Kobe Bryant, Taurean Prince and 10 Million Dollars Reflect NBA’s Massive Two Decade Transformation

Published 10/01/2021, 2:30 PM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA JANUARY 29, 2013-Lakers Kobe Bryant bites his jersey while Pau Gasol shoots a free throw at the Staples Center Tuesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


The NBA was founded back in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America. They later absorbed a majority of the NBL to form the NBA in 1949. Back then, few would’ve known that this league is going to generate billions in revenue after 70 years. However, not just the league, even athletes’ fortunes have changed since then. If you compare what Kobe Bryant used to earn in his peak years, it is still less than some players who are not even regular starters today.

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The NBA generates more than $8 billion in revenue now and there’s not a single NBA team that is worth less than a billion dollars. However, the last 50 years have been crucial in the NBA’s rise to one of the world’s most-watched leagues.

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The NBA saw the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant rise to fame and popularize the game worldwide. From humble roots to a billion-dollar-worth league, the NBA has come a long way. And the rise is visible.

WATCH THIS STORY: Diving into How Kobe Bryant Earned $600 Million And Spent it on Cars, Mansions and Charities

The contrast between Kobe Bryant and Taurean Prince’s salary

Kobe Bryant used to make $10,125,000 during the 2000-01 season with the Lakers. However, right now, the likes of Taurean Prince and Cory Joseph make more than this.

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During the 2000-01 NBA season, Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett was the highest earner and made $19,600,000 that season. But if you compare these numbers to the current batch of players, it’s peanuts. Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry makes double that amount.

Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant are among the highest earners in the league. Not to mention the endorsements, which form a major chunk of their earnings. Kobe himself was the highest earner in the league in his last season as a professional. But he made $25 million in his last season, which is still very low compared to Stephen Curry’s $45 million salary.

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Laker Kobe Bryant runs up the court in the 4th quarter against the Spurs to cheers in game 5 of the western conference finals at Staples Center, Thursday, May 29, 2008 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The salaries in the NBA have skyrocketed in the past decades. Since 1970, the teams in the NBA have more than doubled from 14 to 30. When it comes to salaries, an average NBA player now earns the yearly salary of an average NBA player from the 70s in a week!

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Abhishek Singh

180 articles

Abhishek is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports with over two years of journalistic experience with Chase Your Sport and Dribl. A Football Management graduate, he has previously interned in the Indian Super League, I-League and the AFC Champions League. In addition to being a Michael Jordan fan, Abhishek is an ardent Steph Curry and Warriors guy, and believes they have a few more championships in store before the former retires.

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