The 2013 NBA season is on a way to a close as the playoffs are in full swing. The best NBA players are among the highest paid athletes of any sport. Just 30 years ago the highest paid player in the league only made about $3.6 million. Today that number is close to 10-times that. Interestingly enough, unlike many others sports, all contracts in the NBA are guaranteed. This means if a player gets injured he will get paid the amount of his contract regardless of whether he actually plays or not. This incredible perk, combined with the exuberant salaries of these athletes makes them possess some of the most coveted jobs on the planet. Here are the top ten highest paid NBA players as of 2013:
10 – Tie
Nicknamed “CB4,” Chris Bosh established his skill while playing for the Toronto Raptors from 2003 to 2010. He currently holds just about every major franchise record with the Raptors. Bosh strongly believes in leadership by example as he isn’t the most vocal of guys. He shows his teammates how to win through his composure and incredible work ethic.
9 – Tie
Known by his fans simply as “King James,” LeBron has quickly ascended the ranks as one of the best players in the league. After having 9 excellent seasons personally, he was able to combine his skill with his teammates and walk away with a NBA Championship last year. With the way the playoffs are going this year, he may be a in a good position to repeat it. He has played in 3 consecutive Olympic games. In 2004 he won a bronze medal, and in 2008 and 2012 he walked away with a gold. He is often noted for his bold personality. James was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 2nd most influential professional athlete in the world in 2010. Ironically, although he is the 9th highest paid player in the league, he actually makes more money off-court than he does on the court through endorsements. He currently has contracts with Nike, Sprite, State Farm, Dunkin’ Brands, and Glaceau. His original contract with Nike was worth nearly $90 million alone. If you combine his salary and endorsements he is the highest earning player in the NBA and one of the highest earning professional athletes in the world.
Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul may very well be one of the most popular players in the league right now. It is possible if the Clippers cannot meet his salary demands, he will defect to the free agency during the off-season. Paul was the 2006 Rookie of the Year and is definitely an up-and-coming player. Even at the young age of 28, he still manages to hold a number of NBA records including, the only player to ever lead the league in both steals and assists in consecutive seasons, number of consecutive games with a steal at 108, and to have led the league in steals 5 different seasons. It will be interesting to see what team can offer him even more money than he is currently making this off-season and where he will end up.
Los Angeles Lakers
Hailing all the way from Barcelona, Pau Gasol is easily one of the most recognizable players in all of basketball. During his first year in the league playing for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002, he was named the 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year. Since joining the Lakers he has won two consecutive NBA Championships in 2009 and again in 2010. He has also competed in the Olympics where he shocked the world and led the Spanish national team to 2 Olympic Silver Medals.
Los Angeles Lakers
Dwight Howard is known for being a stellar role model. In 2009 he was named as one of the 10 finalists for the prestigious Jefferson Awards for Public Service for his charitable work. Off the court he established the Dwight D. Howard Foundation which provides scholarships to students to attend Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy and provides grants to Lovell Elementary School and Memorial Middle School located in Orlando, Florida. He is an outspoken Christian and stated in 2004, prior to being drafted, his goal was to “raise the name of God within the league and throughout the world.” He has certainly being doing a good job so far. Howard is still young and is rated by experts as one of the top prospects in the league.
Although originally drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2001, it wasn’t until he played on the Atlanta Hawks, after a short stint in Phoenix, that his career really took off. He has made the NBA All-Star team of 6 different occasions. During the playoffs this year, prior to being eliminated he was plagued by a foot injury that kept him from playing his best. True to his athletic and competitive nature he has vowed to come back stronger than ever next year.
New York Knicks
Amar’e Stoudemire makes a ton of money on the court and off of it. He owns his own record label, produced his own series of children’s books, and started his own clothing line. Throughout the years Stoudemire has been plagued by chronic knee problems. When he is healthy he is one of the best. His career accomplishments include a Gold Medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, 6-time NBA All-Star, and NBA Rookie of the Year in 2003. He spent the first 8 seasons of his career with the Phoenix Suns and joined the New York Knicks in 2010.
New York Knicks
Despite being a 6-time NBA All-Star, Carmelo Anthony has never won the big championship. His scoring prowess his without a doubt his best asset. When he is on fire he has the ability to take over any game on the offensive end. So much so, he tied the NBA record for the most number of points scored in a single quarter at 33. Carmelo started his career with the Denver Nuggets and was later traded to the New York Knicks in 2011 to join the aforementioned Amar’e Stoudemire as a part of an offensive powerhouse of a duo. Despite his great playing ability his career has been surrounded by controversy. If he can stay out of trouble and keep his off-court antics to a minimum he will continue to evolve and be a threat for years to come. At the age of 28, he is the highest paid player in the league under the age of 30.
This year Dirk Nowitzki is the second highest paid player in the NBA. That will not be the case next year. He has volunteered to take a “significant pay cut” next year in order to help the team be able to attempt to sign another superstar. This is probably of little concern to Nowitzski, as he has the 5th highest total earnings of any player in NBA history at $204 million. Nowitzski was born in raised in Wuzburg, West Germany. As a leader on the Mavericks, he has been able to lead the Mavericks to 12 consecutive NBA Playoffs from 2001 to 2012. He manged to pick up his first NBA Championship 2 years back in 2011. He also holds a NBA record for being the only player to get 100 blocks and 150 3-pointers both in a single season. His competitive spirit shines through in everything he does.
Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant is the undisputed best professional basketball player over the course of the last decade and a contender for one of the best of all time. This is made evident by his salary. He makes over 30% more than anyone else in the league. Bryant is a 15-time All-Star, 14-time member of the All-NBA team, has two gold Olympic medals, and holds league record’s in all-time postseason scoring, and has the 2nd place record for the most points ever scored in a game by a single player at 81. The 34 year-old has been with the Lakers ever since he came into the league in 1996. He was, however, originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th overall pick, but was traded to the Lakers after a trade agreement was struck between the two teams. On top of all that he has won 5 NBA championships. Whether you like him or hate him, nobody can deny his accomplishments on the court.
Source of Facts: ESPN
Featured Image: Flickr by Physical Flaws