Michael Jordan signed a one-year $33.1 million contract with the Bulls prior to the 1997–98 season, which established the record for the highest single-season pay in NBA history.

What's perhaps most impressive about this was that Jordan's record wasn't surpassed until a whole two decades later – by Stephen Curry for the 2017-18 season.

The top salaries have only increased since then and NBA players are now among the highest-paid athletes in the world of sports.

Despite the fact that it took 20 years for someone to surpass Jordan's wages, 27 players will make more than $33.1 million in the 2022–23 season, according to Spotrac.

Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and other potential Hall of Famers are on that list, along with Tobias Harris and CJ McCollum, two players who have yet to be selected to an All-Star team.

Since surpassing Jordan in 2017–18, Curry has held the title of highest-paid player in the NBA every season. In 2023–2024, he will achieve a further milestone when he becomes the first player to ever earn more than $50 million in a single season.

But who are the highest-paid athletes in the NBA? Without further ado, these are the players who have the largest wages in the 2022-23 NBA season…

Stephen Curry

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Curry was the first player in NBA history to sign two contracts totalling more than $200 million back in August of 2021. The four-time NBA champion significantly raised the bar in doing so.

Curry's deal will be completed in 2025–2026, and when it does, he will count a startling $59.61 million against the cap.

It's not like Curry hasn't given the Warriors' wealthy owners something in return. In eight years, he guided Golden State to four championships and six trips to the NBA Finals while also aiding the franchise in the construction of its new home on the San Francisco waterfront.

And, according to Canadian sportsbooks, Curry could be taking the Warriors to another title, as the team is among the favourites to lift the trophy this season. Yes, Curry has been beneficial for co-owners Peter Guber and Joe Lacob.

Lebron James

LeBron James

Since his Lakers' 2021–22 season ended with a dismal 49 losses, LeBron James' contract situation has been a hot topic. James, 38, was slated to enter the free agency market after the 2022–2023 campaign. Thanks to a contract extension that can pay him up to $50 million in his Age-40 season, he is now among the highest-paid NBA players.

James keeps up his high caliber of play despite the difficulties his Lakers are facing. For the Lakers in 2022–23, he averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists while shooting 50% from the field. James also missed 27 games due to injuries, compared to missing 26 games the season before.

Kevin Durant

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It came as a bit of a shock when Durant signed his current contract in August of last year. If the two-time NBA Finals MVP had waited until this coming summer's free agency, he would have made a lot more money.

Durant, who is now 34, joined forces with Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons for a Brooklyn team that had championship ambitions this past summer after initially demanding a trade. But everything changed when Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Durant joined the Phoenix Suns within 48 hours in a blockbuster trade that shocked the whole league.

Bradley Beal

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Being a three-time All-Star, Beal is highly regarded throughout the league, which is in part why teams are constantly eager to acquire the shooting guard. However, the Wizards value him even more.

Beal, who is currently 29 years old, will remain in Washington until the 2026–2027 season thanks to his new deal. However, the contract's final year is actually a player option with a value of approximately $57.1 million.

Damian Lillard

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Lillard, one of the best paid NBA players, has been the subject of trade speculations for months, but he now appears committed to Portland in the long run. The six-time All-Star missed all but 29 games of the 2021–22 season, which led to all of this.

It will be interesting to watch if Dame eventually abandons Portland's little market in favor of a bigger one. He has been one of the NBA's most loyal athletes, that much is certain.

He signed a two-year, $121.7 million agreement in July that would take effect after the 2024–25 season, making him one of the top paid NBA players for the time being.