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  4. WNBA salaries max out nearly $865K less than the NBA's lowest contracts. Players lean on side jobs and savvy financial strategies to fill the gap.

WNBA salaries max out nearly $865K less than the NBA's lowest contracts. Players lean on side jobs and savvy financial strategies to fill the gap.

Meredith Cash   

WNBA salaries max out nearly $865K less than the NBA's lowest contracts. Players lean on side jobs and savvy financial strategies to fill the gap.
  • WNBA players typically have other sources of income outside of their team salaries.
  • Most play overseas, while others work in media, coaching, or businesses away from the court.

All professional athletes have a limited window to cash in on their talents.

But for the top women's basketball stars on the planet, taking full advantage of money-making opportunities is more crucial than it is for many other — particularly male — sports stars.

WNBA salaries maxed out at $235,000 in 2023, with the average league salary clocking in at $113,295 and the minimum hovering just above $62,000, per Spotrac. By comparison, Statista lists the minimum NBA salary for the 2023-2024 season at $1.1 million, though the average salary in the men's league nears eight figures. That's a difference of nearly $865,000 between the highest paid WNBA player and the lowest paid NBA player.

With only "a short amount of time to make this money," as three-time WNBA All-Star Napheesa Collier told Business Insider, most of the league's stars opt to compete overseas with a second team to collect a second, often larger, salary. Others choose to take on media or coaching gigs or work on businesses away from the court during the WNBA offseason.

But boasting several different streams of income to supplement their WNBA salaries can make managing their money far from straightforward.

"We really want to do the most of it the most with what we have," Collier told Business Insider. "Learning about wealth management and how to grow our businesses and our brands and to make this money to how to do investments, how to save and budget the correct way, is really important."

Side gigs and overseas incomes can complicate WNBA players' finances

Collier acknowledges that she and her colleagues' "lifestyles are so different" than the general population's. As a result, they're forced to consider "things that most people generally may not need" while handling their finances.

"Like learning about taxes in multiple different states, like what to do with overseas money," Collier said. "Things that you might not normally have in your life."

US Bank, a major sponsor of the WNBA known as a "WNBA Changemaker," stepped up to help the league's 144 players find their financial footing. With input from Collier — who spoke to BI as an athlete ambassador for the Fortune 500 company — and many of her colleagues, US Bank developed a custom educational program that included a microsite with on-demand content "personally tailored to us," as Collier said.

Advisors from the bank have also been made available to players for one-on-one sessions or team workshops. Additionally, they've held webinars for current and former players on investing and business ownership while offering rookies a financial wellness seminar ahead of recent WNBA Drafts.

US Bank isn't the only brand pitching in

Several of the WNBA's five other Changemakers have offered their own programming to help players do more with their money.

AT&T has provided players with technology solutions for their businesses and philanthropies as well as access to mentors who could help them grow those off-court endeavors. Deloitte has committed to helping the league's stars prepare for their post-basketball careers, and CarMax has introduced "player media sessions" to help them build their personal brands "through media training and networking."

Collier said that these offerings have "been super helpful" to players across the league, many of whom might otherwise struggle to find these types of resources while juggling multiple jobs on multiple continents.

"Being able to have an individual, personalized approach that US Bank has come to us with and has been able to partner with us, it's so invaluable because it's not always easy to be able to navigate this," Collier said. "It means a lot."

These WNBA Changemakers, she added, are "genuinely interested in helping women and women's sports, not just being there for the name recognition of it, not just writing a check and saying that they're affiliated with the W."

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