100 Highest Earners in NBA History

Posted on 28 Aug, 2012, by in Basketball

Two players from the Boston Celtics and one that was there for the past five seasons are in the top 10 earners in the NBA of all time. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are among the players to have the highest total career salary among all NBA players, ever. Garnett, who began playing in 1995 with the Minnesota Timberwolves, is the only player to have career earnings of over $300 million.

The active contract are included in the calculations, taking Joe Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets, along with his huge six year, $119 million contract he signed with the Hawks in 2010, to number six on the all-time list with $198.6 million. Garnett leads the pack with $328.5, followed by Shaquille O’Neal ($292.1 million), Kobe Bryant ($279.7 million) to complete the top three. From there, there’s a huge drop off to Tim Duncan at 4 with $224.7 million, Dirk Nowitzki at 5 with $204 million and JJ at 6.

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Interesting to see that Johnson is the highest earner of players who began their careers in the 2000′s, followed by Amare Stoudemire at 11th with $165 million in contracts. His teammate, Carmelo Anthony, is 16th with $161.2 million. He leads the 2003 Draft class, followed by LeBron James at 24th with $149 million, Chris Bosh at 28th with $143.9 million and Dwyane Wade at 31st with $141.4 million.

Interesting to see is how many players who actually got to play basketball in the 1980′s show up. Nine is the number – Patrick Ewing at 42 with $119.9 million; David Robinson at 45 with $116.5 million; Scottie Pippen at 52 with $109.1 million; Hakeem Olajuwon at 56 with $107 million; Karl Malone at 59 with $104.1 million; Reggie Miller at 68 with $101.3 million; Vlade Divac at 82 with $93.1 million; Shawn Kemp at 83 with $91.5 million and Michael Jordan at 87 with $90.2 million. Jordan was mostly aided by his two one-year contracts for his last two seasons with the Bulls, making a total of $63 million in those couple of years.

The most incredible name to see on the list? Brian Grant, who played 12 seasons in the NBA, putting up numbers of 10.5 points and 7.4 rebounds, never making a single All-Star game, making $109.8 million through his career, mostly thanks to the 7 years, $86 million deal with the Miami Heat in 2000.

Allan Houston (44th, $117.5 million) is also worth mentioning because his deal is always remembered as someone getting a max contract in 2001, crippling the Knicks’ free agent maneuvering ability for years to come while becoming an un-tradable player due to his injury problems until he retired in 2006.