James boasts a salary of $31.4 million and will make $64 million in endorsements for a total of $95.4 million.
LeBron is followed by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry at $74.4 million. Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant ($65.2 million), Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook ($58.1 million) and newly acquired Nets guard James Harden ($50 million) round out the top five.
The rest of the top 10 is composed of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo ($49 million), Warriors guard Klay Thompson ($43.3 million), Nets guard Kyrie Irving ($43 million), Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul ($40.1 million) and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard ($39 million).
Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes wrote that LeBron will reach $1 billion in career earnings this year, making him only the fifth athlete to do so while still active. The others are golfer Tiger Woods, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and soccer icons Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Badenhausen noted that $700 million of that $1 billion will have been made off the court with AT&T, Beats, Nike, Walmart, Rimowa, GMC and Blaze Pizza standing as his current endorsement deals. The 36-year-old is expected to sign with PepsiCo after previously representing Coca-Cola.
Along with having the NBA's highest base salary for the 2020-21 season, Curry's earnings are bolstered by a large endorsement contract with Under Armour, which is worth $20 million per year.
Of the 10 highest-earning players, only James, Curry, Durant and Antetokounmpo will make more this year through endorsements than salary.
Giannis is the lowest-paid player on the list in terms of 2020-21 salary at $22 million, but his salary next season will skyrocket to over $39 million after he signed a five-year, $228.2 million extension with the Bucks in December.