The highest-paid NBA players by season has recently eclipsed $40 million. Larry Bird was the first player to earn $5 million or more with a salary of $7,070,000 in the 1991-92 season. Magic Johnson became the first player to earn $10 million or more in the 94-95 season with a salary of $14,660,000. Patrick Ewing became the first player to earn $15 million or more in the 95-96 season with a salary of $18,724,000. Michael Jordan was the first NBA player to sign a contract worth over $20 million and in fact it exceeded $30 million as well in a season; this was a record he had held for 15 years. During the 1997–98 season, Jordan earned $33,140,000, which still stands as the most any NBA player has earned on a 1-year contract. Jordan also holds the record for the second largest 1-year contract at $30,140,000 in the 1996-97 season. Kobe Bryant become just the second player to reach this milestone when the 2013–14 season began.LeBron James became the third in the 2016–17 season. Stephen Curry became the first player to eclipse $40 million per year when he signed a record 5-year contract worth $201 million in 2017, starting with $34,682,550 in the 2017-18 season and ending with the largest earnings in the 2021-22 season with a record payout of $45,780,966.
Beginning in the 1984–85 NBA season, the NBA's first salary cap was introduced. The NBA salary cap is the maximum dollar amount each NBA team can spend on its players for the season. However, the NBA uses a "soft" salary cap, which means that significant "salary exceptions" allow NBA teams to exceed their allotted amount in order to sign players. The salary cap is determined during the offseason, but as stated earlier, it is liable to change.
An exception is necessary to sign a player for a contract that would exceed the salary cap threshold of the "soft cap". The Larry Bird exception, more commonly known as Bird Rights, allows teams to re-sign a current player only if he has played for that particular team for a minimum of three years. Another exception, known as the mid-level exception, allows for teams that are over the salary cap to sign one or more players as long as they do not exceed the total amount of the average NBA salary. Next, the bi-annual exception can be used by teams every other year to sign a free agent(s) for up to two years at an amount set by the NBA. Finally, the rookie player exception allows any NBA team to sign their first-round draft pick to a contract based upon a scale previously set forth by the NBA. Another option for teams would be to assign players to a league-assigned minimum salary contract for a maximum of two years.
According to 2010–11 NBA season game performance, the league's best players were not its highest-paid players. Each year there are ten players selected to one of the two All-NBA Teams. Out of those ten players chosen that year, Kobe Bryant was the only player that was also among the game's ten highest-paid during the 2010–11 NBA season.
Kobe Bryant, who spent his entire 20-year career in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, was the highest-paid player in the league from the 2009–10 until his retirement at the conclusion of the 2015–16 season.
The highest-paid player in Major League Baseball (MLB) from the 2018 Major League Baseball season is Los Angeles Angels' Center Fielder Mike Trout with an annual salary of $34,000,000 on a 7 year contract for $426,500,000. MLB does not have a hard salary cap, instead employing a luxury tax which applies to teams whose total payroll exceeds certain set thresholds for a given season. Free agency did not exist in MLB prior to the end of the reserve clause in the 1970s, allowing owners before that time to wholly dictate the terms of player negotiations and resulting in significantly lower salaries. Babe Ruth, widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball players ever, earned an estimated $910,696 ($15,003,567 inflation-adjusted from 1931 dollars) over his entire playing career. When asked whether he thought he deserved to earn $80,000 a year ($1,199,841 inflation-adjusted), while the president, Herbert Hoover, had a $75,000 salary, Ruth famously remarked, "What the hell has Hoover got to do with it? Besides, I had a better year than he did."Alex Rodriguez has signed two record-breaking contracts over the course of his career. First, he signed a $252 million, 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers in December 2000 ($366,629,565 inflation-adjusted from 2000 dollars). Sandy Alderson called the deal "stupefying", while Sports Illustrated noted that Rodriguez's early salaries under the contract ($21 million) would be greater than the annual payroll of the entire Minnesota Twins team that year ($15.8 million). The deal was the largest sports contract in history, doubling the total value of Kevin Garnett's $126 million National Basketball Association contract (the previous record holder) and more than doubling Mike Hampton's $121 million contract, the previous MLB record which had been signed just days before. The Rangers later traded Rodriguez to the Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano before the 2004 season, though they agreed to pay $67 million of the $179 million outstanding on the contract. Despite this, he opted out of the remainder of his deal after the 2007 season and renegotiated a new $275 million, 10-year agreement with the Yankees, breaking his own record for the largest sports contract. Under this deal, Rodriguez also receives $6 million each if and when he ties the career home run totals of Willie Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755), and Barry Bonds (762), along with another $6 million for breaking Bonds' mark.First base was the highest-paid position in 2010; regular starters at that position earned an average salary of $9,504,165 in compared to an overall average of $3,014,572. Pitcher Nolan Ryan was the first player to earn an annual salary above $1 million, signing a $4.5 million, 4-year contract with the Houston Astros in 1979. Kirby Puckett and Rickey Henderson signed the first contracts which paid an average of $3 million a year in November 1989, in 1990 Jose Canseco signed for 5 years and $23.5 million, making him the first player to earn an average of $4 million a year. It was until 2010 when the MLB average salary rose above that same mark. Five of the twenty highest-paid players in 2013 were members of the Yankees. Their team payroll for 2013 was $228,835,490, roughly $12 million above the second-largest Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees have drawn criticism for their payroll, with some claiming it undermines the parity of MLB.
Shaquille Rashaun "Shaq" O'Neal ( shə-KEEL; SHAK; born March 6, 1972) is a retired professional American basketball player who is a sports analyst on the television program Inside the NBA on TNT. He is considered one of the greatest players in National Basketball Association (NBA) history. At 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) tall and 325 pounds (147 kg), he was one of the tallest and heaviest players ever. O'Neal played for six teams over his 19-year career.
Following his time at Louisiana State University, O'Neal was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft. He quickly became one of the best centers in the league, winning Rookie of the Year in 1992–93 and leading his team to the 1995 NBA Finals. After four years with the Magic, O'Neal signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers. They won three consecutive championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Amid tension between O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, and his fourth NBA championship followed in 2006. Midway through the 2007–2008 season he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. After a season-and-a-half with the Suns, O'Neal was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2009–10 season. O'Neal played for the Boston Celtics in the 2010–11 season before retiring.O'Neal's individual accolades include the 1999–2000 MVP award, the 1992–93 NBA Rookie of the Year award, 15 All-Star game selections, three All-Star Game MVP awards, three Finals MVP awards, two scoring titles, 14 All-NBA team selections, and three NBA All-Defensive Team selections. He is one of only three players to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same year (2000); the other players are Willis Reed in 1970 and Michael Jordan in 1996 and 1998. He ranks 8th all-time in points scored, 6th in field goals, 15th in rebounds, and 8th in blocks. Largely due to his ability to dunk the basketball, O'Neal also ranks third all-time in field goal percentage (58.2%). O'Neal was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. He was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.In addition to his basketball career, O'Neal has released four rap albums, with his first, Shaq Diesel, going platinum. O'Neal is also an electronic music producer, and touring DJ, known as DIESEL. He has appeared in numerous films and has starred in his own reality shows, Shaq's Big Challenge and Shaq Vs.. He hosts The Big Podcast with Shaq. He is also the general manager of Kings Guard Gaming of the NBA 2K League.
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