As scouts focus on the NCAA tournament in preparation for June's draft, it's worth noting which colleges have been most effective at not just producing NBA players, but highly paid NBA stars. One way of measuring this is looking at players who are making at least $10MM this season. Since rookie-scale contracts limit the earning power of the most recent entrants in the league, players making eight-figure salaries have already either established themselves as marquee pro talents or shown enough glimpses of their promise over their first several seasons to convince a team to open its checkbook.
The influx of high school players, starting with Kevin Garnett
in 1995 and ending in 2006, when the NBA instituted its age limit that sends most players to college for at least one season, led to a boatload of stars with no college experience. The rise in the number of international players has thinned out the college crowd, too. Three of the top four highest-paid players have no college experience, and 20 of the players making $10MM or more never stepped foot on campus.
Aside from a few bluebloods, highly paid NBA players come from a diverse range of schools. Connecticut, Duke and Florida lead all schools with three $10MM+ players each, not surprising considering all three have won multiple national championships within the last 15 years. Arizona, Texas and UCLA each boast two $10MM+ guys, but no other school can claim more than one NBA player making at least $10MM this year. The club isn't limited to NCAA tournament regulars, either. Western Carolina, Nevada, and even Butler County Community College, the alma mater of Stephen Jackson
, have all produced big-money NBA talent.
The list excludes players receiving money this season from contracts that teams removed from their books using the amnesty clause. It also doesn't include Rashard Lewis
, who signed a minimum-salary deal with the Heat after the Hornets waived him over the summer, leaving his $13,765,000 cap hit on their payroll. Lewis would be the 21st player among those who didn't attend college.
- Kobe Bryant ($27,849,149)
- Dirk Nowitzki ($20,907,128)
- Amare Stoudemire ($19,948,799)
- Dwight Howard ($19,536,360)
- Pau Gasol ($19,000,000)
- LeBron James ($17,545,000)
- Andrew Bynum ($16,889,000)
- Al Jefferson ($15,000,000)
- Manu Ginobili ($14,107,492)
- Marc Gasol ($13,891,359)
- Tyson Chandler ($13,604,188)
- Josh Smith ($13,200,000)
- Nene Hilario ($13,000,000)
- Tony Parker ($12,500,000)
- Hedo Turkoglu ($11,815,850)
- Kevin Garnett ($11,566,265)
- Jose Calderon ($11,046,591)
- Monta Ellis ($11,000,000)
- Nicolas Batum ($10,825,000)
- Andrea Bargnani ($10,000,000)
Butler County Community College
HoopsWorld and ShamSports were used in the creation of this post.