Lakers forward LeBron James will be the highest-paid NBA player in 2021–22—and it’s not even close.
According to Forbes, James is set to decimate his own record by raking in a combined $111.2 million over a 12-month period. That estimate represents more than a 15% increase from the year before.
The figure includes James’s $41.2 million salary, as well as a number of off-the-court ventures, most notably his Nike contract of $32 million per year. The four-time league MVP also accumulated payments from Space Jam: A New Legacy, a “skin” in the popular video game Fortnite and a recent investment and brand ambassador deal with home fitness company Tonal.
LeBron’s earnings would make him the 10th-active athlete ever to surpass $100 million in a year and joins elite company such as Lionel Messi, Floyd Mayweather and Roger Federer.
In fact, top NBA players are taking home more than ever before. This phenomenon can be chalked up to skyrocketing salary caps and luxury tax thresholds, plus the introduction of supermax extensions in 2017.
Warriors superstar guard Steph Curry is runner-up on Forbes’ list. His $92.8 million (which would have been a record in 2019) comprises the NBA’s highest salary and several off-the-court revenue streams—a production company, Under Armour sponsorship and cryptocurrency endorsement deal, to name a few.
Nets forward Kevin Durant, coming off a contract extension, is third with $87.9 million. Durant’s firm, Thirty Five Ventures, has investments in more than 80 companies.
Reigning Finals MVP and Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the only top-10 earner in his 20s, is next with $80.3 million. James’s new teammate, Russell Westbrook, landed in fifth, just shy of $75 million.