The NBA is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world. Professional basketball players earn an extraordinary amount of money. The minimum salary for rookies is worth $893,310 a year, according to sportscasting.com. This already seems like a considerable amount for most of us, but it gets even more mind-blowing when looking at the salaries of the NBA’s premier stars.
Superstar players earn hundreds of millions of dollars from their playing contracts alone. CNBC currently has Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors as the highest annually paid player in the league. Curry gets paid an average of $40.2 million every year. Long-term contracts for other superstars go upwards of $200 million as well.
But NBA players don’t make money off of these guaranteed contracts alone. If you add in the endorsements and sponsorships, NBA players are basically living the dream and are set for life.
Of course, money isn’t everything. It is a big factor that determines where the best players in the NBA play, as they would naturally want to make as much money as possible. But there’s more to the game than the millions of dollars to make.
NBA players play the game for the glory. The most recognizable superstars of past and present such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, to name a few, aren’t recognized because of the big, fat contracts that they’ve signed throughout their career. NBA legends are legends because they’ve proven their worth time and again by winning.
Indeed, winning Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, or getting named to All-NBA teams are impressive feats, but all NBA fans know that the ring is what matters most. Winning an NBA championship is what separates the legends from the great players.
Given this, it isn’t hard to understand why most people put a premium on a player’s playoff performance before truly considering his greatness. Many good players deliver exceptional performances in the regular season, but only the best rise to the challenge and perform outstandingly in the playoffs.
Winning an NBA championship is the highest form of gratification for an NBA player, especially for franchise names, as this cements their status as one of the greats of the sport.
Regardless of an NBA player’s role, though, a deep playoff run and a championship offers more rewards than the glory and recognition. NBA teams who make the playoffs are also given a slice of the pie from the league’s playoff pool. In other words, NBA players make extra money when their team makes the playoffs.
The extra money players make gets bigger as their playoff runs get deeper. According to the NBA website, the current playoff pool is at $23,287,26. This means that teams that qualify for the playoffs make $347,545, to be split among the members of the team. Those who get to the second round get an additional $413,534, and conference finalists receive another $683,363 for making it that far.
Naturally, the teams that make the NBA Finals receive the biggest share. This year, the losing team gets $2,732,699, while the eventual NBA champions are given a share worth $4,124,054.
In addition to the glory and extra cash that a championship brings, players are also rewarded with jewelry in the form of their championship rings. Some players may choose to put these rings up for auction to raise funds for a cause and the price of these rings ultimately depend on its history and on who owns that ring, and on how much collectors are willing to pay for a piece of the NBA’s storied history.
For a snapshot of what championship rings are worth, the 1971 Championship Ring of Oscar Robertson with the Milwaukee Bucks is worth $91,000. On the other hand, the 2010 NBA Championship Ring of Metta World Peace from the Lakers is worth $500,000