James Harden’s beard is priceless but what about the man behind it and the other NBA players with the highest earning capabilites?
American sports leagues really only have European soccer leagues to compete with when it comes to producing the highest grossing sports stars on the planet.
And the NBA is no exception, consistently giving top players the platform they need to launch their star into the mainstream, and into the business world when they retire.
Here we take a look at who the highest NBA earners are in 2021 as well as delving into whether they have the sticking power to remain at the top of the earnings tree.
Steph Curry – Hotter than ever
The way that NBA pay structures are built means that the men at the top of the b-ball earning tree always tend to be veterans of the game, so it comes as no surprise that one of the longest serving legends of the league comes in at number 1.
Curry is still as hot as ever on the boards and the Golden State Warriors pay him the princely sum of $43m+ to perform for them week-in and week-out.
In 2021 the regular NBA All-Star select has had to carry his ailing Warriors to wins and it remains to be seen if they will make the playoff cut, but when you earn more than a small country’s GDP a loss here or there does not quite hurt as much as it might once have done.
Chris Paul – Enjoying time in the sun
Another NBA old schooler who never knows when he is beat, no matter what the betting odds say, is Chris Paul, and that perseverance is paying off handsomely in Phoenix, with Paul and his teammate Russel Westbrook both purported to be on somewhere around the $41m mark.
With the Suns soaring in the Western Conference this season and a nailed-on certainty with most sportsbook tipsters to go deep in the playoffs, that ton of money will be seen as well spent if Paul and Westbrook can deliver for those who bet on NBA money lines and fancy the Suns to claim their maiden NBA Championship title.
James Harden – His beard alone earns more than most
When a player has a beard that is as commanding as James Harden’s, then it is immediately clear to everyone that the man should be paid handsomely.
And Harden is not lacking on the salary front, earning a cool $41m to be a part of the exciting roster that has been put together by Steve Nash in Brooklyn.
Harden jumped ship from the Houston Rockets who have since misfired and failed to take off at all. That just shows that Harden and his beard are probably worth every cent of their mammoth contract.
What, no Lebron or Giannis?
Believe it or not, neither Lebron James nor Giannis Antetokounmpo feature in the top 5 of NBA highest earning standings when it comes to player pay 2021, although both men more than make up the difference with a wealth of lucrative sponsorship and endorsement contracts.
Indeed, the man known as King James has even begun to make forays into the potentially lucrative business of making movies, having produced such cinematic gems as Space Jam 2, The Wall, and Shut Up and Dribble.
If James mixes in another franchise switch before his career is out, you can expect his salary demands to rise from the current $39m he is paid by the LA Lakers.
Meanwhile, the Greek Freak already pocketed a handy yearly salary before he then took a greater bump in December of 2020 by signing a brand-new deal with his beloved Milwaukee Bucks, to the tune of $228m over five years.
With the structure of the deal meaning his pay will increase year-on-year, Giannis is expected to become the best paid player in the league come 2022.
After all, being crowned the league’s most valuable player must come with its perks.