How Do NBA Players Get Paid: All The Facts And Details

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the players are at the heart of its success. 

With massive television contracts, merchandising deals, and sold-out arenas, it’s no surprise that NBA players command some of the highest salaries in professional sports. 

But how exactly do these athletes earn their money, and what are the intricacies of their compensation packages? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the lucrative world of NBA player pay.

How do NBA players get paid?

The primary source of income for NBA players is their contract with their respective teams. These contracts outline the player’s annual salary, as well as any bonuses, incentives, or endorsement deals. 

While endorsements from major brands like Nike, Gatorade, and others can contribute significantly to a player’s overall earnings, the lion’s share of their compensation comes directly from their NBA contract.

In addition to their base salary, players can also negotiate performance-based incentives into their contracts. These could include bonuses for making the All-Star team, winning an MVP award, or leading the team to a championship. 

These incentives serve as motivation for players to perform at their best and can add millions to their annual pay.

How do NBA players get paid so much?

How do NBA players get paid so much?

The staggering salaries of NBA players can be attributed to several factors. First and foremost, the NBA generates massive revenue streams from television contracts, merchandise sales, and ticket sales. 

A significant portion of this revenue is allocated to player compensation through the league’s salary cap and collective bargaining agreement.

The global popularity of the NBA has created a massive demand for top-tier talent. Teams are willing to shell out lucrative contracts to attract and retain the best players, driving up salaries across the league. 

The competitive nature of the sport and the limited number of roster spots also contribute to the high pay scales. Another factor contributing to the high salaries is the NBA’s revenue-sharing model. 

Teams that generate more revenue are required to contribute to a pool that is then distributed to teams with lower revenue streams. This helps level the playing field and ensures that even smaller market teams can afford to pay their players competitive wages.

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How do NBA players get paid weekly?

While NBA players may sign multi-million dollar contracts, they don’t receive their entire salary in one lump sum. Instead, their pay is distributed bi-weekly throughout the regular season, in accordance with the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The CBA states that teams must pay their players on a regular schedule, with paychecks issued no later than seven days after the end of each pay period. Typically, this means that players receive 24 or 26 paychecks over the course of the regular season, depending on the number of weeks in the season.

For example, if a player has a contract that pays them $20 million for the season, and the season has 26 pay periods, they would receive a paycheck of approximately $769,230 every two weeks.

How do NBA players get paid after retirement?

Even after hanging up their jerseys, many NBA players continue to earn through various sources. One of the primary sources of post-retirement income is the NBA’s pension plan. To qualify for the pension, a player must have at least three years of service in the league. 

The amount they receive from the pension is based on their years of service and their highest salaries during their playing career.

In addition to the pension, retired players may continue to earn from endorsement deals, investments, and business ventures they established during their playing days. 

Some players also pursue careers in broadcasting, coaching, or public speaking, leveraging their fame and expertise from their NBA careers.

The NBA also offers a disability program for players who are unable to work due to a permanent disability sustained during their playing career. This program provides financial assistance and medical benefits to these players.

How do NBA players get paid per game?

How do NBA players get paid per game?

While NBA players aren’t technically paid “per game,” it’s possible to calculate their earnings on a per-game basis by dividing their annual salary by the number of games in the regular season (82 games).

For example, if a player has a contract worth $25 million for the season, their per-game pay would be approximately $304,878 (25,000,000 / 82). It’s important to note that this is just a simplified calculation, as players’ salaries are paid out bi-weekly, regardless of how many games are played in that pay period.

Many players have performance-based bonuses and incentives built into their contracts. These could include bonuses for reaching certain statistical milestones, making the All-Star team, or winning individual awards like MVP. These bonuses can significantly increase a player’s earnings on a per-game basis.

How do NBA players get paid for playoffs?

During the playoffs, NBA players continue to receive their regular salaries as outlined in their contracts. However, many contracts also include incentives and bonuses specifically for playoff performance.

These bonuses can be structured in various ways, such as:

  • Flat bonus for making the playoffs
  • Bonus for each round the team advances (e.g., $50,000 for making the second round, $100,000 for the conference finals, etc.)
  • Bonus for winning the NBA championship

Players on teams that advance deep into the playoffs can earn significant additional income from playoff ticket revenues and merchandise sales.

How do NBA players get paid, weekly or monthly?

The standard practice in the NBA is for players to be paid bi-weekly during the regular season. This means that their annual salary is divided into 24 or 26 equal payments, which are distributed every two weeks throughout the season.

There are some exceptions to this rule. Some players may have negotiated monthly payments as part of their contract, although this is less common.

It’s important to note that NBA players only receive their salaries during the regular season and playoffs. They do not earn any income from their teams during the offseason, unless they have a guaranteed contract that covers the entire year.

When do NBA players get paid?

When do NBA players get paid?

The timing of when NBA players receive their first paycheck of the season can vary slightly from team to team, depending on when their first regular season game falls.

According to the CBA, teams must issue paychecks no later than seven days after the end of each pay period. So, if a team’s first regular season game is on a Monday, their players would likely receive their first paycheck the following Friday or Saturday.

Here’s an example pay schedule for a team with a first game on October 19th:

  • Pay period: October 19th – November 1st
  • First paycheck issued: November 8th
  • Second paycheck issued: November 22nd
  • And so on, every two weeks until the end of the regular season

Again, it’s important to remember that players only receive pay during the regular season and playoffs. Their salaries are not paid out during the offseason months.

Do NBA players get signing bonuses?

In addition to their annual salaries, many NBA players also receive signing bonuses when they agree to a new contract with a team. These bonuses can be significant, sometimes reaching into the tens of millions of dollars for top-tier players.

Signing bonuses are a way for teams to incentivize players to sign with them, and they can be a valuable tool in recruiting and retaining talent. However, there are rules and limitations around signing bonuses in the NBA.

According to the CBA, a player’s signing bonus cannot exceed 15% of the total value of their contract. For example, if a player signs a four-year, $100 million contract, their signing bonus could be up to $15 million.

Signing bonuses are also often paid out in installments over the life of the contract, rather than as a lump sum upfront.

While signing bonuses are more common for high-profile players and free agents, they can also be used as a recruiting tool for top draft picks and rookies with high potential.

How much do NBA players get taxed?

How much do NBA players get taxed?

Filing taxes is complicated for players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) because of their job. They have to think about the cities they live in and the “jock tax” they pay for just playing in the league. 

All NBA players have to pay federal income tax on their salaries. Even the players making the minimum salary are in the second-highest tax bracket. If a player makes over $1 million per year, they are taxed at the highest rate. Players also have to pay state income tax for the state they live in, not the states they play basketball games in.

On top of that, every NBA player has to pay a 3% “jock tax” on the money they earn while playing games in states they don’t live in. After paying all those taxes, the players get to keep whatever money is left over.

There is no limit on how much an NBA player can make per year outside of minimum contracts. This leads to the question, “How do NBA players get paid?” given their very high yearly salaries. Most NBA players get paid by direct deposit from their teams on the 15th of each month.


How do NBA players get their salary?

Most NBA players receive direct deposits from their teams on the 15th of every month.

Are NBA players paid weekly or monthly? 

Most NBA players get paid monthly by direct deposit from their teams on the 15th.

What is the lowest salary in the NBA? 

For the 2022-23 season, the lowest salary for an NBA player on a standard contract is $1,011,815.

Do NBA players get paid if they don’t play? 

Yes, NBA players get paid their full salary even if they are injured and don’t play, as long as they are on the team’s roster.

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