As of 2012, The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average salary of a reporter, correspondent and broadcast news analysts holding a Bachelors degree at $37,090 per year. But lets be honest, because of the experience and expertise of familiar faces like former pro ballers like Magic Johnson, Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley, they receive exponentially higher salaries. Because networks often hire analysts based on name and reputation, these analysts can earn anywhere from six-figures to the million dollar salary range.
Nowadays, it seems as if you don’t need a Journalism or Broadcasting degree to pursue a career in television, and pro athletes have been showing us how it’s done. Really, you just need the gift of gab and if you know what you’re talking about (and have made it as a pro athlete), you’ll get a job on big networks like ESPN, TNT or NBATV. The NBA is home to many former players who have taken their talents to sports broadcasting, but before they were handed a microphone, we wonder… how much did they make when they first entered the NBA? We’ve complied a list of 10 retired NBA players who now have gigs on television.
See who really started from the bottom and find out much they made their first year as a rookie:
10. Avery Johnson – $100,000 – Drafted by Seattle SuperSonics (1988)
When Avery Johnson signed his first contract with the then-Seattle SuperSonics, he was only making $100,000 a year. He is best known for his integral role on the 1999 San Antonio Spurs team that won the NBA championship against the New York Knicks. He retired as a Dallas Maverick in 2005. Overall, he made $36,400,400. Johnson, who was fired as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets in December 2012 re-joined ESPN’s coverage of the NBA. He worked for ESPN from 2008-10 after losing his coaching gig with the Mavericks.
9. Reggie Miller – $254,000 – Drafted by Indiana Pacers (1987)
Reggie Miller, most known for his “choke sign” and three-point shooting range, played his entire 18-year NBA career with the Indiana Pacers. Pacers fans loved (and everyone else hated) him for his shooting, especially when the Pacers players against the New York Knicks, for which he earned the name, “Knick Killer.” He earned his largest contract of $12,046,473 during 2001-02 season. Miller’s last game was in May 2005 when the Pacers lost to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Pacers retired his No.31 jersey in 2006. He joined Turner Sports in 2005 as a basketball analyst. Overall, Miller made $101,311,748 in career salary and has a net worth of $90 million.
8. Charles Barkley – $437,500 – Drafted by Philadelphia 76ers (1984)
One of the best gabbers in sports broadcast, Charles Barkley has a net worth of $30 million. In 1984, he signed his first NBA contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, in which he earned $437,500 a year. During his playing career, he only played with two other teams–the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. Barkley earned the most money during the 1990-00 season with Rockets, making $9 million. Overall, he earned a total of $40.3 million in career salary. Unfortunately, he lost $10 million in gambling, including $2.5 million in a poker game that lasted less than six hours. After his basketball career, Barkley became a popular spokesman and has appeared in a variety of television commercials. Since retiring from the NBA, Barkley transitioned his playing career into a television one, becoming an NBA analyst for TNT.
7. Rick Fox – $525,000 – Drafted by Boston Celtics (1991)
“Rick The Fox” spent his 13 years in the league playing for only two teams–the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers. Unlike many NBA stars, he was fortunate to begin his career as a Celtic and retire as one in 2004, earning his highest contract of $4.8 million. While with the Lakers, he played and started in all 82 games during the 1997-98 season, averaging 12 points a game. Overall, he earned $34,029,278 in the NBA. Fox obtained a bachelors degree in Radio, Television and Motion Pictures while a student at the University of North Carolina. Despite being a a sports analyst, Fox has starred in many movies, such as Eddie (1996,) Blue Chips (1994) and He Got Game (1998.)
6. Kenny Smith – $600,000 – Drafted by Sacramento Kings (1987)
Kenny “The Jet” Smith is a Queens native who was drafted in 1987 by the Sacramento Kings and became a leader in the NBA winning two championship rings with the Houston Rockets. In his first year with the Kings, he made $600,000 and over his 10-year professional career, Smith scored 9,397 and 4,073 assists. His total career salary was $13,172,100. After playing in the NBA, he joined Turner Sports in 1998 and currently works alongside Ernie Johnson Jr., Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. He has a net worth of $15 million.
5. Jalen Rose – $975,000 – Drafted by Denver Nuggets (1994)
Jalen Rose was a part of the University of Michigan’s “Fab Five” class along with Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson that reached the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. He was picked 13th overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 1994 NBA Draft and his career ended with the Phoenix Suns on the bench and barely playing. After the Suns were eliminated from the playoffs in 2007, Rose announced his retirement. He played for six different NBA teams and during his 14 years in the league, he earned more than $100 million. He transitioned into a broadcasting career and now is an ESPN analyst.
4. Chris Webber – $1,600,000 – Drafted by Golden State Warriors (1993)
Chris Webber is a five-time NBA All-Star who was also part of the University of Michigan’s 1991 incoming freshman class known as the “Fab Five”. C-Webb was the overall first round pick in 1993 and was the most recruited Michigan high school basketball player since Magic Johnson. Though he was originally drafted by Orlando, the team traded him to Golden State. In his first year with the Warriors, he was named the NBA Rookie of The Year. In 1998, Webber was traded to the Sacramento Kings and played there for 7 years. He earned his highest contract with the team during the 2005-06 season, in which he made $19,125,000. He retired two years later in 2008 with the Warriors. Since ending his pro-basketball career, Webber became an analyst for NBATV. Overall, he made $178,230,697 in the NBA.
3. Wally Szczerbiak – $2,011,440 Drafted by Minnesota Timberwolves (1999)
Wally Szczerbiak had his best year in the NBA in 2002 when was selected by the coaches to join the Western Conference All-Star team. He has played 10 seasons in the league on teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. He made the most money during the 2008-09 season with the Cavs at $13,775,000. Unfortunately for Szczerbiak, he was forced to retire in 2009 after suffering a knee injury. Overall, he earned $74,745,147 during his playing career. He is currently an analyst for MSG and CBS Sports.
2. Grant Hill – $2,750,000 Drafted by Detroit Pistons (1994)
Grant Hill is recently retired and now works as an analyst for NBATV. He played in the league for 19 years for the Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. The small guard was drafted by the Pistons in 1994 and stayed with the team for six years. He spent seven years with the Magic and banked his highest salary of $16,901,500 during the 2006-07 season. In his final career season with the Clippers, Hill’s contract was only $1,975,000, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he earned $142,854,650 throughout his time in the NBA.
1. Shaquille O’Neal – $3,000,000 Drafted by Orlando Magic (1992)
Shaq has played for six teams in the league and made the most money with the Miami Heat during the 2004-05 season, banking in $27,696,430. When the 7-foot-1 center retired after 2011 with the Celtics, he finished his playing career with a total salary of $292,198,327. Besides being in the NBA, Shaq’s resume is pretty steep. He has been featured in more than five movies, with his most notable roles coming in Blue Chips (1994) and Kazaam (1996). He also released five studio albums and one compilation album. In 2011, Shaq signed a multi-million dollar deal with Turner Sports and appears on NBATV and TNT.
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