Remember when you were younger and you were told to dress for success? I bet your idea of a really cool high-paying job that you really love involves wearing an expensive suit while working in the corner office of a high-rise building overlooking the entire city. This will pale, however, in comparison to these guys from the National Basketball Association. Their work attire involves short pants that down to the knees and cool and expensive sneakers, they get practically the whole summer off, they are as popular as the most popular actor and rock star, they get to retire before they reach the age of 40, and most importantly, they earn multiple millions to play a game that they have loved since childhood. Talk about the life!
Of course, it also entails a lot of discipline, travel and special talent, but for ridiculous amounts of money, I am pretty sure they would not mind. And these are the top ten players who will be the last to complain this 2012-13 season:
1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers – $27,849,149
Kobe came to the NBA fresh out of high school in 1996. That year’s draft was talent-laden, with players like Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Steve Nash becoming available that year. So rich was the rookie pool that Kobe was only selected 13th by the then Charlotte Hornets. Jerry West, the Lakers’ astute manager, saw something in the young gun, however, and immediately traded for him. He may not have won Rookie of the Year honors, but the deal eventually paid off with Kobe winning five rings and two scoring titles, not to mention two Olympic gold medals. The 14-time All Star has been justly rewarded with this fat contract.
2. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks – $20,907,128
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Mavs, is a shrewd businessman, and he knows how to recognize value. And Dirk Nowitzki is his team’s prized asset. Nowitzki is as tall as Shaquille O’Neal but can swish three-pointers like Ray Allen. He led the Mavs to the promised land in 2011, making Cuban’s investment in Nowitzki worth every penny.
3. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks – $20,463,024
Carmelo Anthony led the Syracuse Orangemen to the NCAA title in 2003. He then joined the Denver Nuggets, where he proved to be an offensive powerhouse. He was traded to New York in 2010, and he seems to relish playing in a big market as he has led the Knicks to two straight playoff appearances after years of struggles.
4. Amare Stoudemire, New York Knicks – $19,948,799
He jumped to the NBA straight out of high school in 2002 and promptly acclimatized to the pro environment as he won rookie of the year honors. His pick-and-rolls with MVP point guard Steve Nash proved to be the team’s bread and butter for several years. He then transferred to the Knicks and help power the struggling franchise to instant respectability. Constantly bugged down by injuries in recent years, Amar’e hopes for a bounce-back year after missing several games last season.
5. Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets – $19,752,645
Johnson is an uncommon Joe, what with the fat contract he signed with the Nets. Originally drafted by the Celtics, Johnson proved his worth when he transferred to the Phoenix Suns, before gaining elite status playing for the Atlanta Hawks, which made several playoff runs during his years there. With the Nets under new ownership, playing in a new city and in a new stadium, Johnson was acquired to help the Nets in its drive to become a powerhouse. Often criticized for commanding the ball too much, he must learn how to complement the Nets’ resident star in Deron Williams to become more effective. With nearly $20 million in the bank, Johnson will surely be willing to learn anything.
6. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers – $19,536,360
After a long and drawn-out melodrama last year with the Orlando Magic, Howard was finally traded during the off-season to the Lakers. It’s a big-market team with a lot of history. He will also be following on the footsteps of legendary centers George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal, all of who led the Lakers to the title. With Kobe retiring in the near future, the Lakers will be Howard’s team. There are big expectations for the big guy in the middle, and a big contract is certainly a great way to start things off in Showtime land.
7. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers – $19,000,000
The Spanish giant has often been criticized for being soft and for not being assertive enough. What we conveniently forget is that when the Lakers traded for him, he was considered a steal and everyone hated the Memphis Grizzlies for allowing the deal. He then helped the Lakers to three straight Finals appearances, winning two of them. His 7-foot frame will provide the Lakers a formidable combination down low.
8. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers – $17,779,458
He is probably the gold standard when it comes to point guards. He has good handles, distributes the ball well, can slash to the basket or pop from outside, and can take control of the game when needed. No wonder the Lakers wanted him so badly last year. The NBA commissioner vetoed the trade, however. Paul still got to move to Los Angeles, albeit with the Clippers. Along with Blake Griffin, the Clippers instantly transformed from perennial doormat and laughing stock to become a genuine contender in just a year. LA is still Lakers-land, but the Clippers will surely have something to say about it with Paul leading the team.
9. Lebron James, Miami Heat – $17,545,000
Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan’s sidekick, has already said that Lebron may be even better than Michael. Even Charles Barkley, one of His Airness’ best friends, said that Lebron has the potential to be the greatest. He is taller, faster, and probably possesses better hops. Last year, he also got over the choker tag with his first ring.
10. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat – $17,545,000
The third cog of Miami’s Big Three, Bosh proved to be invaluable last year when his injuries severely depleted the Heat’s options. Pat Riley, the Heat’s president, must have recognized this early on, which was why he gave Bosh a huge contract to lure him out of Toronto in 2010. Just a couple of years later, the Heat started to celebrate a championship ring.
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