kevin garnett

5 Highest-Paid Basketball Players of All-Time

Jay-Z famously said, “I’m not a businessman—I’m a business, man!”

And these NBA stars truly embody playing basketball as an infinite income source.

You won’t find any LeBron James or Stephen Curry in the list (both are working their way up to appearing in the future list, though). But these names are some of the wealthiest NBA players to date.

#5 Tim Duncan

Total earnings: $240.1 million

Highest single-season pay: $22.2 million

Seasons: 19

Duncan was given the name The Fundamental by none other than O’Neal. For O’Neal, he was one of the most fundamentally sound players in the NBA then and now. 

O’Neal knew because the Duncan-led San Antonio Spurs snatched the 2002-03 championship from the Lakers. Speaking of which, Duncan has earned sizable amount from his stint with the Spurs. 

However, he was not all for earning millions of dollars. He sacrificed bigger paychecks twice in his career: one with a salary cut in 2012 to keep the Spurs intact and two with a massive discount for a $10.4 million contract, again with Spurs.

#4 Dirk Nowitzki

Total earnings: $246.6 million

Highest single-season pay: $25 million

Seasons: 20

Among the NBA players in this list, Nowitzki is the only who still plays. He plays for the Dallas Mavericks where he was reportedly earning $5 million for his one-season contract. 

In 2017, he received his biggest pay of $25 million. 

The Hall of Famer is one of the all-time leading scorers in the league. He was one of the seven players who scored more than 30,000 points throughout their career.

#3 Shaquille O’Neal

Total earnings: $286.3 million

Highest single-season pay: $27.7 million

Seasons: 19

O’Neal was known for his strength, agility, and speed—the reasons why 1) he was unstoppable during one-on-ones and 2) he broke two backboards during his rookie year. No pun intended there as it only knows how forceful O’Neal can become.

O’Neal led the Lakers championships for three consecutive years from 2000 to 2002. His biggest paycheck came in 2004-05 NBA season when he led the team to the Finals once more.

#2 Kobe Bryant

Total earnings: $323.3 million

Highest single-season pay: $30.5 million

Seasons: 20

Despite a season-ending knee injury that he sustained in the 2013-14 season, this was Bryant’s highest-paying season still.

Bryant was an MVP, a four-time Finals MVP, and a five-time NBA champion. Such accomplishments were rewarded handsomely by the Los Angeles Lakers management.

The Black Mamba overtook O’Neal’s supposed second stop if he didn’t retire one season behind Bryant. Bryant was also one season short of Garnett’s.

#1 Kevin Garnett

Total earnings: $334.3 million

Highest single-season pay: $28 million

Seasons: 21

His overall revenues are not the main reason why Garnett earned the moniker The Big Ticket. But contract-wise, the retired player earns the honour of being the richest man in the NBA. 

In fact, he was the primary reason the league introduced a cap on contracts after signing a $126 million deal for six years.

The only player who was about to surpass his earnings is LeBron James.

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kawhi leonard buzzer beater

5 Best Buzzer-Beaters in the NBA History

A buzzer-beater brings some of the most explosive wins. Buzzer-beaters are indeed heart-pounding.

Not created equal, a buzzer-beater can be a game-winning or series-clinching. The latter tends to be more exciting, though, because it changes the game from that point forward.

Here are the five buzzer-beaters boot throughout the league’s history.

#5 Damian Lillard’s 2014 buzzer-beater (Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets)

Lillard had his first walk-off buzzer-beater in 2014. The shot was momentous for so many reasons. First, it was the Blazers’ first series win after 14 long years. The team was always eliminated in the first round ever since it appeared in the 1999-2000 NBA season Western Conference Finals.

Lillard’s winning shot came at 0.9 seconds left with Rockets leading the game by two points. He took the inbound and the chance, giving them the 3-2 lead.

#4 Ralph Sampson’s 1986 buzzer-beater (Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers)

Included in the list of the greatest playoff moments was Sampson’s one-second buzzer-beater. The 7’4” Sampson went against Hakeem Olajuwon but completed the shot nonetheless.

It was a miraculous inbound-toss shot on Game 5, allowing the Rockets to appear in its second NBA Finals in the 1985-86 season.

#3 Damian Lillard’s 2019 buzzer-beater (Portland Trail Blazers vs Oklahoma City Thunders)

It’s Lillard once again. This Blazer knows how to score points even from long-ranges. He shoots this buzzer-beater from the logo–about 37 feet away from the basket. 

The finale shot clinched the series for the Blazers in just five games. It was one of their heated series with players clashing here and there. The scores were tied at 115 with less than seven seconds to finish the game.

#2 Kawhi Leonard’s 2019 buzzer-beater (Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers)

This meeting took 18 years to happen once more. The Raptors could only imagine what would have happened if Vince Carter was able to shoot that last-second shot at the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2001.

Leonard sealed that what-could-have-been moment with his three-point jumper. He was no stranger to game-winning shots, but this one’s different. The fadeaway shot resulted in an airball; the ball bounced four times at the rim before it went inside. Even the seemingly calm Leonard let out a big scream afterwards.

Not only it brought the Raptors to the 2018-19 NBA Finals, but it was also the first buzzer-beater in a Game 7 throughout the history of the NBA. The Raptors won the Finals with Leonard as the Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP).

#1 Michael Jordan’s 1989 buzzer-beater (Chicago Bulls vs Cleveland Cavaliers)

The Bulls and the Cavs have faced one another in several playoffs, but this one’s epic because of Jordan’s buzzer-beater (later known as “The Shot”). A tied series at 2-2, the Cavs led the Game 5 by one point until Jordan’s jumper.

With only three seconds remaining at the shot clock, the ace player took a chance, and it went in. He went head to head against Craig Elho who tried to block the shot to no avail. Jordan had a goal celebration with one of the most iconic fist pumps in NBA history.

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NBA 2019-2020 Season: New Mental Health Guidelines and Requirements

What do Stephon Marbury, Delonte West, Eddie Griffin, and Larry Sanders have in common? They all had a mental disorder. 

On the other hand, what do Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan’s aim for? An improved mental health program for the NBA players–a platform that recognizes their mental health needs.

So, for the upcoming season 2019-20, expect a lot of changes on this front, a league memo issued to the 30 teams has noted.

NBA’s expanded mental health program

Announced on August 7, 2019, the health initiative requires that each team must have a mental health professional or two (on retainer basis). He or she must have extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of clinical mental health conditions. A licensed psychiatrist shall also aid the organization in managing any mental health concerns.

In line with this, all teams are expected to draft their respective action plan as protocols during a mental health emergency. A set of confidentiality policies regarding the matter is an additional requirement.

Likewise, the 30 NBA teams must attend the health and wellness meeting to be conducted in Chicago on September 12. Guidelines will be discussed during the meeting.

The changes sprung from the slate of NBA players’ revelation about their bouts against various mental health issues. They suffered from such before and while playing in the league. 

Addressing the players’ mental health needs

Love and Keyon Dooling wrote personal essays about this issue and their advocacy and published in The Player’s Tribune. DeRozan, on the other hand, discussed his mental health challenge–depression, as he spoke with Doug Smith of the Toronto Star.

In Love’s influential essay, Everyone is Going Through Something, he said,

“So for 29 years, I thought about mental health as someone else’s problem. Sure, I knew on some level that some people benefited from asking for help or opening up. I just never thought it was for me. To me, it was a form of weakness that could derail my success in sports or make me seem weird or different.”

For Love, who had a panic attack in the middle of the game, and other NBA players who are struggling with depression, they were trapped in a playbook. Such playbook requires every man to: Be strong. Don’t talk about your feelings. Get through it on your own.

Commission Adam Silver acknowledged the mental health needs of the players, among others, who face gruelling tasks game after game. He talked openly about the issue in February. 

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston held in the first quarter of 2019, Silver said, “A lot of these young men are generally unhappy.” 

True to Sliver’s words, “We are living in a time of anxiety.” And the NBA needs to step up its game if it really wants to help the players who are also struggling with accepting their conditions and talking about it.

A lot of things must be done, but the memorandum is the Association’s next stage since the creation of the mental health and wellness program in 2018. Dooling currently heads the program.

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