal2
Chris Bosh2
Al Horford2

Nicola Jokic is the only NBA player (so far) to have signed THREE NBA contracts worth more than $100 Million. He is also the current holder of the largest ever NBA contract. As he’s on the cusp of winning his 3rd NBA MVP, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Which NBA player has the largest contract in NBA history?

The NBA player who has the largest contract in NBA history is Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, who is currently on a 5-year contract worth about $272 million. Jokic’s contract, which was signed prior to the 2022-23 season, is due to him signing a supermax extension, and is worth roughly $20 million more than the 2nd-biggest NBA contract in history (Bradley Beal’s 5 year contract worth around $251 million).

When thinking of the first ever $100 million-dollar player in NBA history, Juwan Howard’s name is not one that many would expect. He had a relatively quiet NBA career, especially as a “Fab Five” member, but he was a more than serviceable player throughout his career. While the salary amount in hindsight seems quite high, perspective matters: he was the leading scorer on the Bullets and had made the All-Star Game in the previous year, and this was just his second season! The Miami Heat were also offering him a big contract, and if the Wizards wanted to keep him they had to beat the price the Heat had set. The Bullets/Wizards likely saw a young, potential star player they could build the franchise around, and gave him a big chunk of money. Of course, like many things in the NBA, it didn’t go as planned, and Howard bounced around the league for the rest of his career. NBA fans know that contracts can turn out terribly all the time, and Wizards fans are potentially seeing a Howard-like situation unfold before their very eyes right now as their current star player Bradley Beal is signed to a highly-controversial, $250+ million contract, the 2nd-largest in NBA history.