The top 20 richest NBA players: Is anyone in the league a billionaire?

The top 20 richest NBA players: Is anyone in the league a billionaire?

The richest NBA players have undoubtedly paid their dues in the league, sweating it out on the court during playoffs. They have kept an amount of rivalry amongst incredibly talented players and historical basketball teams. But then, the players who make this list have distinguished themselves based on their on-court skills and how they have created their expensive brands.

richest NBA players
Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Photo: Mark Thompson, Kevin Winter
Source: UGC

When doing a roll call of the richest NBA players, it is not uncommon to realise that some have retired from active playing time. However, this is not to insinuate that players who are currently battling it out on the playing court every week are not making a humongous salary to build a net worth of billions of dollars.

Top 20 richest NBA players

The National Basketball Association has developed into one of the highest-paying sports globally. It is making millionaires (in dollars) of youngsters who otherwise might be languishing in the lower class of the American economy. Listed below are 20 of the NBA's wealthiest players:

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No NameEstimated net worthNationalityPositionPlaying career
1Michael Jordan$2.2 billionAmericanShooting guard1984 to 2003
2LeBron James1.2 billionAmericanPower forward2003 to date
3Magic Johnson$620 millionAmericanPoint guard1979 to 2000
4Junior Bridgeman$600 millionAmericanPoint guard1979 to 1987
5Shaquille ONeal$400 millionAmericanCenter1992 to 2011
6Vinnie Johnson$400 millionAmericanPoint guard1979 to 1992
7Hakeem Olajuwon$300 millionNigerian-AmericanCenter1984 to 2002
8Grant Hill$250 millionAmericanSmall forward1994 to 2013
9David Robinson$200 millionAmericanCenter1989 to 2003
10Kevin Durant$200 millionAmericanForward2007 till date
11Luol Deng$200 millionBritishForward2004 to 2019
12Dwayne Wade$170 millionAmericanShooting guard2003 to 2019
13Russell Westbrook$170 millionAmericanPoint guard2007 till date
14James Harden$165 millionAmericanShooting guard2009 till date
15Carmelo Anthony$160 millionAmericanForward2003 till date
16Chris Paul$160 millionAmericanPoint guard2005 till date
17Stephen Curry$160 millionAmericanPoint guard2009 till date
18Yao Ming$160 millionChineseCenter1997 to 2011
19Dirk Nowitzki$140 millionGerman Forward1994 to 2019
20Dwight Howard$140 millionAmericanCenter2004 till date

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1. Michael Jordan - $2.2 billion

  • Full name: Michael Jeffrey Jordan
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 17th February 1963
  • Age: 59 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York, United States

MJ, as he is fondly called, was a terror to opposing teams. He became famous quite early and signed many lucrative deals with teams and brands; he is said to have made a cumulative sum of $93.7 million during his career in the NBA. He has been retired for over 20 years, but his net worth continues to increase; he is worth $2.2 billion.

2. LeBron James - $1.2 billion

richest NBA players
LeBron James attends Netflix's "Hustle" World Premiere at Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Kevin Winter
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: LeBron Raymone James Sr
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 30th December 1984
  • Age: 37 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Akron, Ohio, United States

According to the latest estimation of LeBron James' net worth, the basketball legend is the second billionaire that the sport has produced. However, he is the only one to reach the milestone while still in active playing time for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers forward's fortune has rocketed to a billion dollars.

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3. Magic Johnson - $620 million

Is there a billionaire NBA player?
Magic Johnson speaks during the TSP Live 2022 conference at The Hotel at Avalon in Alpharetta, Georgia. Photo: Derek White
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 14th August 1959
  • Age: 62 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Lansing, Michigan, United States

This man, who retired from basketball after testing positive for HIV in 1991, is one of the most prolific personalities that the sport has ever produced. Magic Johnson's net worth is estimated at around $620 million. This is an incredible leap for someone whose total salary during his career was about $18 million minus endorsement deals.

4. Junior Bridgeman - $600 million

  • Full name: Ulysses Lee "Junior" Bridgeman
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 17th September 1953
  • Age: 68 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Lansing, Michigan, United States

This sportsman retired from basketball after making a decent salary after playing for a few years. Instead, he decided to invest the majority of his savings into the food business, primarily what is known as Wendy's food chain. He is currently worth at least $600 million because of his Bridgeman Foods Inc, which also employs thousands of job seekers.

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5. Shaquille O'Neal - $400 million

richest NBA players
Shaquille O'Neal performs on stage during Governors Ball 2022 at Citi Field in New York City. Photo: Mychal Watts/WireImage
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 6th March 1970
  • Age: 50 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Shaquille was one of the oldest players in the NBA until he retired sometime in 2011. He made almost $293 million during his playing time. He was also the face of many brands during and after his career but was mostly known as a serial investor in businesses like real estate, sports, and food. He is currently worth about $400 million.

6. Vinnie Johnson - $400 million

  • Full name: Vincent Johnson
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 1st September 1956
  • Age: 65 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Popularly known as The Microwave, Vinnie made a name for himself over 30 years ago in the NBA, and his name continues to live on. But then, he called it quits in 1992 and moved on to do other things with his life. His primary investment was founding a company known as The Piston Group. The company is worth about $3 billion, while Johnson is now $400 million richer.

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7. Hakeem Olajuwon - $300 million

Is there a billionaire NBA player?
Former Houston Rockets player Hakeem Olajuwon holds the game ball prior to Game 6 of the 2019 World Series. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 21st January 1953
  • Age: 65 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Lagos, Nigeria

Popularly known as The Dream because of his ability to dunk quickly during games, Hakeem is proof of the NBA's status as a life-changer. He earned about $110 million while playing in the NBA until 2002, and after retirement, he started investing in real estate. This endeavour has helped him pump his net worth to around $300 million.

8. Grant Hill - $250 million

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Former NBA player Grant Hill is seen during HBCU practice as part of 2022 All-Star Weekend at Wolstein Center. Photo: Arturo Holmes
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Grant Henry Hill
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 5th October 1972
  • Age: 49 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Dallas, Texas, United States

Grant was one of the highest-earning players while still playing in the NBA. He made at least $140 million in salary and an additional $120 million in endorsement deals with different brands. After retiring in 2013, Grant laced up his entrepreneurial shoes and went into a track of businesses in sports and media. He is currently worth about $250 million.

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9. David Robinson - $200 million

  • Full name: David Maurice Robinson
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 6th August 1965
  • Age: 56 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Key West

The former San Antonio Spurs player was nicknamed The Admiral because he was in the US Navy. He made impressive earnings during his NBA career, totalling about $116 million. After retiring in 2003, he launched a private equity firm that raised millions of dollars and later invested in real estate, among many other businesses. He is worth about $200 million nowadays.

10. Kevin Durant - $200 million

  • Full name: Kevin Wayne Durant
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 29th September 1988
  • Age: 33 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Washington, D.C., United States

Durant is one of the top earners in the NBA, thanks to his incredible talent and marketability, which has made him the face of several brands. He averaged at least $65 million in annual revenue. He is also a serial investor, leaving him on the list of top 10 richest NBA players with a net worth of about $200 million.

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11. Luol Deng - $200 million

nba salary
Luol Deng #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves walks backcourt during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Photo: Stacy Revere
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Luol Ajou Deng
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 16th April 1985
  • Age: 37 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Wau, South Sudan

Deng is another testament to how the NBA has been changing the lives of people who come from humble beginnings. He has earned over $100 million in salary in his playing career and is also known as a real estate investor with a cumulative net worth of about $200 million.

12. Dwayne Wade - $200 million

Is there a billionaire NBA player?
Dwyane Wade attends the 2022 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Photo: Taylor Hill/WireImage
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 17th January 1982
  • Age: 40 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Having grown up in a family struggling with almost everything, basketball was the shining light for Dwayne. The former Miami Heat player signed several endorsement deals with shoe brands like Converse and Nike. He made about $198 million in salary before retiring in 2019 and is currently worth about $200 million.

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13. Russell Westbrook - $170 million

  • Full name: Russell Westbrook III
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 12th November 1988
  • Age: 33 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Long Beach, California, United States

Russell is among the highest-paid NBA players, earning about $250 million in his career. This excludes the other millions he rakes in from endorsement deals with different popular brands. In addition, he dabbles in the real estate industry and has made a fortune buying, renovating, and selling condos and apartments. Westbrook's net worth is around $170 million now.

14. James Harden - $165 million

top 10 richest nba players
James Harden #1 of the Zappers celebrates during the first half against the Glacier Boyz during Fan Controlled Football Season v2.0 - Week Six. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Fan Controlled Football
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Russell Westbrook III
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 12th November 1988
  • Age: 33 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Long Beach, California, United States

James became a household name while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder but performed even better after transferring to the Houston Rockets. Arguably the highest-paid NBA player at some point, Harden made over $200 million in his first ten seasons of active basketball.

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15. Carmelo Anthony - $160 million

Is there a billionaire NBA player?
Carmelo Anthony, NBA All-Star & Entrepreneur, on Centre Stage during day two of Collision 2022 at Enercare Centre in Toronto, Canada. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile for Collision
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Carmelo Kyam Anthony
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 29th May 1984
  • Age: 38 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Carmelo is another player who has the NBA to thank for his grass-to-grace story. He became a basketball star, notably for the New York Knicks. He has earned over $90 million in salary alone and is known to have invested some of this income in the real estate, food and sports industry. Anthony is worth around $160 million at the moment.

16. Chris Paul - $160 million

  • Full name: Christopher Emmanuel Paul
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 6th May 1985
  • Age: 37 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States

This guy here still plays in the league, and it is alleged that he made about $446 million in total NBA salary at the end of his 2021 contract with the Phoenix Suns. He also earns between 10 to 20 million dollars annually from endorsement deals. So, Chris is currently $160 million rich.

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17. Stephen Curry - $160 million

top 10 richest nba players
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates with his NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award during the Golden State Warriors Victory Parade. Photo: Thearon W. Henderson
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Wardell Stephen "Steph" Curry II
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 14th March 1988
  • Age: 34 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Akron, Ohio, United States

Stephen is regarded as one of the best talents in the history of the NBA and is most notable for the ease with which he throws three-pointers from long range. Steph Curry's net worth is about $160 million, which is expected to increase since he is still playing in the league and earning a lot.

18. Yao Ming - $160 million

  • Full name: Yao Ming
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 12th September 1980
  • Age: 41 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Shanghai, China

Yao was built to be a basketball player as he stood at an intimidating 7 feet and 6 inches tall, making him one of the tallest men to ever step onto the court. His career with the Houston Rockets and Shanghai Sharks was remarkable. He still makes money from investments and endorsement deals, giving him a net worth of about $160 million.

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19. Dirk Nowitzki - $140 million

top 10 richest nba players
Dirk Nowitzki, former basketball player and European Championship ambassador, looks on during a press conference on the 2022 European Basketball Championship. Photo: Marius Becker
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Dirk Werner Nowitzki
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 19th June 1978
  • Age: 43 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Würzburg, Germany

The German national is regarded as one of the biggest talents to come out of Europe when basketball is the discussion. While playing for the Dallas Mavericks, he was a household name and earned a huge salary for his skill on the court. He made about $225 million in total NBA salary and is worth $140 million nowadays, even after retirement.

20. Dwight Howard - $140 million

top 10 richest nba players
NBA player Dwight Howard looks on prior to the game between Bored Ape FC and the Knights of Degan during Fan Controlled Football Season v2.0 - Week Five. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Fan Controlled Football
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Dwight David Howard II
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 8th December 1985
  • Age: 36 years old (as of 2022)
  • Place of birth: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

This American basketball player had an early start to his NBA career and made the most of it. He was one of the top earners during his playing career and made about $190 million during his NBA career. In addition, he had endorsement deals with famous brands, which has helped him maintain a net worth of around $140 million.

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Frequently asked questions

  1. Was Kobe Bryant a billionaire? No, he was not. Although his net worth was $600 million, he earned about $680 million in salary and endorsement deals while playing in the NBA.
  2. Is there a billionaire NBA player? Yes; Michael Jordan and LeBron James are billionaires.
  3. Who is the first NBA billionaire? Michael Jordan became a billionaire around 2014 and has grown that net worth to about $2.2 billion in 2022.
  4. Is LeBron James the richest NBA player? No, he is not.
  5. How rich is LeBron James? The Lakers forward's fortune is worth 1.2 billion.
  6. Who is richer Shaq or Jordan? Jordan is richer than Shaq; while Jordan is worth $2.2 billion, Shaq is $400 million rich.

This list of the richest NBA players can change from time to time depending on several factors. But then, the National Basketball Association has continued to be the financial silver lining for players whose lives might have taken a poor turn otherwise.

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