Top Earners in NBA History: 54 Players Who Have Made More Than Michael Jordan

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IMay 25, 2011

Top Earners in NBA History: 54 Players Who Have Made More Than Michael Jordan

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    The NBA has handed out some serious wads of cash to its players.

    While some of the names on this list, like Shaquille O'Neal, are hardly shocking to most, others, like Juwan Howard, may really surprise when you read just how much money they have accrued over their careers.

    All of the players listed accrued more money than Michael Jordan over the tenure of their time in the league, and it's hard to imagine anyone being worth more to a team than the greatest player of all-time.

    Since the 1990s, the landscape of salaries has really changed in the NBA, and these inflated deals have gotten out of hand. In fact, player salaries are among the most critical points in negotiating a new collective-bargaining agreement, which has separated the players and the league and made another NBA lockout look very likely. 

    Note: All salaries were compiled using Basketball Reference

55. Michael Jordan

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 12: Former player Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls smiles as he is introduced to  the crowd during a 20th anniversary recognition ceremony of the Bulls 1st NBA Championship in 1991 during half-time of a game bewteen the Bulls and th
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $90,235,000 

    Michael Jordan is the greatest player in the history of the NBA, and it’s a shame to see so many lesser players earn more than he did during his playing days.

    It’s amazing to see how the salary structure in the league has changed over time, and this final slide should illustrate that point rather emphatically. 

54. Joe Johnson

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 12:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks walks onto the court during introductions before facing the Chicago Bulls in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Ge
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $91,313,901 

    Joe Johnson has received a lot of flak for not being a “maximum contract player," but he’s definitely performed better than the Celtics thought.

    With all of the money that’s still owed to him, it’d be surprising not to see him among the highest earners when his career is wrapped up.


53. Andrei Kirilenko

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 23:  Forward Anrei Kirilenko #47 of the Utah Jazz is fouled by Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on February 23, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $91,447,414

    Kirilenko rewarded a Utah Jazz team that gave him an insane multi-year contract by delivering inconsistency and disappointment over the last few seasons.

    At one point, he was a very talented player, so maybe he just needs to cut his hair so he can actually see the hoop once again.


52. Yao Ming

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26:  Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets looks on during their opening night game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agre
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $93,390,336

    Yao Ming might not ever play another game in the NBA again, but I’m fairly certain he’d have enough money to get by.

    It’s amazing how much money a person can make if he is of extraordinary height, but it’s really incredible to think that he’s going to make more than Jordan regardless of whether or not he ever plays again.


51. Erick Dampier

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $97,113,349

    Erick Dampier was never a star and, frankly, he reached his ceiling as an above-average center.

    Can someone please explain to me how he weaseled his way into more than $97 million over his career? As Chad Ochocinco would say: “child please!” That’s just ridiculous.


50. Peja Stojakovic

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 21:  Peja Stojakovic #16 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball over Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first quarter in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City A
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Contract Earnings: $97,956,720

    Peja Stojakovic was bought out earlier this season and the Mavericks didn’t need to dole out the big bucks to bring him aboard.

    Why? Because he’s already received plenty of money for his career accomplishments. The numbers don’t lie.


49. Lamar Odom

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    EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 11:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks during a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $98,867,658

    Lamar Odom is better known by some as Khloe Kardashian’s husband than as the Lakers sixth man, but that doesn’t seem to bother him one bit.

    Between the amount of money he’s collected in his career and what Khloe is worth, I’m pretty sure any kids they have won’t struggle too hard at any point in their lives. 


48. Pau Gasol

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 08:  Forward Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers on the ground after a foul by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, T
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $99,574,396

    Pau Gasol is often critiqued for being soft and lacking a killer instinct, but perhaps the White Swan just doesn’t have the mentality to be mean.

    He’s got more than 99 million reasons to be the nicest guy in the world, so maybe he should pretend like he’s motivated to earn even more in order to reacquire the fire in his eye. 


47. Damon Stoudamire

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    MILWAUKEE - MARCH 1:  Damon Stoudamire #3 of the San Antonio Spurs brings the ball upcourt during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 1, 2008 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The Spurs 96-94.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $99,672,198

    Mighty Mouse might have seen his career end on a sour note, but his career earnings leave nothing but the sweetest taste in his mouth.

    Stoudamire was a personal favorite of mine, and I still don’t believe that there will be a similar point guard of his mold any time soon.


46. Gilbert Arenas

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Gilbert Arenas #1 of the Orlando Magic against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressl
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $100,637,492

    Gilbert Arenas used to be a downright superstar, but now he’s just a $20 million-plus role player and the owner of the worst contract in the league.

    He’s still owed more than $60 million on his current deal and has already racked up triple digits (in the millions) to this point during his playing days.


45. Michael Redd

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    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 19: Michael Redd #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket against Nate Robinson #4 of the New York Knicks on December 19, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and ag
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $100,682,819

    Michael Redd has made over $100 million in his career, and he made more than $18 million last season despite sitting out the majority of the year with an injury.

    That’s some of the best worker’s compensation that I’ve ever seen in my life. 


44. Eddie Jones

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    MIAMI - APRIL 8:  Eddie Jones #6 of the Miami Heat questions a foul call by official Tim Donaghy while taking on the Charlotte Bobcats at American Airlines Arena April 8, 2007 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, b
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $101,254,222

    Eddie Jones was the starting two-guard in Los Angeles long before the Black Mamba came into town, but I don’t think he feels too bad about being overshadowed.

    He was gift-wrapped more than $100 million for his services before hanging ‘em up to enjoy the good life. 


43. Reggie Miller

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    TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 17:  Former NBA player Reggie Miller attends the game between the San Diego State Aztecs and the Northern Colorado Bears during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 17, 2011 in Tucson,
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $101,311,748

    Reggie Miller might have had his three-point record broken by Ray Allen earlier this season, but Pacers fans still remember him as the greatest shooter from deep to ever play the game.

    At least he had a large impact on his franchise, because for $101 million, I’d like to see a positive return on that investment.


42. Jalen Rose

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15:  NFL player Terrell Owens (L) and former NBA player Jalen Rose arrive at the 2009 ESPY Awards held at Nokia Theatre LA Live on July 15, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The 17th annual ESPYs will air on Sunday, July 19 at 9PM ET
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $102,438,250

    Jalen Rose might be most known for being a member of the “Fab 5," but people often forget what a prolific career he enjoyed in the NBA.

    He collected over $102 million despite never standing out as an elite talent, which speaks more to the grotesque landscape of salaries in the league than anything else.


41. Steve Francis

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 29:  Steve Francis #3 of the Houston Rockets stumbles as Baron Davis #5 of the Golden State Warriors defends during first-half action November 29, 2007 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Ima
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $103,501,131

    Stevie Francis was nicknamed “The Franchise” because he was supposed to represent the team for years into the future.

    He enjoyed some successful seasons and was a fairly promising talent, but the yield returned from this investment wasn’t one that the team would like to repeat in the future.


40. Karl Malone

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    SALT LAKE CITY - FEBRUARY 13:  Karl Malone gestures as he announces his retirement from playing NBA basketball as his wife Kay (L) listens on February 13, 2005 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Malone played 19 years in the NBA, 18 with the Uta
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $104,133,378

    The Mailman might not have ever delivered on an NBA ring, but he certainly brought home the bacon.

    Accruing over $104 million during his playing days, it’s no wonder that he’s got such an extensive Harley-Davidson collection.


39. Gary Payton

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    LAS VEGAS - JULY 24:  Gary Payton (L) interviews Kobe Bryant #10 of the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team on the 'Best Damn Sports Show Period' after a practice at Valley High School June 24, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Gett
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $104,367,619

    Gary Payton earned his nickname of “The Glove” because he was such a pesky defender.

    But it’s not surprising considering the fact that he needed something to catch all of those heavy paychecks with. 


38. Mike Bibby

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 18:  (L-R) Mike Bibby #0 and head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat against the Chicago Bulls in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 18, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $105,741,440

    Mike Bibby gave up over $6 million guaranteed to join the Miami Heat this season, but it’s really not that great of a sacrifice when you look at how much he’s made in his career.

    Isn’t it amazing the types of deals that a player can land when he’s drafted second overall? Bibby has never come close to being an elite talent at his position. 


37. Hakeem Olajuwon

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    HOUSTON - DECEMBER 29:  Former Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon waves to the crowd as he is introduced to the crowd at Toyota Center on December 29, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or u
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $107,011,426

    Hakeem Olajuwon collected fat paychecks in an era when they just weren’t as prevalent as they are in today’s game.

    Arguably the greatest center of all-time, he’s regarded as a guru around the league to this day. They don’t just give out the nickname of “The Dream” to anybody.


36. Steve Nash

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 13:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on April 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or usi
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $107,346,058

    Steve Nash has only played for two teams throughout his incredible career, but neither one has been shy about paying him what he deserves.

    Maybe the hairy-chested point guard can get a fresh wax job when he’s enjoying retirement in order to even out his tan. 


35. Shawn Marion

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 23:  Shawn Marion #0 of the Dallas Mavericks posts up Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the third quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 23, 2
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $107,502,663

    Shawn Marion’s nickname is the “The Matrix”, and perhaps it’s because that’s exactly the type of mathematical analysis one needs to figure out how he came up on so much dough.

    He would’ve made even more had he not rejected a very fair contract extension from the Suns back in the day, but all is well that ends well for Marion.


34. Marcus Camby

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    DALLAS, TX - APRIL 25:  (L-R) Marcus Camby #23 and Patrick Mills #8 of the Portland Trail Blazers walk off the court after a loss against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $107,797,072

    Marcus Camby may or may not have been collecting some extra benefits during his time at UMass, but I’m guessing that even the most lavish of gifts didn’t equate to what he’s making at the professional level.

    Still a shot-swatting machine at the end of the line, Camby has made a very nice living playing the game of basketball. 


33. Antoine Walker

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    CHICAGO - JANUARY 29:  Antoine Walker #24 of the Minnesota Timberwolves walks up the court after being called for a foul against the Chicago Bulls January 29, 2008 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and ag
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $108,142,015

    How does a guy make over $108 million in his career and go broke? Just ask Antoine Walker.

    He’s now attempting a comeback in the D-League since he’s managed to spend his large fortune, but I’m guessing that, even if he manages to make another appearance, it won’t be on a lucrative deal.


32. Kenyon Martin

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    DENVER, CO - APRIL 25:  Kenyon Martin #4 of the Denver Nuggets catches Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder as he falls to the court in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at the Pepsi
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $108,284,447

    A former first-overall selection out of Cincinnati, it’s hard to imagine that K-Mart is worth all of the money that he’s received over his career.

    In fact, I have absolutely no idea what made Denver think it was such a good idea to give him such a large contract when it did. He may have showed a lot of promise, but there was very little in terms of proven production.


31. Scottie Pippen

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    MIAMI, FL - MAY 22:  Former Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen looks on as the Chicago Bulls play against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.  NO
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $109,192,430

    Scottie Pippen will be best remembered for playing the Robin to Jordan’s Batman, but No. 33 actually pulled in almost $20 million more than MJ did during his playing days.

    It’s pretty remarkable that he was able to make more than Jordan, but there’s no doubt that Pippen is one of the greatest ever to grace the hardwood.


30. Brian Grant

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    MIAMI - MAY 18:  Jermaine O'Neal #7 of the Indiana Pacers and Brian Grant #44 of the Miami Heat jump for the opening tip off in Game six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2004 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 18, 2004 in Miami,
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $109,842,052

    Brian Grant will go down in NBA history as the most overpaid role player ever.

    And if you think I’m kidding, just take a look at the insane yearly salary he collected with the Heat in order to gain a better understanding. 

29. Antonio McDyess

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    MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 29:  Antonio McDyess #34 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 29, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $113,998,859

    Antonio McDyess is still giving it his all in the twilight of his career, but just one look at his career earnings is an easy indicator as to his reason.

    He was a beast in the early part of his career, and fans should take a moment to check out some of his earlier highlights to see just how dominant he was.


28. Allan Houston

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: NBA basketball legends (L-R) Allen Houston, Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley pose at the Muhammad Ali birthday celebration and VIP Reception during the events for the 133rd Kentucky Derby, May 4, 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Ph
    Jeff Gentner/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $117,556,500

    If Allan Houston played in today’s NBA, I can’t even imagine how much more money he would have made.

    I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the idea that he collected more than Karl Malone. 


27. Baron Davis

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    CLEVELAND - MARCH 29: Baron Davis #85 of the Cleveland Cavaliers keeps the ball inbounds during the game against the Miami Heat on March 29, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by down
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $117,590,802

    Baron Davis’ beard might be the best looking one I’ve seen in professional sports, but he’s got all of the money in the world to keep it well-conditioned.

    Despite being constantly pestered by injury and lacking a work ethic at times, B-Diddy is going to be among the highest-paid players in history when his career comes to a close.


26. Rashard Lewis

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    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls guards Rashard Lewis #9 of the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington on February 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $117,744,496

    Rashard Lewis was supposed to be a superstar for the Orlando Magic, but now he’s playing for Washington, so that should tell you everything that you need to know about how that one panned out for the Magic.

    But before that juncture, Lewis was a legitimate stud in the making up in Seattle, so it’s easy to see why Orlando sought to pay him the big bucks.


25. David Robinson

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    NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 16:  Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, NBA legend David Robinson and WNBA player Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Silver Star pose with the championship trophy after winning the Haier Shooting Stars competition, part of 2008 NBA A
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $118,135,623

    David Robinson was one of the founding members of the “Twin Towers," and will forever be a face of the San Antonio franchise.

    He may have earned less than Duncan, but in terms of the team’s history, the two are clearly 1A and 1B.


24. Penny Hardaway

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    SAN ANTONIO - APRIL 07:  Former Memphis Tigers player Anfernee ?Penny? Hardaway poses with the Tigers dance team prior to the start of the 2008 NCAA Men's National Championship game against the Kansas Jayhawks at the Alamodome on April 7, 2008 in San Anto
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $120,469,142

    Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was a magician on the court, and although his career came to a halt rather abruptly, I don’t think he’ll be going broke any time soon.

    He made more than $120 million and got a whole lot more than that with his endorsement deals as well.


23. Patrick Ewing

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    CLEVELAND - MAY 28: Dwight Howard #12 and assistant coach Patrick Ewing of the Orlando Magic talk on the sideline against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 28, 2009
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $123,843,120

    Patrick Ewing is the best defensive center ever, so it’s amazing to consider that he made less than half of Shaq’s total earnings.

    It’s not a surprise that Dwight Howard is the closest thing we’ve seen to Ewing on the defensive end, considering that the two work together all season long in Orlando.


22. Antawn Jamison

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 25:  Antawn Jamison #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket as  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics defends on January 25, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and a
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $124,717,193

    Antawn Jamison was a silky smooth power forward during the prime of his career, and he is one of the more underrated players in recent memory.

    This guy had range for days, and on his best nights he could go toe-to-toe with anyone at the position.


21. Zydrunas Ilgauskas

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Zydrunas Ilgauskas #11 of the Miami Heat walks off the court after being ejected for a technical foul against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 11, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $124,487,723

    I’m just as shocked about Big Z as everyone reading this.

    This guy is a great human being and was an integral player on Cleveland for many seasons, but I’m floored by the fact that this guy is among the top 25 highest earners in history.


20. Elton Brand

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers posts up against Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat  during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in Miami,
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $126,118,550

    Elton Brand is one of the most overpaid players in the NBA today, but he wasn’t always delivering such pedestrian numbers.

    During his time with both the Bulls and Clippers, Brand was a much more explosive player than he’s ever been with the Sixers.

19. Vince Carter

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 30:  Vince Carter #25 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the NBA game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at US Airways Center on March 30, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Thunder defeated the Suns 116-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $134,093,315

    Vince Carter has really experienced a major drop-off in production as of late, but fortunately his performance doesn’t correlate to his salary.

    Being the owner of the best slam dunk of all-time and having more than $134 million sounds like a good living to me.


18. Grant Hill

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 27:  Grant Hill  #33 of the Phoenix Suns drives the ball past  Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks during the NBA game at US Airways Center on March 27, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Mavericks defeated the Suns 91-83.  NOTE TO USER:
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $134,379,650

    Grant Hill was on his way to being one of the most recognizable figures in league history until the injury bug began to bite.

    This guy was as recognizable as Jordan to every NBA fan when each was in their prime, and you couldn’t find a more likable and well-respected man in the league.


17. Paul Pierce

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    MIAMI, FL - MAY 11:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics drives against Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $137,362,539

    “The Truth” may not always be giving us full disclosure in regards to injuries he’s playing with, but he manages to find a way to get it done on almost every single night.

    He’s spent his entire career with the Celtics, and they’ve handed out a lot of green to him to re-enforce the fact that he’s a member of the family despite having roots in Los Angeles.


16. Michael Finley

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    BOSTON - MARCH 10:  Michael Finley #40 of the Boston Celtics heads for the net in the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 10, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Grizzlies defeated the Celtics 111-91. NOTE TO USER: User expr
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $138,576,839

    How did Finley ever earn so much money?

    It's hard to imagine that he got so many lucrative deals without ever really standing out as an elite talent in the league, but when you're a swingman who can shoot it from the outside, you're clearly a coveted asset. 

15. Dirk Nowitzki

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 23:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks walks off the court after the Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-105 in overtime in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma Ci
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $141,342,603

    Nowitzki has been compared to almost every great white basketball player that came before him, and it's too bad because he's really in a class of his own.

    He transformed the power-forward position in great new ways and he is going to be remembered as one of the best international ballers of all-time. 

14. Dikembe Mutombo

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    ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 10:  US basketball legend Dikembe Mutombo and his wife Rose Mutumbo arrive at the Laureus World Sports Awards 2010 at Emirates Palace Hotel on March 10, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Ian Walton
    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $143,666,581

    Mutombo was one of the greatest ambassadors to the league that it will ever know, and a good portion of his large earnings will be dedicated to philanthropic work.

    He made the finger wave famous, and apparently his teams paid him to register his trademark rather frequently. 

13. Alonzo Mourning

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    MIAMI, FL - MARCH 19:  Former Miami Heat Players Tim James (L) and Alonzo Mourning chat prior to  Miami Heat against the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Arena on March 19, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees th
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $143,906,333

    Zo is going to be remembered as one of the toughest players to ever take the hardwood.

    He has a lifetime ticket to any Miami Heat game in South Beach that he'd ever like to attend, and there's no doubt that he did a lot of good things for the franchise that treated him like a king. 

12. Juwan Howard

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 18:  Juwan Howard #5 of the Miami Heat drives around Thaddeus Young #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during game two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at American Airlines Arena on April 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $150,113,452

    Juwan Howard has made more than $150 million in his career. Let that sink in for a minute.

    This guy not only made more than Michael Jordan, but he's No. 12 of players all-time in terms of money garnered strictly from the contract. 

    Wow. 

11. Stephon Marbury

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07:  Stephon Marbury of the Boston Celtics attends Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic at Staples Center on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackno
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $151,115,945

    Marbury was paid handsomely by the New York Knicks for not playing for the team.

    In fact, Starbury didn't even have to show up to the games since he was banned by his own club after repeated acts of insubordination. 

10. Allen Iverson

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    CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 20: Allen Iverson #3 of the Philadelphia 76ers is slow to get up after being hit in the face during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 20, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 122-90. NO
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $154,494,445

    Allen Iverson enjoyed a fruitful career in Philadelphia before it all went downhill. 

    The Answer provided excitement to a franchise that desperately needed it, as he really elevated the team from the doldrums where it otherwise would have been. 

9. Rasheed Wallace

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    ORLANDO, FL - MAY 26:  Rasheed Walalce #30 of the Boston Celtics wipes his face with his jersey against the Orlando Magic in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 26, 2010 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $156,758,400

    Sheed was a very talented big man capable of doing several things on the court, but I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that he made so much money.

    He clearly had too much of it, as evidenced by the heated bathroom floor featured on his MTV Cribs episode that cost him approximately $8,000.

8. Jermaine O'Neal

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 09: Jermaine O'Neal #7 of the Boston Celtics drives past Mario Chalmers #15 of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 9, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO US
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $159,215,640

    Jermaine O'Neal has spent nearly half of his life in the NBA, and in 15 years of work, he has nearly $160 million to show for it.

    That's not too bad for a guy who is just 32 years old and already contemplating retirement. 

7. Tracy McGrady

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - FEBRUARY 11:  Tracy McGrady #1 of the Detroit Pistons controls the ball while playing the Miami Heat at The Palace of Auburn Hills on February 11, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Miami won the game 106-92.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Gett
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $161,626,097

    Before his career was riddled with injuries, T-Mac was an explosive player and an elite talent.

    He was a highly-coveted piece to any-and-every championship puzzle, and I hope that the McGrady we see in 2012 reminds us of the one that we saw during his early tenure with the Houston Rockets. 

6. Jason Kidd

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 23:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder posts up Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first half in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 23, 2011 i
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $174,464,468

    Jason Kidd is an elite talent at his position, so it's not surprising that he ranks in the top 10 on this list.

    What is surprising, though, is the fact that Kidd earned almost $200 million in just contract money alone. 

5. Chris Webber

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    CLEVELAND - JUNE 02:  Chris Webber #84 of the Detroit Pistons looks on against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs on June 2, 2007 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs won 98
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $178,230,697

    The majority of Webber's earnings came in from one of the largest contracts ever signed in professional sports, but it's not like C-Webb didn't deserve it.

    He was a prolific power forward and a double-double threat on a nightly basis who really wreaked havoc on the opposition's front court. 

4. Tim Duncan

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 27:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antionio Spurs looks on against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $183,544,536

    Timmy D has been one of the most productive players at his position since he entered into the NBA, and although he's nearing the end of the line, he's been worth every penny invested.

    It's not all that often you see a player stay with the same team throughout his entire career anymore, but I'd be hard-pressed to say that the Spurs didn't like the return on the investment that they received. 

3. Kobe Bryant

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second quarter while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2011 in Los Angele
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $196,190,615

    The Black Mamba has made a ton of money in his professional career, and he's the closest thing to Michael Jordan that the league might ever see.

    Let me make it clear: Bryant is not on the same level as Jordan. Nobody is. But I'm sure that His Airness wouldn't have minded if he made another $100 million.

2. Kevin Garnett

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    MIAMI, FL - MAY 11:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics looks on during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User exp
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $270,115,354

    Kevin Garnett is one of the most influential people to ever step onto a basketball court, because when he entered the game, the power-forward position was changed forever.

    Spending his career as an absolute beast on both ends of the floor, Garnett made the lives of his opponents a living nightmare in every game they played. 

1. Shaquille O'Neal

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 07: Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics warms up before Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 7, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges a
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Career Earnings: $292,198,327

    Shaq Daddy tops the list with almost $300 million to his credit from contracts alone, but is anyone really surprised?

    O'Neal changed the center position forever with his dominant destruction in the middle, and there wasn't anyone like him for a very, very long time.