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The 10 Richest NBA Players of All-Time

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Sports pay big, and professional basketball players are no exception to that rule. A career in the NBA can amount to a really big paycheck each season, as well as a multitude of endorsements, celebrity appearances and a huge fan base. Many NBA players who are really good at what they do go onto to make money in other aspects of life, from opening restaurants to starring in the movies to becoming businessmen. The NBA is a great place to play ball if you have the skill and talent required to play in the big leagues, like the 10 wealthiest players of all time.

(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Tiffany Raiford is a lifelong Floridian, wife to my high school sweetheart and mother of four littles (two girls and boy/girl twins...no, they are not identical and yes, I'm sure). My kids love to whine, so I love to wine. My loves include nap time, bed time, date night, travel and evenings and weekends when my husband is home because he handles all diaper changes.
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99 thoughts on “The 10 Richest NBA Players of All-Time

  1. According to CelebrityNetWorth, Junior Bridgeman, former Milwaukee Buck, owns about 160 Wendy’s and 118 Chili’s restaurants and has a net worth of about $400 million. That should place him on the list, I think.

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  2. According to CelebrityNetWorth, Junior Bridgeman, former Milwaukee Buck, owns about 160 Wendy’s and 118 Chili’s restaurants and has a net worth of about $400 million. That should place him on the list, I think.

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  3. Not all athletes waste their money. Many of today’s modern players could learn from them in terms of money management.

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  4. Did you notice all the white players on the list? Well I think it’s racist. Wouldn’t black people say that, if the list was all white. Would you say there is a double standard?

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  5. Kobe is now only even with the much younger James and the reason is clear…..he lost a fortune in endorsements in 2004 and never has recovered. That among other things was over the lifetime a billion dollar mistake.

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  6. Payton? What the list really tells us is of all the guys who made more and are not on the list. Athletes squander billions and rarely are seen donating significant amounts to raise others.

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  7. What might their wealth be if their arenas and even practice facilities were not paid for by taxpayers? More Trickle Up Economics.

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    • He should be fine. Reebok put a clause in his contract for a lump sum payment of like 25-30 million once he turns a certain age. It’s nothing compared to what he has earned, but that still some serious money.

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  8. Did you see that smile that Tim Duncan had when he met Gabrille Union…..that is a Genuine….I have thought about you in my sleep smile…..In my book just gave Timmy 7 cool points.

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  9. I actually find Grant Hill more surprising ….not that he has maintained his wealth but that he accumulated so much

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    • Grant had a lot of endorsement deals though. The Glove and The Dream didn’t have more than a sneaker or two if I can recall.

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    • Grant Hill is one of THE great sports scams of all time. he made a fortune over 15 years or whatever and probably never played more than about 4-5 full seasons as a starter. Completely racked with injuries for years at a time yet teams would still trade for him and sign him convinced he was the guy. God bless Grant Hill, he totally pulled it off!!!!

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  10. I would love to see more former players become owners like Jordan. With endorsements and such, it’s certainly possible.

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  11. The list is not right. Magic had a net worth of 500 Million before he became an owner of the LA Dodgers.. With that acquisition. he’s now at the Billion dollars status..

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  12. All players want to be on this list. They just get approached with so many investment offers (90%) bad that they just don’t know which ones to turn down. Most from family friends and childhood homies. jordan simply says no to everyone, LOL. Magic tries to help everyone by finding them work, not by investing in their schemes or giving them cash.

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  13. 1. LeBron is not considered in the top 5 players of all time by anyone who knows the game. 2. Magic Johnson is not “one of the best” point guards of all time—he is unquestionably the best point guard of all time.

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  14. while i admire the most of these players, i still think pro athletes are the most overpaid individuals on the planet and i never gave any of these people a dime if i could help it.

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  15. Grant Hill is truly one of the greatest scams in the history of sports. He took his status as seemingly the first Black guy to play at Duke, into some great initial hype. He was outplayed by Robinson as a rookie yet was awarded ROTY because the NBA liked his marketing potential. He played a few more years and signed a monster contract. Then he gets injured and bounced around and tricks some other team into signing a monster contract and still barely played. I’m not sure Grant Hill played more than 5 full seasons in his entire life, yet team after team were just convinced he was the guy. I didn’t realize he cashed in THAT much, and can’t think of a stronger dollar vs. games actually played ratio, than Grant HIll but God bless him, he pulled it off!

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  16. I think Magic deserves a special award since no one worked harder to make that money than him. I doubt he even made $100 million from straight basketball and endorsements in his playing career it was all his business moves in retirement. As opposed to Michael Jordan whose only skill was being anointed by the NBA and Nike as the most marketable figure in sports. All of his money comes from other people marketing his likeness and him getting his percentage. I’m not knocking him as its not his fault, but its not so impressive that he’s rich when you consider all that.

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  17. Magic, ShaQ, Grant Hill, Jordan, it’s hard to figure the rest of them out, nbecause all of the great ones back in the day were not get paid no money and just getting a few endorsements and sponsors.

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  18. Boxers have to pay out more people though. They have to pay their trainers, sparring partners, team and promoters + big time for every fight. NBA? They fly for free, free hotels, more endorsements, and stuff like that.

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    • I’m sure the expenses are no more than 4 million dollars. Besides, when you have a great team around you who knows their role and what their worth. The fighters still can walk away with 30 million for a nights work. Not bad.

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  19. And Grant Hill only played 1/2 the games……for ALL the money, then dumped on the two teams that didn’t dump on him. Stay classy, chump.

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      • Hab: You are correct. I was inartfully satirical, poking fun at political correctness. I supposed golf is the reverse, with the single exception of Tiger Woods, whose days as an elite in the sport may be numbered.

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  20. Magic for me, I mean I knew he was rich but half a billion? Hakeem and Magic must have invested plenty because they were not major endorsement type players. Magic opened some movie theaters and I guess sold them/his share of the Lakers. Hakeem must have owned a share of the Rockets to get that rich?

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  21. I was just reading in bizjournals that Jamal Mashburn has a net worth of over $200 million. He owns restaurant franchises (38 Outback Steakhouse restaurants, 32 Papa John’s pizza restaurants, and three Dunkin Donuts stores), car dealerships (owner of Kentucky’s Toyota on Nicholasville and Lexus Store of Lexington), real estate, and thoroughbreds.

    That’s much better than fellow UK alum, Rex Chapman…yikes.

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  22. How many of them really have that much? They may have received that much in pay before taxes and blowing it but how much is really theirs now?

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  23. How is it that Grant Hill is one of the richest players of all time. He hardly played. He spent most of his career injured. He must have had a great agent negotiating his contracts.

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    • Larry Bird is a legend and a superstar, just like Jordan; however, they were not paid as well as today’s players, and Jordan, for all he accomplished, was underpaid for even in that era.

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      • This. Jordan was horribly underpaid until the last couple years of his career. He made most of his money in endorsements.

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      • Jordan made $33.8 million for the 1997-98 season. no one is getting paid that much in the NBA anymore, except for Kobe…

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        • Yes but that was the first time… and its Jordan.. he was not getting paid like this all these years. HE MADE THE NBA SUCCESSFULL ON INTERNATIONAL MARKET.. HE DESERVED IT BUT HE was not making that all them years. He would of been a Billionaire long time aga!

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    • Bird was always shy and tried to stay out of the public eye. I am sure he passed on a lot of big opportunities. I am also sure we will not need to hold any fund raisers for him. His net worth is listed as $45 Million. Interestingly, his total basketball contract income, through his whole career was only $26 Million.

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  24. I guess folks like Karl Malone,Kareem Abdul Jabbar,James Worthy and Isiah Thomas
    were either paid less or squandered their money.

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    • Karl Malone was underpaid by the Utah JAZZ most of his career. Unlike today’s greedy trash like Lebron, Malone had loyalty to the team that made him and took less to stay there is entire career – for those of you who will choose to make an issue of this, Karl, with the blessing of the Jazz went to LA fro a final title run after John Stockton retired, and the Jazz were in a rebuilding mode. Ironically, the Lakers were upset by Detroit – probably because of an injury to Malone, who was ineffective in the playoff finals.

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    • During his pro career, Isiah’s highest earning season was 1991-1992 when the Pistons paid him $2.96 million, which is equal to $5.15 million after adjusting for inflation. He won the NBA championship with the Pistons twice, back to back in 1989 and 1990. He was also a 12 time NBA All-Star. I believe it is safe to say that Isiah did not squander his money but added to it.

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    • Karl Malone probably has to keep paying attorneys to try and clean his image from pedophilia–for that poor 11 year old he raped, made a child with, and paid her mother hush money for her psychiatric and prenatal care. The child by the way wanted to prosecute him, but in her state a minor couldn’t press charges, only her guardian could on her behalf and mom decided to take the dough.

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    • You might be right, Webbdog but the article didn’t discuss who earned more money during the course of a career. It was concerned about current net worth. I googled Webber and see that he has a current estimated net worth of $80 million, less than the others on the list.

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  25. dumb list because most are going to be from the last 10-20 years. peak of the top salaries was around 1998 to 2005, and they have mostly been going down ever since. Kobe is an exception.

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  26. Apathy,conformity lack of effort. Many audacity say racism or class. Segregation mention prior horrible example. Youth it’s only immediate acclaim. Then your discard favored. Achievements getting ahead without academic. Pursuit yes,majority players minorities. Owners corporate persons indulge. Stereotype these guys better are they? Increase of poverty lack of education achievements. Due, engross nature pro sports. Ideal example of men nothing. To defend Asian doesn’t. Worship sport stars I’ll play sports for college. neglect my career only few. Ever make the pros gamble. To get out what? Uncertain personal ordeals wake up. Richest are they investing tax write. Offs educational grants or technology pursuit. Never there clever endeavor. Impartial to fans dumb entails success! Eventually indifference going be exposed. K-12 decreasing okay for sports!

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  27. Magic shows what HIV will do for black men who are wh5%ores. Wealth is NOT a sign of the worth of a man. If it were, most of the black men in this list would be broke!

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    • Why would any one with any sense tip at a gaming table? The odds are stacked against you, and you are luck to win in the first place. Let the casinos pay there employees. They make billions off of gamblers, so why should the gambler subsidise their employees income?

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  28. Professional athletes in general make silly mistakes when they get their hands on money, especially if they are from the inner city. B. J. Johnson, who played briefly for the Denver Broncos, said that on Tuesday when the players got paid some of them headed straight for the Bentley car dealership. There is the case of a football player who earned $1000,000.00 one year, and went out and bought $500,000.00 worth of jewelry, a fool and his money will soon part. I agree with the actor Harry Anderson who said “I don’t understand how a fool and his money got together in the first place”, of course he was not talking about professional athletes. How difficult is it to know that you should save half of everything you earn, those careers in general are short lived, buy everything for cash, do not open a business, your business is playing the sport you are in, do not invest in anything, you are making enough money to insure you have a comfortable life after you leave the game, and tell your friends no when they ask for money. My accounting teacher, when I was in college in 1984, told us that if the average person in business could close that business, and walk away with $1000,000.00 free and clear after everything they would do it tomorrow. Simple rule of life, when someone comes to you to talk to you about your money they are not coming to help you, they are coming to help themselves to your money.

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  29. Gotta love this hard-hitting reporting from the Grant Hill section

    “still makes around plenty per year from his endorsements.”

    Guess I could never cut it as a reporter, how does one string together such an amazing line?

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  30. Grant Hill is a bum! I lived in Orlando the whole time he was perpetually injured. Then, after his 2nd or 3rd foot surgery
    he got better but instead of repaying the Orlando Magic back for all those injury years of carrying his enormous salary
    he left as a free agent and went to another team.

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  31. Kareem Abdul-Jabar was ready to retire and had already received accolades across America as he competed in what was supposed to be his final season. He had to play another year because he found out that his accountant had stolen all his money. It’s not only their own mismanagement that squanders athletes’ riches; sometimes they think they’re too dumb to handle their own money. Sometimes their employees take advantage. I’m sure that the accountant has been out of jail for years now; he’s probably living quite comfortably off the money he hid.

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  32. Michael Jordon was an outstanding basketball player.

    However, he is a lousy basketball Executive….
    Zero Titles!

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  33. I knew I shoulda kept Gary’s number!!! J/K But I didn’t know…cool of him for being humble and not showing it.

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  34. Too bad they didn’t give more detail about how Magic Johnson made most of his money through a series of savvy business ventures including Starbucks & Burger King franchises and his own Magic Theaters brand nationwide, as well as being co-owner of several pro-sports franchises.

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  35. This is a different subject. There were no comments on the story I just read. 5 players who would bet LeBron 1 on 1. They left out a few. The two people in their prime would be for me. DR J and Pistol Pete. Pistol Pete still holds the record for the best scoring average in college. After over 40 years it still stands. 46 point average a lot of times scoring more. He went on to play in the ABA just like doctor J and got hurt. Well just ask magic Johnson and Kareem who would win. Ask Bill Walton who would win. The sixers lost two finals to Portland in the seventies. Both 7 game series. Dr J didn’t have enough of the right people around to gel until 1983 when the sixers lost 1 game in the entire playoffs and it was the first game. They swept everybody including the mighty lakers in the finals. The defining moment occurred near the baseline close to the lakers basket. Dr got the ball right in front of Kareem. Magic was behind Kareem. Dr J took 2 steps jumped and twisted his body around Kareem and magic all the way under the basket and finger rolled the ball in the basket. Both Magic and Kareem stood there with their mouths open in amazement. That is against two of the best players in history. Where do you think Jordan got his moves. The greedy sob won’t admit it now but he did in his early days. Dr J would school everyone on the top 5 who would beat Lebron.

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  36. I don’t get their methodology…..it looks as if they have merely added up his life earnings. Is this before or AFTER taxes?!?! Are we to assume he spends nothing each year??? We know he lavishly spends, so how can I say earn 100 mil last year and 900 mil this year and be a freaking billionaire? After I have paid 20% in taxes (or whatever it is in the States) and LIVING EXPENSES, there wouldn’t be a billion remaining. Saying someone earned a billion in their lifetime and is actually worth a billion are two different discussions.

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