LeBron James got less than half of his $33 million salary this season - here's what happened to the rest

Advertisement
LeBron James got less than half of his $33 million salary this season - here's what happened to the rest

lebron james

Andy Lyons/Getty

  • According to one estimate, LeBron James took home about half of his $33 million contract after taxes and other costs, giving a sense of how athletes are taxed compared to most people.
  • James was docked almost $13 million in taxes, plus another $4 million in other costs.
  • James makes an estimated $55 million off the court in endorsements and has the chance to become the highest-paid player in NBA history this offseason.


By now we know that most athlete contracts aren't what they seem.

Though the base numbers are enormous, after federal, state, and city taxes, plus fees for agents and other costs, athletes usually ending up taking home close to half of their base salary.

ESPN's Darren Rovell broke down what LeBron James, the second-highest-paid player in the NBA this season, made from his $33 million contract. While it's still quite a big number, based on Rovell's estimate, it's less than half of that.

According to Rovell, James was docked almost $11.9 million in federal taxes, $2.1 million in state and city taxes, over $3 million in this year's NBA escrow, $900,000 in agent fees (agents usually collect 2-3% of player contracts), and another $18,000 in his 401(k) based on 2017 estimates.

He did, however, make some money back from last year's NBA escrow and a bit more in a shortfall. In total, Rovell estimated that James made about $16.7 million this year.

Luckily, for James, he's an even bigger earner off the court - it's been estimated he makes $55 million in endorsements.

James' situation is not unlike Stephen Curry, who also took home about half of his NBA-record $35 million salary.

Other professional athletes have said that their salary numbers should be cut in half right from the get-go because of taxes. Los Angeles Rams defensive end Ndamukong Suh told Business Insider that he doesn't think the average person understands what athletes make and how many expenses they have.

This summer, James can become a free agent and has the chance to become the highest-paid player in the NBA.

{{}}