LeBron James‘ legacy was set long before he helped the Cavaliers overcome a three games to one deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals. Yet, by giving the city of Cleveland its first pro championship in 52 years, James did force us to discuss his place among the rest of the game’s all-time greats. And whether or not you agree he belongs atop the NBA’s Mount Rushmore, it’s impossible to deny that he’s still the best player in the league today. Which is why it should come as no surprise that the Cavs finally decided to pay him as such.
After agreeing to a three-year deal worth around $100 million, James, for the first time in his career, became the highest-paid player in the NBA. He made the official announcement on Uninterrupted, and it’s evident that James could not be more thrilled:
“I just want to let y’all know I’m re-signing back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, my hometown team. I can’t be more excited than this opportunity once again, man, to defend our crown, defend our title. We all know last year as a magical, inspiring — all the words you can come up with — it was an unbelievable season. I just can’t wait to get the group back together — the team, the franchise, more importantly, get everybody together, the fans. Without you guys, without your passion and commitment, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did this past season. I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait to see my guys. I can’t wait to get back out there in the wine and gold and just get the band back together. Lastly, let’s get J.R. (Smith) done. It’s that time.”
As we noted before, James will finally climb to the top of the list of highest-paid NBA players. And just in case you were curious to see how much distance he created between himself and the rest of the league’s biggest names, here’s a comparison of their 2016–17 salaries.
It should be noted that every player listed (outside of James) is making the same amount in 2016–17. As a result, we’ve ordered them based on the total value of their contracts.