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The richest NBA players of all time – Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, and more billion-dollar net worths compared

The NBA is full of brand deals with Nike, McDonald's, Beats, PepsiCo, and more

LeBron James and Michael Jordan
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
16 April 2024
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March Madness may be over, but the influence of the National Basketball Association, or the NBA, remains as powerful as ever, producing some of the richest athletes of all time.

After the Women's National Basketball Association draft picks for 2024 picked up considerable buzz earlier this week, interest has surged in the NBA 2024 drafts, due to begin in June, and which young stars can join the line-up of the sport's most affluent athletes.

Take a look below at the richest players in NBA history, thanks to their lucrative season salaries and some very hefty endorsement and entrepreneurial deals…

Shaquille O'Neal #34, Center for the Los Angeles Lakers prepares to shoot a free throw during the NBA Pacific Division basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks on 17th February 1999 at the Great Western Forum arena in Los Angeles, California, United States. The Lakers won the game 101 - 88.© Getty Images
Shaquille O'Neal pictured here with the Los Angeles Lakers

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal, now 52, is often regarded as one of the greatest basketball players and centers of all time, with good reason. Through his tenure on the court, from 1992-2011, he was a 4-time NBA champion, 15-time NBA All-Star, and won an Olympic gold in 1996.

Shaquille O'Neal speaks during Pepsi Stronger Together and CTG Foundation Atlanta Law Enforcement Press Conference on April 07, 2021 in McDonough, Georgia. © Getty Images
He is now an actor, musician, entrepreneur, TV host, and more

However, his wealth doesn't just come from his hefty salary, but also his many endorsements and efforts off-court. His lucrative deals with the likes of Reebok, Pepsi, Icy Hot, and Buick, among others, netted him well over $200 million in endorsements during his playing career.

He has branched out into the entertainment industry as well, releasing four rap albums (including his platinum debut), working as a DJ, an actor, TV host, and the star of reality shows like Shaq's Big Challenge and Shaq Vs. Through his stint as a media personality (and even a pro wrestler), Shaq's net worth clocks in at an impressive $500 million, according to

Vinnie Johnson

Vinnie Johnson #11, Shooting Guard and Point Guard for the Detroit Pistons during the NBA Midwest Division basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks on 14th January 1991 at the Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas, United States. The Pistons won the game 89 - 81.© Getty Images
Vinnie Johnson pictured here with the Detroit Pistons

One of the NBA's OGs, now 67-year-old Vinnie Johnson famously earned only a reported $6 million during his stint on the court from 1979-1992, playing for a decade with the Detroit Pistons.

However, after his retirement, he branched out into entrepreneurship, establishing The Piston Group, an automotive company that has found success as a supplier to major automobile companies like Ford and General Motors.

Vinnie Johnson, Former Detroit Piston And Jethro Joseph, Senior Manager Of Minority Supplier Development-DiamlerChrysler© Getty Images
He [pictured left] is currently the CEO and Chairman of The Piston Group

Piston is one of the world's most successful minority-owned businesses and generates just under $3 billion in annual revenue. As the company's Chairman and CEO, Vinnie himself clocks in with a massive $500 million net worth per

Junior Bridgeman

Junior Bridgeman #2 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on against the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1984 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Bridgeman played for the Bucks from 1975-84 and 1986-87.© Getty Images
Junior Bridgeman pictured here with the Milwaukee Bucks

Ulysses "Junior" Bridgeman, now 70, has remained the model for establishing one's legacy after the NBA, never making more than $350,000 per season during his pro career (1975-1987) with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers.

However, while active on the court, he developed an interest in the business model for Wendy's fast food franchises, and invested in the franchise after his retirement, owning over 100 Wendy's and Chili's restaurants worldwide before selling in 2016.

Junior Bridgeman attends EBONY Power 100 at Milk Studios Los Angeles on October 29, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.© Getty Images
He is now the President and CEO of Bridgeman Foods Inc., one of the primary bottlers for The Coca-Cola Company

The President and CEO of Bridgeman Foods Inc. branched out when they became a bottler for The Coca-Cola Company in 2017, a major draw. And in 2020, his company bought the magazines Ebony and Jet. Thanks to the massive success of his business empire, his net worth now stands at $600 million according to

LeBron James

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers gestures in the first half of the West semifinal game of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament against the New Orleans Pelicans at T-Mobile Arena on December 07, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada© Getty Images
LeBron James pictured here with the Los Angeles Lakers

The wealthiest active NBA player, 39-year-old LeBron James has had one of the most celebrated NBA careers in history through his multiple seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and currently the Los Angeles Lakers since he started playing in 2003.

While his annual base salary of upwards of $40 million is a cool enough cushion, his off-court efforts as an entrepreneur and smart investor have made him a billionaire. LeBron's secret has always been to take equity in brands he's worked with, including Beats, Blaze Pizza, Fenway Sports Group (home of the Boston Red Sox), Liverpool F.C., and co-owner of A.C. Milan with Drake.

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Basketball player/actor LeBron James arrives at the Warner Bros Pictures world premiere of "Space Jam: A New Legacy" at the Regal LA Live in Los Angeles, California, July 12, 2021.© Getty Images
LeBron is the wealthiest active NBA player

His many endorsements have also helped, including his $30 million a year contract with Nike and other deals with PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Audemars Piguet, McDonald's, and State Farm. He is the first billionaire on this list, with Forbes estimating his net worth at $1.2 billion.

Magic Johnson

Earvin "Magic" Johnson #32, Shooting Guard and Power Forward for the Los Angeles Lakers takes the basketball down court during the NBA Pacific Division basketball game against the Utah Jazz on 18th March 1987 at The Forum arena in Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, United States. The Lakers won the game 111 - 97.© Getty Images
Magic Johnson pictured here with the Los Angeles Lakers

Now 64, the legendary Earvin "Magic" Johnson spent his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers between 1979 and 2000, becoming one of the sport's greatest of all time and creating a wave in the industry with his openness about his HIV diagnosis.

His investment and entrepreneurial deals have earned him his billions, though, thanks to Magic Johnson Enterprises, which is worth $700 million, thanks to its investments in the entertainment and movie theater spaces. One of his biggest successes came with his partnership with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to bring the coffee chain to hundreds of urban areas nationwide.

Magic Johnson on stage during the TSP Live 2022 conference at The Hotel at Avalon on June 24, 2022 in Alpharetta, Georgia© Getty Images
Magic has built an empire through his investments in entertainment, lifestyle, and equity

His majority ownership stake in EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, which he bought in 2015, significantly boosted his wealth, thanks to its growth to $26 billion in assets. As it stands, including his ownership of several sports teams, Magic is worth $1.2 billion as per Forbes.

Michael Jordan

Guard Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls in action against the Miami Heat during a game at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida.  The Heat defeated the Bulls 99-72. © Getty Images
Michael Jordan pictured here with the Chicago Bulls

The greatest basketball player of all time is also its richest! Michael Jordan, now 61, won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls between 1984-2003 and helped popularize the sport worldwide.

EXPLAINED: Michael Jordan's net worth: all about the Bulls legend's billion-dollar empire off the court amid new record

It was his marketing prowess that cemented his legacy, particularly his extremely successful partnership with Nike on the Air Jordan sneakers (now a brand of its own), which started in 1984 and remain coveted to this day.

U.S. President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to National Basketball Association Hall of Fame member and legendary athlete Michael Jordan during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal to 19 living and two posthumous pioneers in science, sports, public service, human rights, politics and the arts.© Getty Images
The greatest basketball player of all time also has a net worth of over $3 billion!

His many other deals with Hanes and Gatorade certainly help, plus becoming a NASCAR team co-owner in 2020. In 2006, he became part owner of the Charlotte Hornets (then the Bobcats) and bought a controlling interest in 2010. However, when he sold his majority stake in 2023, it valued the NBA franchise at $3 billion and helped his own worth skyrocket to $3.2 billion, per Forbes.

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