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An in-depth examination of average yearly salary in the NBA relative to the NFL and other major leagues


Comparing NBA contracts to NFL and MLB contracts

NBA average salary in comparison to NFL

NBA players are some of the highest-paid athletes in the world. With the recent collective bargaining agreement, NBA players are now poised to make even more money than ever before. Thanks to the new CBA, players from the top all the way down to the bottom will see an increase in their yearly salary, signing new contracts.

For example, backup center Jock Landale, who has shown plenty of promise, recently signed a four-year, $32 million deal. By comparison, the deal Michael Jordan signed with the Chicago Bulls heading into the 1988 season saw him pay $25.7 million over eight years for an annual salary of $3.2 million.

With NBA players set to make more than ever before, let's take a look at how the average NBA salary compares to other pro sporting leagues in the U.S.

According to data from Spotrac, the average NBA salary for the 2023–24 season comes in at $9.7 million.

The figure now shows basketball players earn more than Indian Premier League cricket and English Premier League football contracts, but how does it stack up against the NFL?

Looking at the average NBA players salary compared to the NFL, MLB, and MLS

VIDEO: Jimmy Butler's $37.7 Million Salary After Taxes #nba #basketball #salary
The Next Gen Business

While American football players are some of the most popular athletes in the US, there is one major difference when comparing the contracts between the two sports.

The average length of an NBA career for all players entering the league is 4.5 years; however, by comparison, the average length of an NFL career is just 3.3 years.

Travis Kelce - Kansas City Chiefs
Travis Kelce - Kansas City Chiefs

While that may not sound like a lot, the damage NFL players incur surpasses the wear and tear NBA players experience in their lower bodies. Despite that and the horrific rate of CTE in NFL players, the average NFL salary is just $2.7 million, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Over the years, Major League Baseball has notably given players some of the biggest contracts fans have seen.

For example, Mike Trout is currently on a whopping $426.5 million deal, with Mookie Betts also set to earn $365 million. Despite that, the average MLB salary, according to Fox Sports, is just $4.9 million.

Although NBA players may not have the longevity of MLB players, who average a career length of 5.6 years, their average pay is nearly double.

With the CBA set to run through the 2029-30 season, it's safe to say that when the time comes, players are likely to earn even more money.

Just between the MLB and the NFL is the National Hockey League, which reportedly sees players earn an average of $3.5 million per year, according to BetMGM. Much like the NBA, the average NHL career spans 4.5 years.

On the flip side, in the case of US Major League Soccer, athletes make far less than in the previously mentioned sports.

In the case of the MLS, players make an average of just $530,262 per year according to The Athletic, making them the lowest-paid U.S. athletes of all U.S. men's sports.

(Suggested Reading: Looking at NBA 10-day contracts)

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