Do NBA Hall of Famers Get Paid? (Explained)

They’ve wowed you on and off the court, but do NBA Hall of Famers get paid? You might be surprised at the answer. Let’s take a look at how these star athletes make their incomes. 

Key Points

  • NBA players don’t get paid for being in the Hall of Fame
  • Players make money through endorsements, pensions, and other ventures
  • Hall of Famers make money through appearances, sponsorships, and broadcasting opportunities
  • Salary varies between Star and Superstar NBA players

In this article, I’ll discuss how often NBA players get paid, details on their pension, and how much superstar players take home. In addition, I’ll go over what your favorite NBA players do in retirement. 

Do NBA players get paid for life?

When an NBA player retires, they receive a salary depending on the years they played.

A retired player’s salary starts at around $57,0001 and can go up to nearly $200,000.

Players also receive healthcare coverage for life, which wasn’t always available to retired players.

Not bad for a few years on the court. 

How much is an NBA superstar paid?

Superstar NBA players are athletes capable of making the All-Star team and are more well-known than most basketball players. You find Superstar NBA players in commercials, advertisements, and on television. 

The more prominent players are easily identifiable on and off the court. Famous past NBA Superstars include Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Shaquille O’Neal. According to ESPN2, here are the top paid NBA basketball players for the 2022-2023 season:

Rank AthleteSalary Team 
1Stephen Curry $45,780,966Golden State Warriors
2James Harden $44,310,840Philadelphia 76ers
3John Wall $44,310,840Houston Rockets 
4Russell Westbrook$44,211,146Los Angeles Lakers
5Kevin Durant $42,018,900Brooklyn Nets 
6LeBron James $41,180,544Los Angeles Lakers

Considering the salaries listed above are solely for playing and don’t include endorsement deals, it’s no wonder these players are called Superstars. 

Do NBA players (and Hall of Famers) get paid from 2K?

NBA players receive payment from 2K, the video game series where players simulate playing on their favorite basketball teams. NBA 2K has become the top-selling NBA video game, selling over 86 million units in the past 17-plus years. 

Payment is made directly to the NBA Players Association, where players divide the total amount. Roughly $1.1 billion3 is paid out to NBA players, active and retired, for the use of their name and image. 

How much do Star NBA players make?

Star NBA players aren’t quite at the level of superstars but still are known amongst most basketball fans and have valuable contracts. Star players still make significantly more than the average NBA basketball salary, which sits around $7.3 million4

Some top star NBA players and their salaries are:

  • Anthony Davis ($35.36 million)
  • Ben Simmons ($33 million)
  • Joel Embiid ($31.58 million)
  • Kevin Love ($31.26 million)
  • D’Angelo Russell ($30.01 million)

Star NBA players still may make the All-Star team but aren’t selling products on the cover of magazines or making the rounds on the various talk shows. 

What age do you get your NBA pension?

A retired NBA player can receive their pension as early as 45; however, they must wait until 62 to receive full benefits. Retired players are also eligible for college tuition reimbursement of up to $33,000 annually. 

The NBA first implemented a pension plan in 1965, allowing players to receive benefits after retirement. NBA players are eligible for a pension after three years of play and receive the maximum benefit after ten years.  

Do NBA players get paid once a year?

Like regular employees, NBA players get paid every two weeks. However, they may earn money in between through signing bonuses and special engagements. In addition, NBA players get paid in the off-season. 

Additionally, players receive extra compensation if they make it to the playoffs. However, instead of different amounts for each player, a pool of money is divided amongst the team. In this respect, NBA players are continuously making money throughout the year. 

What do retired NBA players do?

Many NBA players become sports commentators, basketball coaches, or invest in a team. Other retired players write books about their experiences as NBA players. 

Michael Jordan, for example, is the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets and partially owns the Washington Wizards. Jordan also pursued a brief career in baseball and enjoys playing golf in retirement. 

Former NBA player, Shaquille O’Neal, has made millions in endorsement deals for Pepsi, Zales, JCPenny, and Icy Hot. However, he told the New York Post he doesn’t want to be a celebrity anymore, saying, “These celebrities are going freaking crazy, and I don’t want to be one. I denounce my celebrity-ness today. I’m done with it.”

Do NBA players get all of their salary?

Professional basketball players might have million-dollar salaries attached to their names, but they don’t get to pocket it all. NBA players have to pay annual taxes, just like you and me. However, they also pay roughly 4% to their agents, payments to personal assistants, and other resources they must utilize. 

For example, LeBron James5 spends about $1.5 million yearly to keep his body in shape. The high dollar amount includes massage therapists, chefs, home gyms, trainers, and more. It’s obviously not cheap being an NBA legend. 

In addition, players contribute to their 401k, which the NBA matches up to 140%. NBA players have to pay what’s called a “jock tax”6, which people who work across many states use. Since each state has different tax guidelines, players must pay the appropriate taxes depending on where they work. 

Final thoughts 

Players do not get paid solely for being in the Hall of Fame. NBA Hall of Famers gets paid through retirement deals, pensions, and other endorsements.

Retired NBA players often become sports commentaries or sign book deals to supplement their income. Superstar NBA players make significantly more than their counterparts and score deals on and off the court. 








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