LeBron still king of NBA earners

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts after a Philadelphia 76ers score during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Reuters pic)

LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is the NBA’s highest-paid player for the fifth consecutive year with US$88.7 million in earnings – including US$53 million off the court, according to a Forbes list published Tuesday.

Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry (US$79.5 million) and Kevin Durant (US$65 million) ranked second and third, with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (US$53.7 million) and Houston Rockets guard James Harden (US$47.4 million) rounding out the top five.

James’ non-salary income includes lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Coca-Cola and Beats By Dre, plus revenue from his Hollywood production company, SpringHill Entertainment, and his investment in the Blaze Pizza company.

Forbes estimated James’ net worth at US$450 million.

The NBA’s top 10 earners will make an estimated US$540 million in 2019 from salaries, endorsements, appearances, royalties and media deals. That is up more than US$180 million from the top 10 earners just five years ago, according to Forbes.