Michael Jordan and 14 More of the Richest March Madness Stars

For some basketball players, the NCAA tournament is often the last stop before the riches of the NBA beckon.

All professional sports can be lucrative, but NBA players stand to make even more than pros in, say, the NFL. This happens for a few reasons, including the fact that NBA players get a bigger chunk of league revenue than NFL players and there are fewer NBA roster spots than there are NFL spots.

So just how rich can basketball players get? From the looks of these 15 former March Madness stars, the answer is: extremely. As you’ll see, most of these athletes amassed some of their fortunes off the court through savvy business ventures and investments.

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Chris Paul

  • Net Worth: $160 million
  • College: Wake Forest, 2003-05

Chris Paul, aka “The Point God,” got his start at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, taking the Demon Deacons to the Sweet 16 as a freshman and back to the NCAA tournament as a sophomore.

He is in his 17th NBA season, now with the Phoenix Suns. He was drafted fourth overall by the New Orleans Hornets in 2005 and also has played with the Los Angeles Clippers (2011-17), Houston Rockets (2017-19) and Oklahoma City Thunder (2019-20).

He has made most of his fortune from his high NBA salary, which has long paid absurdly well. He has made more than $330 million in his career.

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Stephen Curry

  • Net Worth: $160 million
  • College: Davidson College, 2006-09

Stephen Curry is famed for leading the Golden State Warriors to championships in 2014-15, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2021-22, as well as to the best regular-season record in league history in 2015-16. The son of NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, Stephen grew up enmeshed in basketball and proved his promise at Davidson College in North Carolina.

Not only does Curry collect an incredibly high salary from the NBA, he also has profited from some great endorsement deals and several savvy investment ventures.

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Carmelo Anthony

  • Net Worth: $160 million
  • College: Syracuse, 2002-03

Carmelo Anthony turned one starring tournament season at Syracuse into a springboard to a long NBA career. He played for six teams over 19 seasons, making over $240 million.

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James Harden

  • Net Worth: $165 million
  • College: Arizona State, 2007-09 [17]

James Harden’s Sun Devils advanced to the tournament’s second round in 2009 and then he was off to the NBA as the third overall pick of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has played 14 seasons with four teams.

The 2018 league MVP has netted a fortune on the court (over $272 million), and he has hugely profited from his behind-the-scenes activity (e.g., a $200 million deal with Nike). In 2019, Harden became an owner of the Houston Dynamo of the MLS.

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Dwyane Wade

  • Net Worth: $170 million
  • College: Marquette, 2001-03

Dwyane Wade left Marquette as one of its most celebrated athletes, drafted fifth overall by the Miami Heat in 2003. He played 14 of his 16 seasons with Miami, with one-year stints Chicago and Cleveland before the final two seasons with the Heat.

Now a TNT analyst, Wade prospered on the court ($199 million in earnings), but a significant portion of his net worth comes from endorsements (Converse, Nike, Chinese company Li-Ning).

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Luol Deng

  • Net Worth: $200 million
  • College: Duke, 2003-04

Luol Deng soared to acclaim at Duke University in the early 2000s, helping the Blue Devils to the Final Four in his only season with them.

The Chicago Bulls made the Sudanese-born British player the seventh pick in 2004, and he played 10 seasons with the Bulls before bouncing among four teams in his final six NBA seasons.

The now retired player made big money on the court, but he also has landed big endorsements and been a smart investor in London real estate.


Russell Westbrook

  • Net Worth: $200 million
  • College: UCLA, 2006-08

Russell Westbrook helped UCLA to the Final Four in both of his seasons at the school. Then he headed for the NBA, where he was the fourth overall pick by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2008.

Six days after he was drafted, the Sonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Westbrook played for that team for 11 seasons before spending the next four with Houston, Washington, the Lakers and the Clippers.

The acclaimed point guard has reeled in over $290,000 in on-court earnings in his career. In 2017, he signed the largest contract in NBA history ($205 million over five years) and also inked a 10-year deal with Nike reportedly worth up to $200 million.

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Kevin Durant

  • Net Worth: $200 million
  • College: Texas, 2006-07

Kevin Durant was perhaps the most decorated one-and-done player in NCAA history, winning nearly every player-of-the-year award after leading Texas to the second round of the tournament.

Drafted second overall by Seattle in 2007, he made the move with the team to OKC in 2008 and played eight seasons there before winning two NBA titles in three seasons with Golden State. He played three seasons in Brooklyn before being traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2023.

Durant has scored many high-end endorsement deals that contributed substantially to his massive net worth. He is also an investor in more than 80 companies and owns a stake in the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer, Forbes reported.

Eric Gay/AP /

David Robinson

  • Net Worth: $200 million
  • College: Navy, 1983-87

Nicknamed “The Admiral” for his time at the Naval Academy, which he led to the Elite Eight in 1986, David Robinson won NBA Rookie of the Year, MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, among many other accolades. He played his entire 13-year career with the San Antonio Spurs, who drafted him No. 1 overall in 1987.

Robinson has scored millions of dollars through clever business investments. The Spurs’ superstar retired in 2003 and is the founder of Admiral Center at Living Cities.

Peter Cosgrove/AP /

Grant Hill

  • Net Worth: $250 million
  • College: Duke, 1990-94

Grant Hill is Duke royalty, having helped the Blue Devils to two NCAA titles. The third overall pick in 1994, he played 19 NBA seasons with Detroit (1994-2000), Orlando (2000-07), Phoenix (2007-12) and the Clippers (2012-13).

He racked up a massive net worth, not just as a pro athlete but as a pro investor in real estate. He also reportedly has made $120 million from endorsements.

Pat Sullivan/AP /

Hakeem Olajuwon

  • Net Worth: $300 million
  • College: Houston, 1981-84

Hakeem Olajuwon led Houston to two NCAA title games before leaving following his junior year and being chosen first overall in 1984 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. He played 17 years with the Rockets, before wrapping up his on-court career with the Toronto Raptors for a season.

The widely revered center also found prosperity in real estate, reportedly netting over $100 million. He also has inked hefty endorsement deals with Etonic, LA Gear and Spalding.

Michael Caulfield/AP/REX /

Shaquille O’Neal

  • Net Worth: $400 million
  • College: Louisiana State University, 1989-92

Shaq led LSU to the tournament in all three of his seasons. He then was drafted first overall by the Orlando Magic and played in the NBA for 18 seasons (four with Orlando, eight with the Lakers, four with Miami, two with Phoenix, one with Cleveland and one with Boston). One of the most decorated players in league history, he won four NBA titles (three with L.A. and one with Miami).

A fierce athlete turned pop culture icon, O’Neal reportedly invests in franchises such as Papa Johns, 24 Hour Fitness and Krispy Kreme, along with startups, stocks and real estate

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Junior Bridgeman

  • Net Worth: $600 million
  • College: Louisville, 1972-75

Bridgeman led Louisville to two NCAA tournament appearances, including the Final Four in 1975. After a 13-year NBA career, Bridgeman sagely invested some of his NBA fortune in fast food deals, which earned him an even greater fortune. He then became a bottler for The Coca-Cola Company and now serves as the president and CEO of Heartland Coca-Cola and runs its production plant in Lenexa, Kansas, with son Justin. He also owns Ebony and Jet magazines.

Lennox Mclendon/AP /

Magic Johnson

  • Net Worth: $620 million
  • College: Michigan State, 1977-79

Earvin “Magic” Johnson led the Spartans to the NCAA tournament in both his seasons, capping it with a famed win over Larry Bird and Indiana State in the 1979 championship game.

Johnson achieved just about everything an NBA player could during a 13-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He made the most of his significant fortune by launching Magic Johnson Enterprises in 1987. Later, he launched Magic Johnson Theatres and more recently got into the NFT space.


Michael Jordan

  • Net Worth: $2.2 billion
  • College: University of North Carolina, 1981-84

By far the wealthiest March Madness star of all time is Michael Jordan, who hit the winning shot against Georgetown to help UNC win the 1982 national title and then went on to win six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls.

After retiring for three years, he returned to play two with the Washington Wizards and went on to become minority owner of the Charlotte Hornets.

Despite becoming the first player to earn $30 million in a season (in both 1996 and 1997), Jordan earned only about $90 million in NBA salary during his career. His $2.2 billion net worth stems largely from the ever-lucrative Nike Jordan brand (more than $60 million a year) and other endorsements.

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