LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players to ever grace this earth. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar might be the most valuable player to his respective team of anyone in the NBA today, so you would think he’d be the highest-paid player in the entire league.
But surprisingly, LeBron isn’t even inside the top five of that list. In fact, he’s not even the highest-paid player on the Lakers roster in 2021-22.
LeBron James is the highest-paid NBA player of all time
James is in the conversation for the greatest NBA player of all time alongside Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and just a few others. But even if LeBron doesn’t top that list, he’s still the greatest of all time in another area: Cashing checks.
Over his 19 seasons in the NBA, James has earned a staggering $387.4 million in salary alone, which makes him the highest-paid player in league history. Kevin Garnett is right behind James at $334.3 million, Chris Paul sits in third at $330.7 million, and Kobe Bryant ($323.3 million) and Kevin Durant ($306.2 million) round out the top five.
Obviously, Paul and Durant can still catch James in earnings, but the Lakers superstar doesn’t plan on calling it quits anytime soon.
James isn’t even the highest-paid player on the Lakers this season
Without James on the roster, the Lakers never would’ve been able to sign Anthony Davis or trade for Russell Westbrook. LA would still be in the basement of the Western Conference without its biggest star, as he’s proved time and time again over the course of his career that whatever team he’s on instantly becomes a top title contender.
LeBron deserves to be the highest-paid player in the entire NBA, but he’s somehow not even the highest-paid player on his own team. That’s not a typo.
Westbrook, who signed a five-year, $206.8 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018, is due $44.2 million this season alone. James, on the other hand, is due $41.2 million.
So, where does LeBron rank in terms of the highest-paid players in the NBA this year?
LeBron is surprisingly just the sixth-highest-paid player in the NBA
No player in the NBA deserves to be paid more money than James, but somehow, there are five players set to earn a larger salary than “The King” this season.
Stephen Curry tops the list at $45.8 million, while John Wall (yes, John Wall) and James Harden are tied in second place at $44.3 million. Westbrook and his $44.2 million sit in fourth place, and Durant is in the fifth spot with his $44 million salary.
Then comes James and his $41.2 million salary, making him just the sixth-highest-paid player in the NBA this year.
All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.