Updated 08:38 AM EST, Wed, Jan 20, 2021

Highest Paid NBA Player 2014: Lebron James is No. 1, Kobe Bryant Second

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The two biggest names in basketball in terms of earnings this year, according to Forbes, are Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant. LeBron took the No. 3 spot on the list of the world's highest paid athletes while Bryant closely followed at No. 5.

Following Floyd Mayweather at No.1 and Cristiano Ronaldo at No. 2, James made an earning of $72.3 million - $19.3 million in salary and $53 million in endorsements. Aside from his endorsements for big companies like Nike, McDonalds, Powerade, Coke, Samsung and State Farm, PageQSports said that the Cavalier also made millions when Apple purchased Beats by Dre for about $3 billion.

James is said to have a "small equity stake" in Beats, which he started sporting since 2008 during the Olympics in Beijing, China. The amount he made was estimated by PageQSports to be around $30 million, almost making him tie Mayweather at No. 1.

In his Forbes profile, it was revealed that James indeed proved that he is the "king of the NBA." It added that the sales of his Nike shoes was at the top among other NBA stars last year, pegged at $300 million, while his jersey was the bestseller in the league.

Kobe Bryant, on the other hand, secured the fifth spot, earning $61.5 million - $30.5 million in salary and $31 million in endorsements. Forbes said that he had the highest salary in the league for four consecutive years from 2010 to 2013. It noted that Bryant's $30.5 million salary is about $8 million higher than any other player in the NBA.

In November last year, Bryant signed a $49.5 million contract extension with the Lakers, making his salary one of the highest in the NBA. Aside from his basketball career, he also has endorsement deals with Nike, Lenovo, Turkish Air, Hublot and Panini where he earns about $30 million yearly. He has also made huge investments with his earning including a $4-6 million a year for the 10 percent of sports drink BodyArmour. This can be considered the first investment of his company called Kobe Inc.

Despite missing most of the games last season because of left knee fracture, Bryant's jersey still remained to be the No. 3 bestseller during the season, next to James and Kevin Durant. He also ranks fourth in the scoring list of the NBA. A MediaHog report said that this effort is "not bad" for Kobe considering that he has problems with negative publicity in the past.

"He's not at the top of his game when it comes to basketball but he sure is when it comes to earning and endorsements," it added, noting that Bryant is earning so much from his basketball career that he will definitely do it until his body cannot afford to play anymore.

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