The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most valuable sports leagues in the world. The biggest names that currently play in the league earn millions of dollars through their playing contracts which have risen dramatically in the last 30 years. The marketability of the top players also attracts global brands who are keen to sign them on lucrative endorsement deals. According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, LeBron James is the highest-paid NBA player in 2021 with expected earnings of $95.4M in 2021 – $65M from endorsements alone.
LeBron Highest-Paid For 7th Straight Year – $95.4M; $64M From Off-Court Activities
LeBron James is projected to earn $95.4M in 2021, falling just short of joining an exclusive club of athletes to have earned $100M in a single year. James is widely regarded as the current “face of the NBA”, making LeBron one of the most marketable stars in all of sports. It is estimated that the Laker superstar will earn $64M from endorsement, memorabilia and media deals, well above his projected playing salary of $31.4M.
James’s earnings for 2021 will be the highest single-year earnings for an NBA player in history and the highest of all-time in American team sports. LeBron is also projected to reach $1B in career earnings, $700M of which is estimated to have come from off-court activities. He joins Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the only athletes to have earned $1B while still active as an athlete.
Since Forbes made the above projections, news broke out that James had officially become a part-owner of the Fenway Sports Group, owners of historic teams Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC. In the summer of 2021, Space Jam 2 is set to hit the Box Office with James as its star and executive producer. It is believed he could earn more than $10M depending on the film’s success.
Stephen Curry Has Highest Playing Salary For Fourth Straight Season – $34.4M
The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is the second highest-earning NBA player overall but owns the largest playing salary in the league for the fourth season in a row. The 32-year old Curry is expected to earn $34.4M from his playing contract this season. Off the court, Curry is also one of the NBA’s most bankable stars, reportedly set to earn $40M in endorsements, memorabilia, and media.
Stephen Curry is arguably the best shooter to ever play in the NBA and is largely credited with changing how modern NBA games are played. Under Armour saw Curry as the perfect embodiment of their own brand story, an innovative newcomer seeking to disrupt the dominance of Nike and Adidas. It was the perfect combination for a fruitful business relationship.
After signing the former Davidson star to footwear sponsorship contract in 2013, Curry is now undoubtedly Under Armour’s biggest Endorser. In December 2020, Under Armour doubled down on its investment and launched the Curry Brand. The Curry brand is seen as a similar model to what Nike did what Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand. Steph is projected to earn up to $20M a year from the new brand which is expected to grow based on the brand’s success.