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NBA stars Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson outearn top US CEOs

Thomas Barrabi

With the NBA’s latest wave of max contracts, superstars like Kevin Durant and lesser-known talents like Tobias Harris are set to earn as much money – or more – than some of the nation’s most well-known CEOs.

The NBA’s collective-bargaining agreement determines how much money players can earn in max contracts based on various factors, including the league’s salary cap and the player’s service time. For CEOs, compensation is usually composed of a combination of salary and performance-based bonuses.

As an NBA veteran with 10 years of service time, Durant was able to sign a four-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets worth roughly $164 million. The 31-year-old star is set to earn a base salary of about $38.2 million for the 2019-20 NBA season, even though he is considered a long shot to play after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Durant’s contract has an average annual salary of $41 million. He is considered one of the best players in NBA history, with two championships, 10 All-Star selections and a 2014 MVP award to his name.

Durant is hardly the only NBA star to cash in this offseason. Klay Thompson signed a five-year, $190 million contract with the Golden State Warriors that will pay him a base salary of $32.7 million next season, while rising star Tobias Harris signed a five-year, $180 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers that will pay him $31 million in the upcoming campaign.


While it’s difficult to draw direct comparisons between pay rates for athletes and business executives, the NBA’s latest round of contracts provides context for the massive earning potential for players at the height of their profession. FOX Business breaks down how NBA max contracts compare to CEOs of some of the top U.S. companies below.

Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO (2018 salary: $36 million)

Brian Niccol, Chipotle CEO (2018 salary: $34 million)

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase CEO (2018 salary: $30 million)

Randall Stephenson, AT&T CEO (2018 salary: $26 million)

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO (2018 salary: $23 million)

Tim Cook, Apple CEO (2018 salary: $16 million)

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