LeBron James Was Paid Millions Less Than 8 NBA All-Stars Despite Winning the Championship and MVP Crown in 2013

Published 09/10/2023, 6:31 PM EDT

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LeBron James hit his peak during the 2012-13 NBA season. The 2013 NBA Finals will go down as one of the most thrilling games in NBA history. The Chosen One led the Miami Heat to their third championship title. He played a crucial role in the Heat’s success, averaging 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 7 assists per game during the 2023 NBA Finals. His performance also earned him the NBA Finals MVP award for the second consecutive year. Despite these accolades, the 19-time All-Star was still paid less than eight other NBA All-Stars in the 2013-14 season.

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Why was LeBron James underpaid in the 2013-14 season?

The list of player salaries for the 2013–14 season, compiled by HoopsHype, places King James’ $19 million salary at number nine. It was absurd that he was not the highest-paid player, despite his stature as the best player in the NBA. This disparity in salaries can be attributed to the CBA guidelines. 

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“Basketball Gods Were Just on Their Side”: LeBron James and Co Snatching 2013 Championship Still Haunts 3x NBA Champ

According to the NBA’s old collective bargaining agreement, the individual player salary is limited to 30% of the cap for 7-year veterans, which equates to $16.4 million. LeBron James qualified as a seven-year veteran at the time he left the Cleveland Cavaliers. His value would be greater if basketball operated under a free-market system. However, James proved to be an invaluable asset to the Miami Heat. They averaged $154 million in both years they won the coveted title. 

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James had directly addressed the issue, saying, It doesn’t matter to me, being the highest-paid guy in the league. What I do on the floor shows my value. At the end of the day, I don’t think my value of what I do on the floor can be compensated anyway because of the CBA if you want this truth.”

LeBron James fell one vote short of receiving a unanimous MVP award

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The list featured legendary players at the top, notably Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki. However, one name that stood out on the list was Carmelo Anthony, who sat at number 5. Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James go back to the 2013 season. The same year, The Akron Hammer became the youngest player in the NBA to win four consecutive MVPs.

However, out of 121 first-place votes by media members and analysts, James was shy of just one vote to secure the unanimous MVP award. That single vote went to the New York Knicks’ star, Carmelo Anthony. Both of them had an excellent year in terms of scoring. James averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks in 76 games played. While Melo averaged 28.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists.

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Despite the hurdles, LeBron James has now made it among the top three highest-earning NBA players in the 2022-23 season. James’ dedication and persistence managed to get him to the top, surpassing all the players who were above him back then. 

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Watch this story: Despite 4 NBA Rings and Billionaire Stature, LeBron James Finds “Heaven on Earth” Through Other Sport

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Written by:

Darshita Daga

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Darshita Daga is an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing Bachelor’s in English, she’s a fervent sports enthusiast with a keen interest in sports journalism, specifically covering the NBA. She feels that words have the potential to capture the spirit of a game, evaluate moves, and portray the emotions that occur both on and off the court.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja

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