Kobe Bryant recently retired from his professional basketball career with a poem, and will be remembered as one of its most loved players of all time. During his twenty seasons, the player netted $300 million in salary, some $9,000 for each of his 32,683 points scored. The most well paid performer this year however, comes from boxing, with Floyd Mayweather taking home more than $300 million in fees for his matches.
Kobe Bryant started his career as a professional basketball player in the 1996/97 season, when he was signed for a salary of $1 million a year. As his fame grew, so did his bank balance. In his fifth season in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Bryant earned $10.1 million a year, while two sessions ago, at his highest point in terms of earnings, the Los Angeles Lakers paid him an annual salary of $30.5 million. Bryant was, for seven years in a row, the best paid NBA player. In total, during his twenty year career, the star player netted $300.4 million in salary.
Throughout his career, Bryant scored 32,683 points, which means that for every point he made around $9,191. Bryant played 1,293 NBA-games, which translates to average earnings of $232,328 per game played. In terms of money in units of time, Bryant spent 47,178 minutes on the court, which amounts to $6,367 per minute, or an hourly rate of $382.000, a fee of which many management consultants would be jealous.
Besides being paid well for his on court performance, Bryant also received hundreds of millions – around $200 million over the past seven years alone – in commercial contracts with large companies. The largest part of that income flow comes from royalties from the sale of sports shoes that bear his name. On his seventeenth birthday he closed a million dollar deal with Adidas, which was swapped for a deal with Nike in the 2003-2004 season. According to Forbes, Nike sold around $105 million worth of Kobe Bryant-shoes in 2014. The Kobe 9 – the latest model – sells for $200 per pair. Other contracts involving the 1.98 meter Bryant include the promotion campaign, ‘Big, in the city’ for the Mercedes-Benz street car Smart.
It is not merely finances and score that made Bryant a sporting phenomenon, he was also voted the most loved player in the game seventeen times for the yearly all-star team of the All-Star Games.
Top 10 professional sports players
Bryant is not the highest earning sports player in the world for the 2015 season. The top spot goes to boxer Floyd Mayweather who met Manny Pacquiao (the number 2 best earning player) in the ring on the 2nd of May 2015. The match, which is purported to have brought in $600 million, was the most lucrative fight ever. The money was split 60% for Mayweather and 40% for Pacquiao. Other sports players that have seen big pay checks this year include Roger Federer – who so far took in $97.3 million in prize money over his career – with $67 million and football stars Cristiano Ronaldo ($80 million) and Lionel Messi ($74 million).