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It’s certainly no secret that NBA players make more money than their counterparts in the WNBA. But just how much more is absolutely staggering when you really take the time to look at the numbers.

Sure, the NBA season is much longer as there are 1,230 regular-season games between its 30 teams and a maximum of 105 postseason games as opposed to the 204 regular-season matchups and 35 maximum playoff games in the WNBA. So that’s a little over five and a half times more games for the NBA, right?

So how is it that the NBA has a salary cap that’s 81.5 times bigger than the WNBA? And why does the NBA’s highest-paid player make 194.2 times more money than the WNBA’s highest-paid player? And how is it that 68 NBA players…yes, 68…make more money than the entire WNBA roster? Not just one team…the ENTIRE WNBA roster. The nice way of putting it is that it’s simply unfair. There’s obviously a not-nice way to put it but we’ll refrain from using any obscenities here today.

Look, the WNBA is never going to be as big as the NBA and its players are never going to make as much money. That’s just a fact. But the gaps simply have to get smaller at some point. Sure, the WNBA’s new collective bargaining agreement should help a little as players will start receiving a higher percentage of league revenue, possibly up to 34%, which is certainly better than the 20% they got in the past. It’s still not the 50% NBA players receive but at least it closes the gap a little.

But until the WNBA season is expanded, which could obviously create more revenue and bump up salaries, which, in turn, could keep some of the top female players in the country from spending more time overseas, this issue isn’t going anywhere. The league certainly isn’t marketed correctly either and that’s also not helping matters. Trust us, we could go on but let’s get to some of those crazy numbers we discussed a moment ago.

The NBA’s highest-paid player in 2020-2021 makes 194.2 times more money than the WNBA’s highest-paid players

Heading into the 2021 WNBA season, there are seven players tied for the highest salary in the league — DeWanna Bonner, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Liz Cambage, and Elena Delle Donne, who each make $221,450. So that’s $676,860 less than the minimum salary in the NBA for a player with zero years of experience. Take an NBA player with just one year of experience and that gap jumps to over a million bucks.

As for the NBA’s highest-paid player in 2020-2021, that would be two-time NBA MVP and three-time champ Stephen Curry, whom the Golden State Warriors are paying $43,006,362, which, as mentioned, is 194.2 times the salary of the seven women named above.

The salary cap gap between the two leagues is massive

The NBA and WNBA logos
(L-R) NBA logo; WNBA logo | Sam Wasson/Getty Images; Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

For the 2021 WNBA season, the salary cap for each of the league’s 12 teams is $1,339,000. And that’s a very hard cap as the only time during the regular season that a team can go over that figure is for hardship or emergency hardship exceptions.

As for the NBA, the salary cap for the 2020-2021 season is $109,140,000, which is 85.2 times higher than that of the WNBA. But their cap is relatively soft as there are a number of significant exceptions that allow teams to exceed the cap in any given season. Sure, teams are penalized if they go over via the luxury tax rule but a team has to go over the cap by an extremely excessive amount for that to kick in.

68 NBA players make more than the entire WNBA roster

In total, there are 68 NBA players who make more money than the entire WNBA roster. And that’s sadly being generous. So what we did here was take the 2021 WNBA salary cap of $1,339,000 and multiply that figure by 12, the number of teams in the league, which comes out to $16,068,000.

Now, not every team is going to be right at that $1.339 million mark when the 2021 season begins so that total would obviously be a little lower, which then would add more names to this list below. But that’s just even more depressing so we stuck with the 68.

  • Stephen Curry: $43,006,362
  • Chris Paul: $41,358,814
  • Russell Westbrook: $41,358,814
  • John Wall: $41,254,920
  • James Harden: $41,254,920
  • LeBron James: $39,219,566
  • Kevin Durant: $39,058,950
  • Paul George: $35,450,412
  • Klay Thompson: $35,361,360
  • Mike Conley: $34,502,132
  • Kemba Walker: $34,379,100
  • Kawhi Leonard: $34,379,100
  • Jimmy Butler: $34,379,100
  • Tobias Harris: $34,358,850
  • Kyrie Irving: $33,329,100
  • Khris Middleton: $33,051,724
  • Anthony Davis: $32,742,000
  • Damian Lillard: $31,626,953
  • Kevin Love: $31,258,256
  • Ben Simmons: $30,559,200
  • Pascal Siakam: $30,559,200
  • Kyle Lowry: $30,000,000
  • Joel Embiid: $29,542,010
  • Andrew Wiggins: $29,542,010
  • Devin Booker: $29,467,800
  • Kristaps Porzingis: $29,467,800
  • Karl-Anthony Towns: $29,467,800
  • C.J. McCollum: $29,354,152
  • Bradley Beal: $28,751,774
  • D’Angelo Russell: $28,649,250
  • Nikola Jokic: $28,542,009
  • Gordon Hayward: $28,500,000
  • Otto Porter Jr.: $28,489,238
  • DeMar DeRozan: $27,739,975
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo: $27,528,088
  • Steven Adams: $27,528,088
  • Al Horford: $27,500,000
  • Jamal Murray: $27,285,000
  • Brandon Ingram: $27,285,000
  • Nikola Vucevic: $26,000,000
  • Rudy Gobert: $25,775,281
  • Jrue Holiday: $25,111,111
  • Buddy Hield: $24,201,834
  • Jaylen Brown: $22,991,071
  • Draymond Green: $22,246,956
  • Harrison Barnes: $22,215,909
  • Fred VanVleet: $21,250,000
  • Victor Oladipo: $21,000,000
  • Malcolm Brogdon: $20,700,000
  • Danilo Gallinari: $19,500,000
  • Zach LaVine: $19,500,000
  • Gary Harris: $19,160,714
  • Jerami Grant: $19,050,000
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: $18,975,000
  • Terry Rozier: $18,900,000
  • Julius Randle: $18,900,000
  • Domantas Sabonis: $18,500,000
  • Aaron Gordon: $18,136,364
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic: $18,000,000
  • Goran Dragic: $18,000,000
  • Bojan Bagdanovic: $17,661,000
  • Myles Turner: $17,500,000
  • Evan Fournier: $17,000,000
  • Ricky Rubio: $17,000,000
  • Eric Bledsoe: $16,875,000
  • Eric Gordon: $16,869,276
  • Caris LeVert: $16,203,704
  • Joe Harris: $16,071,429

Contract information courtesy of Spotrac


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