The Highest Paid NBA Players of 2023
Those who are talented enough to play at the elite level of basketball are among the highest paid athletes in the world. The sport attracts so much revenue that the teams involved can afford to reward their top players with seriously high income and bonuses. Those players are also free to top up their significant salaries via external endorsements, and the results produce some eye-watering figures. So, who are the highest paid NBA players in 2023?
Worth the Outlay?
Over 12 million people on average tune in to watch the NBA Players finals series. Those are impressive numbers, and they are comparable with other top events such as the Super Bowl.
Such interest allows the NBA to sell television rights at a premium to the live TV broadcasters. Advertising revenue adds to the coffers, while associated industries also benefit. The rise of sports betting in the US allows sportsbooks to publish extensive NBA Championship odds during their busiest periods.
It’s a perfect storm as far as the NBA Players are concerned, but who has benefited the most?
Stephen Curry: Golden State Warriors – $48,070,014
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is a multiple NBA championship winner, and he was an important part of the teams that won four pennants between 2015 and 2022. A Point Guard who breaks scoring records for fun, Curry is now looking to guide his Warriors team to a successful defense of their title as they work through the playoffs.
He’s been an NBA MVP on two occasions and that value is reflected in his exceptional salary. Along with his income from Golden State, Curry is supplemented by many endorsements and links with brands such as Under Armour, Callaway Golf, Rakuten, Chase and Infiniti.
Russell Westbrook: Los Angeles Clippers – $47,063,478
The much-traveled Russell Westbrook slots into second place on this list with revenue that tips the $47m dollar mark. The 34-year-old Point Guard is now with his fifth NBA franchise having crossed Los Angeles from the Lakers to the Clippers in 2023.
Westbrook has featured for the NBA Players All Star team on nine occasions and was the season’s MVP in 2016/17 when he was the league’s top scorer. The Clippers lost in the first playoff round in 2023, but Russell Westbrook has still made an impact. His team salary is boosted by deals with Nike, Pepsi, Samsung and others.
LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers – $44,474,988
At the age of 38, the great Lebron James is nearing the end of his playing career, but he remains a man in demand. He’s one of the top earners in the NBA, having helped the Lakers secure their 17th championship in 2022.
James won the MVP award in that finals series; and he’s claimed this particular accolade on no fewer than four occasions. His consistency and longevity has put him among the top earners for many years, and his impressive salary is backed by one of the biggest list of endorsements among any sports star. Nike, McDonalds, Samsung, and Kia are among the many brands paying to be associated with the great LeBron.
Bradley Beal: Washington Wizards – $43,279,250
Those who do not follow basketball closely may not be so familiar with the name of Bradley Beal. That could be due to the fact that he plays for the Washington Wizards; an unfashionable team whose solitary NBA Players championship came way back in 1978.
Beal is the standout player in an underperforming side and he’s handsomely rewarded for his efforts. The shooting guard has been with the Wizards for his entire career; and is a three-time member of the All Star team. A salary that exceeds the $43 million mark is boosted by endorsements from Verizon, Panini and Tissot amongst others.
Kevin Durant: Phoenix Suns – $42,969,845
There’s certainly no surprise with the next name on this list. Kevin Durant is one of the most decorated players in the NBA and he is worth every cent of his revenue. Now playing for the Phoenix Suns, the forward picked up his two NBA championship medals with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018.
Durant was named as the MVP in both of those finals, and that underlines his value to the team. At the age of 34, time is running out if he is to add to those two championships wins. Income from the Suns is backed by brand endorsements from the likes of Nike, Google and Beats by Dre.
Room for More
Many of the players on this list will continue to earn high salaries for years to come. Even in retirement, men such as LeBron James and Stephen Curry will be in demand as brand ambassadors.
There’s always room for more stars to rise up the earnings rankings; but the future NBA heroes have some world class talent to emulate.