How much do overseas basketball players make? The average salary of hoppers in Europe, Asia and Africa
How much do overseas basketball players make? This is a question which rings in most basketball enthusiasts. It is revealed that most of the stars in the sport earn as much as their counterparts in the NBA. Some leagues do, however, pay less because of various constraints.
Although there are only a few players designated for NBA teams, playing basketball abroad is the best way for players to open doors for themselves. Each nation has its own laws and methods for compensating its basketball players.
How much do overseas basketball players make on average?
On average, players from abroad can earn between $1 and $4 million a year. Remember that these figures only apply when playing in a top professional basketball division.
The salary and allowances an international basketball player can receive depend on various factors. There are two main factors, though. These include the nation's economic potential and the development and spread of basketball in that nation.
Out in Africa, the Basketball Africa League (BAL) has so far identified itself as the best competition in the continent, with players typically making $4,000 - $7,000 monthly. The top players, however, earn about $35,000 per month.
How much do overseas basketball players make in Europe?
The majority of leagues in European basketball pay an average of $500,000 to $800,000 per season, which is a respectable wage. The top players can earn up to $4 million a year.
A European team's annual budget can range between $6.5 million and $47.5 million. Players now earn an average of $14 million per season in Europe. Even so, an important player can expect to make a respectable salary each year.
These figures represent top-tier leagues in various European nations. When you move down the basketball divisions, they are significantly lower. You can be certain that professional players in Europe have a good quality of life.
Top 12 highest-paid overseas basketball leagues
Several leagues pay significant salaries to their players. The leagues do, however, also show an income gap between the lowest-paid and highest-paid players.
12. Lithuania's Lietuvos Krepsinio Lyga (LKL)
Basketball is the second religion in this three million-person nation. When the country was under Soviet occupation, basketball teams from Lithuania competed in the Soviet League. The LKL (Lietuvos krepsinio lyga) was established in 1993 with the financial aid of Hall of Famer Sarunas Marciulionis, the first NBA player from Lithuania, not long after the nation gained its independence.
11. Australia's National Basketball League (NBL)
The NBL is, without a doubt, the best and highest-paying professional basketball league in Oceania. There are nine teams total, with eight in Australia and one in New Zealand. The most successful team in the league is Perth Wildcats.
The NBL has improved in recent seasons, making it possible for player salaries to increase significantly. The salary cap has grown by 55% since 2016, rising from $1.1 million to more than $1.7 million in 2023. The highest-paid athletes make between $400,000 and $1 million per season.
10. Greek A1 League
Since its inception, the league have been for long dominated by Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, both of which are based in Athens. The rivalry between the two teams is among the fiercest in basketball.
The overall compensation of the basketball players has been impacted by the ups and downs of Greece's economy, but they continue to have some of the highest-paid players in basketball despite this. The highest-paid athletes in this league earn millions of dollars a year. Nick Calathes, who earns $2.55 million annually, is a good example.
9. Adriatic League (ABA)
The ABA is a top-level regional men's basketball league that once included teams from the former Yugoslavia. Partizan is the most successful team in the league, which has 16 teams.
The league has grown significantly in recent years and produced some of the best NBA players, including Dario Saric, Jusuf Nurkic, and Nikola Jokik. The highest-paid player's exact pay is unknown, but each season, the players take home a sizeable amount.
8. France's LNB Pro A
At LNB, the average salary for a basketball player ranges from $80k to $200k per season. Basketball player A.J. Slaughter of ASVEL earned $300k during the 2019–20 season, making him one of the highest-paid players.
Throughout the past 15 seasons, numerous NBA stars, including Ian Mahinmi and Tony Parker, have come out of the club. The league is one of the most financially secure to play professional basketball overseas.
7. Italy's Lega Basket Serie A (LBA)
Given that basketball is one of the most well-known sports in Italy, the high salaries earned by foreign basketball players are not surprising. Lega Basket Serie A is the largest competition, with 17 teams competing.
How much do overseas basketball players make in Italy?
A foreigner typically anticipates earning between $150,000 and $350,000 per season. However, salaries can go as high as $2.25 million annually, depending on the club. The LBA, regarded as one of the best leagues in the world, has developed into a hotbed for NBA talent.
6. Germany's Basketball Bundesliga (BBL)
Basketball players from other countries make very good money in Germany. There are 18 teams in the BBL league with spending caps of just $10 million. The team with the largest budget, around $25 million, is Bayern Munich.
How much do overseas basketball players make in Germany?
The average salary for playing in the BBL is between $100,000 and $350,000 per season. NBA first-round superstars like Greg Monroe can make about $1 million a year.
5. Russia's VTB United League
The top tier of Russian professional club basketball consists of 13 teams that play against one another. It includes clubs from Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
They provide an excellent salary range of between $200k and $450k annually. The maximum salary for an overseas basketball player can reach $4 million, depending on their status. Russians now make up the majority of Europe's highest-paid celebrities, with Mike James, Nikola Milutinov, and Alexey Shved each earning $2.5 million yearly.
4. Turkish Basketball Super League (BSL)
The Turkish Basketball Super League is the top professional men's basketball league in Turkey. This league is receiving enormous financial support, and as a result, it may soon surpass the Spanish league in terms of play quality. Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahce, two teams from Istanbul, are currently among the best in Europe.
In the BSL, salaries for non-Turkish foreign players typically range from $250k to $450k per season. Shane Larkin of Anadolu Efes receives the highest salary, estimated at $2.6 million before taxes.
3. Spain's Liga ACB
How much do overseas basketball players make in Spain? With 18 teams, Liga ACB is the top professional basketball division of the Spanish basketball league system. Two teams, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have dominated the league over the years.
Basketball players at ACB can expect to make an average salary of $250,000 to $500,000 per season. Walter Tavares and Sergio Llull are the two basketball players in Europe who earn the most money. Every player takes home more than $2 million a year.
Due to its top-tier compensation, the EuroLeague is the ideal location for any professional basketball player playing abroad. The average basketball salaries in Europe, which range from $500,000 to $800,000 a season, are quite impressive. The top athletes can earn a maximum salary of $4 million per season.
Turkish Airlines EuroLeague is the organization supporting this sporting event with 16 teams. Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Anadolu Efes, Olympiacos, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Valencia Basket, Baskonia, Zalgiris, and Zenit Saint Petersburg are just a few of the teams in this league.
1. Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)
The CBA, established in 1995, has emerged as Asia's premier basketball league. Each club is allowed a maximum of four foreign players on its roster but can only play one of those at any time on the court. The level of play is significantly lower than most of the top European leagues due to those restrictions and the reliance on Chinese players.
How much do overseas basketball players make in China?
Basketball players in China are paid ridiculous sums of money. For Chinese-born players, salaries range from 20 to 40 million yuan ($3 - 6.5 million). The foreign players have a $7 million salary cap.
Some overseas basketball players make as much money as some of the best in the NBA. This has been significantly sparked by the sport's global popularity, particularly in Asian nations.
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