Here’s how NBA owners spent $1.3 billion on only five players


Rashard Lewis made a lot of money for taking this shot. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

Cork Gaines of Business Insider has compiled the 25 highest-paid NBA players of all time, with the top five earning a combined $1.3 billion. Here’s the top 5:

1. Kevin Garnett — $315,372,398

2. Shaquille O’Neal ― $292,198,327

3. Kobe Bryant ― $279,738,062

4. Tim Duncan — $224,709,155

5. Dirk Nowitzki — $204,063,985

Those five players — all of whom are destined for the Hall of Fame — have combined for 15 NBA titles and 72 all-star game appearances and were named to the all-NBA first team a combined 37 times. So money well spent, no?

Now let’s look at the other 20 players on this list:

– Combined NBA titles: 10.

– Combined all-star game appearances: 116. (Remember, this is from a list of 20 players.)

– Combined all-NBA first team appearances: 13.

Asked for comment, an old-timey baby did this:


Sure, there are some players on that list of 20 who are destined for Springfield: Grant Hill, Alonzo Mourning, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd, specifically (with Dikembe Mutombo probably getting in at some point, too). But the rest is a horror show of ill-spent money. Consider:

– Baron Davis made $147,692,983 over his career and made two all-star games.

– Rashard Lewis has made $155,332,815 (and counting!), made two all-star games and won one NBA title … averaging 14.4 minutes per game for the Heat as a reserve last season.

– Gilbert Arenas has made $163,061,257 (and counting, and he’s not even playing anymore!) and made three all-star teams. But he’s coming back!

– Elton Brand has made $165,338,631 (and counting!) and made two all-star games.

– Stephon Marbury made $151,115,945 and made two all-star games.

– Juwan Howard made $151,465,633, made one all-star game and earned one NBA ring after he played in all of seven games for the Heat last season.

I’m no Fancy Stats expert, or an economist, but that has to be some of the worst return on investment in business history.

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