The Most Successful NBA Stars of All-Time

Get two NBA fans together and sooner or later talk will turn to the greats. Debating which of the many stars to have graced the sport is the greatest of all-time is something that all NBA lovers will indulge in from time to time, and is part of the ongoing global conversation that makes this competition such a rich and compelling spectacle.

Of course, many of the great players are successful both on and off the court. Players such as Steph Curry and LeBron James are not just stars of the basketball court, but are also celebrities, businessmen, and brand ambassadors, and their net worth can be rated alongside film stars, singers, and business moguls.

The most successful player currently in the NBA is the great LeBron James. The 2003 No. 1 draft pick has become the most famous player in the world. In his 15th NBA season, the Cleveland star has won three championships, four MVP awards, and three Olympic Golds. As well as a string of endorsements, he is head of the LeBron James Family Foundation, which offers educational opportunities to children, and he has even tried his hand at acting. By some estimates, he is worth around $400 million.

Not too far behind LeBron is Steph Curry. The two-time MVP and the first player ever to win a unanimous MVP award, Curry earned around $47.3 million last season and is set to be paid around $200 million by the Golden State Warriors over the next five years. He is such an important player to the Warriors that his absence can have a significant effect on the team's odds in the NBA sports betting markets. Since 2015, he has taken on endorsements from JP Morgan Chase, Under Armour, PressPlay, and Vivo, and according to Forbes is the eighth highest-paid athlete on the planet.

The Ball family have taken things a step further. Under the guidance of LaVar Ball, who created the so-called "Big Baller Brand," his son, Lonzo Ball, has made a huge impact in his first NBA season with the L.A. Lakers, and has also been making a splash in the sportswear market. Refusing endorsements from major companies such as Nike and Adidas, LaVar Ball has released sports gear under the Big Baller label, including Lonzo's first shoe, the ZO2, which went on sale for a cool $495. Lonzo has also released a rap album, and the Ball family as a whole have starred in their own reality show. With younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo both playing basketball, the Big Baller Brand is only going to get stronger.

However, these modern-day success stories still have some way to go to catch up with the most successful player of all-time. The legendary Michael Jordan won six NBA championships and astonished the world with his feats, becoming for a time the most famous sportsman on the planet. His total earnings as a player amounted to around $90 million, but he is estimated to have earned as much as $1.4 billion through endorsements. He owns a majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets, and even now, a decade and a half after retirement, Jordan still has sponsorship deals with a host of major companies.

In the age of social media, reality television, and multi-million dollar endorsement deals, the opportunities for top NBA players to build on their on-court ability have never been greater. As Lonzo Ball, Steph Curry, and LeBron James are showing, excellence on the court can open up doors to lucrative and successful ventures off-court.

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