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Which NBA player has made the most all-time in career earnings?

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nba highest paid players all time

We know who the game’s greatest scorers and winners are, but when it comes to all-time career earnings, who sits at the top for the NBA?

Thanks to highly lucrative multi-year contracts, massive sponsorship deals and huge prize money, the highest paid players in NBA history have earned an absolute bucketload.

But who has made the most in career earnings?

This article will count down the top 10 NBA’s highest paid players of all time — all but one of which are still playing.

Can you guess who comes in at number one?

NBA, Lebron, Dwayne Wade
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The highest paid NBA players of all time

The stats for this list of the highest paid NBA players was published on Insider.com in January this year.

These figures, presented in US dollars, should only be seen as estimates of income and not the exact amounts they have earned. With new, lucrative contracts being dished to NBA stars regularly they are likely to rise at any time.

10. Al Horford ($239.1 Million)

Notable Franchises: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics

Drafted: 2007

Coming in at number 10 on the list of the highest paid player in the NBA is Al Horford.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Horford is a versatile center and power forward, known for his all-around skills — solid defence, passing and outside shooting. He is a five-time All-Star and a respected veteran, known for his leadership on and off the court.

9. Dwight Howard ($245.1 Million)

Notable Franchises: Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

Drafted: 2004

Despite being at the twilight of his career, Dwight Howard has been ripping Taiwan’s basketball league, having signed with Taoyuan Leopards. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, given he dominated the NBA as a center for 19 seasons.

Five of those seasons, he led the league in rebounding. Given his vertical running leaps measured at 39.5 inches, it’s no surprise the 6-foot-10 specimen consistently cleaned up off the glass. And he was paid accordingly.

8. Stephen Curry ($254.7 Million)

Notable Franchises: Golden State Warriors

Drafted: 2009

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Stephen Curry has been one of the stars of USA basketball for almost 15 years. He currently holds the record for the most amount of threes; a whopping 3390. And unsurprisingly, he also holds the record for the most buckets from beyond the arc in a season — 402.

The one-franchise megastar, who plays point guard, has the distinction of having the highest career free throw percentage (90.8 per cent) in NBA history*.

*At the time of writing — it may yet fluctuate marginally

7. Blake Griffin ($255.7 Million)

Notable Franchises: LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets

Drafted: 2009

Blake Griffin was a star from the first moment he hit the court as a freshman. Indeed in 2011, Sports Illustrated included him in their list of the 15 greatest ever rookies.

Griffin has enjoyed a fantastic career as a ball player, most notably as a power forward for the Clippers. He has always been regarded as an exceptional athlete with a penchant for highlight dunks.

He’s going to have no struggle finding new earning opportunities when he’s hangs them up, either, known as one of the more entertaining guys in the sport and having already tried his hand as a comedian.

6. Carmelo Anthony ($262.5 Million)

Notable Franchises: Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks

Drafted: 2009

In 2022, Carmelo Anthony called time on a stellar career that saw him turn out for six different franchises over 19 seasons.

A prominent forward, Anthony was a 10-time All-Star who will be remembered for his incredible scoring prowess and knack for clutch performances. He also had a potent mid-range game and was a domineering presence on the court, constantly causing defenders real headaches.

5. James Harden ($268.6 Million)

Notable Franchises: Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets

Drafted: 2009

James Harden is a superstar, known for his prolific scoring. Throughout his decorated career, the shooting guard has earned numerous accolades — including being named by the league in its all-time NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

Harden’s offensive versatility and iconic step-back three has made him one of the league’s most dominant scorers.

The Harden story, unfortunately, has taken a more disappointing turn of late; he’s shown impatience at his last couple of team situations and has proven to be unwilling to compromise and play a role best suited to his team. There’s no question his reputation has taken a bit of a hit, even if his bank account hasn’t.

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4. Russell Westbrook ($288.5 Million)

Notable Franchises: Oklahoma City Thunder, Washington Wizards

Drafted: 2008

It’s fair to say Russell Westbrook will go down as a legend. He is one of only two ball players in the history of the game to average a triple-double for the season — a feat he has achieved four times.

Additionally, he holds the record for the most amount of career triple-doubles ever in the NBA, such is the versatility and tireless effort he brings on the court. No wonder he has been paid as handsomely as he has since joining the league in 2008.

3. Kevin Durant ($306.1 Million)

Notable Franchises: Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors

Drafted: 2007

Kevin Durant features at number three on this list of the highest paid players in the NBA — thanks, in part, to one of the richest contracts ever dished out by the Brooklyn Nets.

He was traded to the Phoenix Suns during the 2022-23 season and still demanded a jaw-dropping haul of assets going back the other way, such is the star power of this seven-foot shooting machine.

The two-time NBA MVP power forward is as impressive on the court today as he was when he first burst on the scene as a rookie back in 2007.

2. Chris Paul ($330.7 Million)

Notable Franchises: New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets

Drafted: 2005

Nicknamed the ‘point God’, Chris Paul is an elite point guard known for his exceptional passing, court vision, and leadership.

He has enjoyed a distinguished career thus far, with multiple All-Star selections, and is considered one of the best floor generals in the sport. Over his 18-year career, Paul has represented several teams and is highly thought of in the game as being the consummate professional.

The only sour note to the Chris Paul story is the fact he’s never managed Championship glory, but let’s hope his career earnings soften the blow.

1. Lebron James (387.3 Million)

Notable Franchises: Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, LA Lakers

Drafted: 2003

lebron james, nba
NBA icon Lebron James

Sitting at number one on this list, Lebron James is the NBA’s highest paid player of all time. The four-time NBA champion and 19-time All-Star is right up there with Michael Jordan as the game’s greatest ever player.

Also, the game’s all-time leading scorer, Lebron has dominated defences for over two decades. Approaching the age of 39, he is still going strong — a testament to the man’s legendary status.

Basketball is a multi-billion dollar industry, and for the elite at the top of the game, it is a very lucrative sport to play.

While Lebron James is currently number the league’s highest paid player, with the popularity of the sport continually on the rise globally – and so too the pay-checks, who’s to say current younger players in their prime like Nikola Jokic, Tyrese Haliburton and Shai Gilgeous Alexander won’t knock him off top spot in years to come.

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