Categories
NBA 101

Who is the youngest NBA player?

Andrew Bynum is the youngest player to have ever played in an NBA game. He was 17 years and 244 days old when he suited up for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2005-06 NBA season.

Joshua Giddey is 19 years and 158 days and is the youngest NBA player actively playing in the 2021-22 season. He is a point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Click to jump to section

Youngest NBA player ever
Youngest NBA player in the 2021-22 NBA season
Youngest NBA player to start an NBA game
Youngest NBA player to win an MVP
Youngest NBA player to win an NBA Finals MVP
Youngest NBA player to win an NBA championship

Youngest NBA player ever

Andrew Bynum was drafted with the 10th overall pick in Round 1 of the 2005 NBA Draft. He was 17 years and 244 days old on the day.

The Los Angeles Lakers were looking for a gifted big man, and Bynum seemed to their answer. He averaged 22 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks as a senior in high school. The Lakers franchise felt they could repeat the success they had with another high school player named Kobe Bryant.

Bynum did no play much his first season. Between battling injuries and his inexperience he played just 46 games and finished with averages of 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds.

It wasn’t until the 2011-12 season that he played and started in 60 games and finished with career highs of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds.

An injury sdielined him for the whole of next season and Bynum was never the same.

He retired in 2014 with career averages of 11.5 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Youngest NBA player in the 2021-22 NBA season

Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Joshua Giddey, 19 years, was picked 6th overall in Round 1 of the 2021 NBA draft. He was 18 years and 335 days old at the draft.

A 6’8″ guard, Giddey was born in Australia and played a season of professional basketball with the Adelaide 36ers.

That experience seems to have helped him ease into the NBA where he is averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

At the time of this article his best game came in a win against the New York Knicks where he had a triple-double finishing with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.

Youngest NBA player to start a game

Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Walter Iooss Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

The late great Kobe Bryant was the youngest NBA player to start a game.

Bryant, a 6’8″ guard, was just shy of his 18th birthday (17 years and 312 days) when he was picked 13th overall in Round 1 by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1996 NBA Draft.

On January 28, 1997, Bryant started the game against the Dallas Mavericks. He finished the game with 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.

Bryant retired after the 2015-16 season after winning five championships, and finishing with a career total of 33,643 points scored.

Youngest NBA player to win MVP

Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Derrick Rose, a 6’2″ point guard, was the youngest NBA player to win an MVP Trophy at the age of 22 years and 191 days.

Rose was the 1st pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and was everything the Chicago Bulls hoped he would be.

In the 2010-11 season, finished with a career high 25.0 points per game, while also averaging 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

He led the Bulls to 62 wins – the best record in the NBA – and wins in Round 1 and Round 2 of the 2011 NBA playoffs.

Youngest NBA player to win an NBA Finals MVP

Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson (32) (Photo by Manny Millan /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) (Set Number: X24508 )

Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is the youngest NBA player to win the NBA Finals MVP trophy. He was 20 years old.

Johnson, a 6’9″ guard, was the first pick in the 1979 NBA draft. He was believed to be way ahead of his time – a 6’9″ player running and playing point was non-existent in the NBA at the time.

In the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, Johnson and the Lakers were up 3-2 after Game 5. In that game, their best player – the center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – suffered a badly sprained ankle in the third quarter. While Jabbar finished the game after receiving some treatment, he was unable to travel to Philadelphia for Game 6.

Johnson, a 20-year-old rookie at the time, bravely agreed to start and the play the game at the center position.

He blew away everyone, finishing with a game high 42 points and 15 rebounds, and bringing home the NBA championship and the NBA Finals MVP Trophy.

Youngest NBA player to win an NBA championship

Darko Milicic #31 of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

This may come as a shock to most NBA fans, but the youngest NBA player to win a championship is Darko Milicic.

Milicic, a 7’0″ forward, was a phenom in Europe. He was drafted with the 2nd pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He was picked ahead of players such as Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.

While Milicic never lived up to the hype, he was fortunate enough to be part of a Detroit Pistons team that had put together a contender with players such as Chauncey Billups, Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton, and Ben Wallace.

The Pistons upset the three-time reigning champions, the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the 2004 NBA Finals, making Milicic the youngest NBA champion at the age 18 years and 361 days.


Basketballbaba.com is a free-to-read resource on the NBA. You may consider showing your appreciation by buying something from Baba’s store. It is a combination of affiliate links to basketball books and gear, and also some exclusive BasketballBaba merchandise. for every purchase you make, 5% of the profits go towards the Dribble Academy Foundation.

Categories
NBA 101 Salary Cap

What is the Highest Career NBA Salary Earned by a player?

NBA salaries continue to climb.

This is because of the growth in the NBA’s broadcasting deal – the last broadcasting deal was signed in 2014, a nine-year/$24 billion deal – and the growth of the NBA brand around the world.

Since it was first instituted in the 1984-’85 season, the NBA salary cap has increased or stayed the same for every NBA season except one – the 2009-’10 season –

Since then the career salary earnings of the top 100 players exceeds $17 billion (as of 2022), with the top ten earning 16% of that – $2.8 billion.

48 out of the top 100 are actively playing having made $8.3 billion till date.

This is a list of the ten NBA players who have earned the most salary in playing contracts during their careers.

Click to jump to section

10. Blake Griffin
9. Carmelo Anthony
8. James Harden
7. Shaquille O’Neal
6. Russell Westbrook
5. Kevin Durant
4. Kobe Bryant
3. Chris Paul
2. Kevin Garnett
1. LeBron James

10. Blake Griffin, Brooklyn Nets

NBA Career salary earnings: $255 million ($255,764,829)
Blake Griffin #2 of the Brooklyn Nets against the Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

Griffin was one-third of the Big Three on the LA Clippers.

He formed a high-flying and high scoring trio with point guard Chris Paul, and centre DeAndre Jordan between 2011 and 2017.

His current contract is a 1-year / $2.6 million player minimum contract.

Prior to joining the Brooklyn Nets, Griffin was a star on the Detroit Pistons and the LA Clippers.

His largest single-season salary was $34.2 million he received from the Pistons in 2019-20 – his last season there.

Griffin’s largest contract was with the LA Clippers with whom he signed a 5-year / $171 million deal in 2017.

9. Carmelo Anthony, Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Career salary earnings: $262 million ($262,523,093)
Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)

Anthony is one of the two oldest active players on this list. He is considered by many to be among the most effortless scorers in the history of the NBA.

His current contract with the Los Angeles Lakers is a 1-year/$2.6 million player minimum deal.

Prior to that, Howard was a big earner, earning over $230 million over a 15-year span.

His career’s largest contract is the 5-years/$124 million contract the New York Knicks gave him at the start of the 2014-15 season. This was following the 3 years/$64 million contract he received from them in 2012. Prior to the Knicks, Anthony was a star with the Denver Nuggets and earned $75 million in salary over the eight he played for them.

Anthony’s highest single-season salary was the $26.2 million he earned during his one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

8. James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Career salary earnings: $268 million ($268,660,574)
James Harden #1 of Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

James Harden is by many to be one of the most skilled scoring guards in the history of the NBA.

He is one of three players – the other two being Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan – who have more than one season ranked in the All-time top-15 season scoring averages. The two seasons were 2018-19 where he averaged 36.13 ppg and 2019-20 where he averaged 34.34 ppg.

His current contract is a 4-year / $171 million contract he had signed with the Houston Rockets in 2019. This has carried on to his current team – the Philadelphia 76ers – through trades that included a stop at the Brooklyn Nets.

He is set to earn $47.4 million for the 2022-23 season – his highest per season salary ever.

This is Harden’s second $100 million+ contract; the last one being a 4 year / $117.9 million contract he signed with the Houston Rockets.

7. Shaquille O’Neal, retired

NBA Career salary earnings: $286 million ($286,344,668)
Shaquille O’Neal #34 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Mandatory Credit: Donald Miralle/Allsport.

The most dominant big man to ever play the sport, Shaq towered at 7’2″ and weighed a monstrous 325 pounds (147 kgs) at his apex.

The four-time NBA Champion led the NBA in FG% for ten seasons during his 20 year NBA career, topping off with 29.3 ppg in 1994-95.

His largest contract was the 7-year / $120 million contract he signed when he moved to the Los Angeles Lakers from the Orlando Magic – the team that drafted him.

It was the first of two $100 million+ contracts he signed in his career; the second one coming with the Miami Heat in 2005, where he signed a 5-year / $101 million contract.

In the 2004-05 season, O’Neal earned $27.6 million, making that the highest salary he has earned in a single season.

6. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Career salary earnings: $288 million ($288,581,670)
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Westbrook rakes in the numbers both on and off the court.

The former NBA MVP is the only player in the top 100 to make at least $30 million with four different teams.

Westbrook’s biggest single-season salary jump came at the start of the 2016-17 season when he earned $26.5 million for the season. He averaged a triple-double that season – only the second NBA player to do so after Oscar Robertson.

His largest contract is the 5-years/$206 million contract he signed in with the Oklahoma City Thunder at the start of the 2018-’19 season. He has been traded thrice since that contract, which will end in 2023 with Westbrook expecting to be paid over $47 million for the 2022-23 season.

Westbrook’s highest-earning season is the current season (2021-22) where is drawing a salary of $44 million.

5. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

NBA Career salary earnings: $306 million ($306,172,746)
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets against the Indiana Pacers. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

At just under 7-feet tall, Durant is a smooth operator on the court. The two time NBA champions has been the scoring champion four times in five seasons between 2009 and 2014.

His current contract is 4-year / $198 million extension he signed with the Brooklyn Nets starting 2022.

This was an extension of the 4-year / $164 million contract he had signed with the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal in 2019.

His current contract is the largest contract he has ever signed. The $40 million he will earn this season makes it the biggest season paycheck of his career.

4. Kobe Bryant (late)

NBA Career salary earnings: $323 million ($323,312,307)
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers against the Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

The late Kobe Bryant is a five-time NBA Champion. He finished his career with 33,000 points, giving him the fourth highest points total in NBA history.

Bryant’s last contract with the Los Angeles Lakers was a 2-year / $48.5 million contract. This came on the heels of a 3-year / $83 million contract he signed in 2011

His career’s largest contract was the 7-year / $136 million contract he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004.

The highest salary he has received in a season is the $30.4 he received in 2013-14.

3. Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns

NBA Career salary earnings: $330 million ($330,709,419)
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Nicknamed “The Point God”, Paul continues to be be among the top points guards in the NBA in 2022 – his 17th year in the league.

He has led the NBA in steals six times, and in assists five times. He is also the only NBA player to lead the NBA in assists and steals three times – ’08, ’09, and ’14

His largest contract is the 4-year / $159.7 million which he signed while with the Houston Rockets in 2018. It also included a salary of $41 million in 2020-21 which is the highest salary he has received in a single season.

This is second $100 million+ contract, the first one being the 5-year / $107 million contract he signed when he joined the LA Clippers in 2013.

2. Kevin Garnett, retired

NBA Career salary earnings: $334 million ($334,304,240)
Kevin Garnett #21 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Bill Frakes/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

“The Big Ticket”, as he was often referred to, Kevin Garnett is one of three players on this list who entered the NBA right out of high school.

He led the NBA in rebounding four times and was named NBA regular season MVP in ’04.

His last contract was a 2-year / $ 16.5 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Garnett made headlines early in his career by getting a $100 million+ extension contract in 1998 right after his rookie contract. It was a 5-year / $126 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. This was immediately followed by another $100 million+ contract. The Timberwolves put their trust in him by giving him a 4-year / $100 million contract in ’04.

The highest salary he has earned in a season is the $28 million he earned in ’04 as part of his extension contract with the Timberwolves.

1. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Career salary earnings: $387 million ($387,384,119)
LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The self-proclaimed “The King” tops the list of All-time career earnings list, getting close to that coveted $400 million number.

The four-time NBA Champion has amassed just over 37,000 career points, putting him in second place behind the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He is also the only active player in the top-10 all time scoring list.

His current contract is a 2-year / $85.6 million which ends with the 2023 season.

The largest contract he has ever singed is the 4-year / $153.3 million contract he signed in 2018 with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He has signed almost three $100 million contract in his career – the other two being (a.) a 3-year / $99.8 million contract in 2016, and (b.) a 6-year / $109.8 million contract in 2010 – both of which he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

His highest season payday will come in ’23 where he will rake in $44 million.


Basketballbaba.com is a free-to-read resource on the NBA. You may consider showing your appreciation by buying something from Baba’s store. It is a combination of affiliate links to basketball books and gear, and also some exclusive BasketballBaba merchandise. for every purchase you make, 5% of the profits go towards the Dribble Academy Foundation.