The richest coaches in NBA history offer a fascinating perspective of the NBA, from Hall of Famers to names the average fan may forget. Some coaches made money as NBA players before their coaching careers while others made their riches almost exclusively from the sidelines. According to CelebList.com, the richest NBA coach ever may surprise you.
5. Phil Jackson: $50 million
Phil Jackson had a decently successful career as an NBA player, but it wasn’t until the Chicago Bulls called his number that he demanded big bucks. Phil Jackson is the winningest coach in NBA history, earning 11 rings with the Bulls and Lakers.
Jackson has also tried (and failed) running a front office during an infamous stint with the New York Knicks. On top of coaching, he’s authored several books. One of Jackson’s prized possessions is his Montana lake home where he would unwind during NBA offseasons.
4. Larry Brown: $70 million
The former NBA champion has been a journeyman coach since the ’70s. Starting in the ABA, Larry Brown earned a reputation as a rebel, often going against the norms of coaches and even his teams. His ability to coach, however, was undeniable.
Brown last coached the Charlotte Bobcats in the NBA but has spent time coaching college teams and overseas since then. He’s invested a hefty sum of money into his comfort, as a mansion he kept in Philadelphia cost a cool $6 million dollars.
3. Jason Kidd: $73 million
Jason Kidd’s head-coaching career was not spectacular. He took a job with the Brooklyn Nets immediately after retiring from the NBA. Although the Nets saw some success with an aging core of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams, Kidd stepped down after one season to join the Milwaukee Bucks’ bench.
The team saw the rise of Giannis Antetokounmpo during Kidd’s time in Milwaukee but struggled to win. Most of Kidd’s net worth comes from his NBA career, where he was a multi-time All-Star and NBA champion. Now, he’s an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.
2. Pat Riley: $80 million
Pat Riley is one of the greatest coaches to ever take the sidelines in the NBA. Although he had a successful career in the NBA and college (not to mention a brief flirtation with professional football), Riley is synonymous with coaching in the NBA, and he won championships not only with the Showtime Lakers but the Miami Heat.
In recent years, Riley has lived the life of an executive, choosing instead to run the Miami Heat from the front office. All of these choices prove quite lucrative for the Hall of Famer. Those who have watched Riley throughout the years likely notice his high-end fashion sense.
1. Patrick Ewing: $85 million
Patrick Ewing has never been a head coach in the NBA yet he is definitely the richest. Now the head coach at his alma mater in Georgetown, Ewing made it past the ranks of assistant NBA coach, though his name was thrown around as a possibility for head coaching jobs across the NBA for years.
Despite healthy coaching paydays, Ewing’s career earnings have more to do with his NBA career. At his peak, he was one of the most feared big men, and his life since has largely taken place in the coaching circles. One way Ewing spends his money is on his shoe and athletic wear company, Ewing Athletics, which has operated since the ’80s.