The LA Lakers NBA Champions 2020

After an extraordinary year that saw the entire NBA competition mothballed for months after the date all games were scheduled to be completed by, the LA Lakers have managed to snatch this year’s crown in the final playoffs at the ESPN Hub in Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida. The Lakers won the playoff with Miami Heat 4 games to 2 clinching their first National title in 10 years.

So, this time we leave it to LeBron to have the last say.

‘I want my damn respect’: LeBron slaps down haters in epic speech

Put some respect on his name.

LeBron James won his fourth ring with a third team, and a fourth Finals MVP as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2020 NBA Championship.

At 35-years-old, in his 17th season, James averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game, and had one simple message for those watching on.

“It means a lot to represent this franchise,” James said. “I told Jeanie [Buss] when I came here that I was going to put this franchise back in the position that it belongs.

“Her late, great father did it for so many years, and he just took it on after that.

“For me to be a part of such a historic franchise, it’s an unbelievable feeling; not only for myself, but for my teammates, for the organisation, for the coaches, for the trainers, everybody that’s here.

“We just want our respect. Rob [Pelinka] wants his respect. Coach [Frank] Vogel wants his respect, our organisation wants their respect, Laker Nation wants their respect … and I want my damn respect, too.”

It’s the fourth time in four championship runs that James has captured MVP honours, after he did so with Miami in 2012 and 2013 and with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

Asked what a fourth title and his incredible longevity meant for his legacy, James added: “I don’t know. I’m going to let you guys talk about it.

“One thing I can do is commit to the game. I put myself, and my body, and my mind in position to be available to my teammates.

“I’ve never missed a playoff game in my career, and the best thing you can do for your teammates is be available.

“For me to be available to my teammates, and put in the work, I just hope I make my guys proud, and that’s all that matters to me.”

Source: foxsports.com.au

Here the local basketball competitions are preparing for next year. School competitions are restricted to ‘in house’ games, but the school courts are back in action, at least for the students.

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LA Lakers take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals

With two games to go, one on Saturday the 10th and one on Monday the 12th of October, it’s likely the series will be wrapped up by Saturday. The Lakers go into the game on Saturday with a commanding series lead of 3 games to 1. The Miami Heat will need to win both games to force a playoff.

Here’s the report on Game 4…

LeBron, AD on fire to cool Heat and move Lakers a game away from 17th NBA championship

LeBron James led a Lakers turnaround.

The Los Angeles Lakers are just one game away from becoming world champions after an inspired second half turnaround from LeBron James helped them overpower Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat to take a 3-1 series lead.

The game was on a knife-edge for all but 40-seconds as the two teams were never more than seven points apart until Anthony Davis got over his similarly slow start to James to sink a huge three-pointer to all-but seal the game.

Butler nearly got his second consecutive triple double as he helped himself to 22 points under the increased scrutiny of James and Davis, who took it upon themselves to make sure he didn’t get the same joy as he did in Game 3.

The two teams now have an extra rest day before Saturday’s (AEST) Game 5, where the Lakers can wrap up the championship with two games in hand.

LBJ sinks daggers, lifts LA

Bam Adebayo recovered from a neck injury for the Heat to take his place on the floor but Goran Dragic couldn’t join him, despite taking part in the warm up.

The Lakers had a special plan in place for Game 3 hero Butler with Davis guarding him from the offset while James skipped his usual rest periods to match up with the Heat No.22’s time off court.

James had a difficult first half as he gave away five of the Lakers’ nine turnovers by midway through the second quarter.

Heat gun ROASTED for flopping

However, he made the proper adjustments in the second half and sank two huge three-pointers – the first from the logo – to turn his “out of sync” performance into a five-point lead for the Lakers going into the final quarter.

Butler meanwhile, after going five from five from the field and two assists in the first quarter, missed four in a row in what proved to be the turning point in this Game 4 encounter.

James continued his recovery in the final period as he took 26 points – the highest of anyone on the floor – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit two massive back-to-back buckets to put the Lakers firmly in the driving seat.

Davis sealed it with his massive three-pointer to stretch the lead to a game-high nine points, while also making five blocks at the bucket to show off his offensive and defensive superiority.

The Lakers are now just one game away from their 17th NBA championship.

Source: foxsports.com.au

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The NBA Finals – LA Lakers vs Miami Heat – Best of Seven Series.

Last week we re-published an article questioning LeBron James and his capacity to perform. Never write off a champion. This week the 35 year old makes his 10th NBA finals appearance (Thursday Oct 1, 11am). You can watch it live on Kayo or Fox Sports.

The Orlando Hub at Disneyworld has now been operational for 3 months. With delays due to Coronavirus first and then the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparking a competition-wide walkout.

This would be LeBron James’ fourth championship ring, having previously won finals with both Cleveland, Miami and the Lakers.

At 35 years of age, LeBron has acknowledged that this series is probably the greatest challenge he has faced in his long career. He went on to comment that the ‘bubble’ that is Orlando has been extremely tough on both the mind and body. It was the unexpected that took a toll on his performance and that of others.

LeBron has made it clear – he has committed to the hub, the bubble – its quarantine and its privations for one reason and one reason alone – to win the Championship. But right now he commented that he has lost track of time since entering the hub, saying he had no idea how many days it’s been and that it felt like 5 years.

When the Lakers left Los Angeles in July, no-one was certain the competition would even reach completion this year.

But now it is the reality with James facing off against his old team – Miami, and jousting with his old coach Erik Spoelstra with whom he won back to back titles in 2012 and 2013, departing in 2014 to return to Cleveland. Rumour has it that LeBron did not always see eye to eye with Spoelstra and their relationship was at times somewhat fiery. Ever the professional, LeBron stressed this would have no bearing on his feelings about the result – win lose or draw conceding that just reaching the final was hard enough in itself. And true to form, he’s there to rock and roll, for the team, the coaching staff and the fans. Exciting times!

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NBA Playoffs well underway with a few surprises.

The Covid 19 Hub in Orlando Florida is throwing up a few surprises. Some of the big names are either not performing or are out injured (Simmons). We will provide a full update next week. Meanwhile what’s happening with the LA Lakers who definitely seem off-song… ?

It started with a Dame, but LeBron’s tormentors are far from a one-man team: US View

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The NBA playoffs are underway and there has already been a few upsets that have cast doubt over how two league heavyweights will move forward.

The Lakers seem to have carried their bubble form into the playoffs and Damian Lillard is still firing for the Blazers.

But he’s not the only one and the trust Portland have in each other could be just what Milwaukee are missing at the moment.

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LILLARD IS HEATING UP BUT TRUST IS KEY TO BLAZERS’ SUCCESS

While the Bucks are still trying to figure out how to free up Giannis, the Blazers are thriving off the back of always finding the open man.

That is the perspective of The Athletic’s Jason Quick, who says Portland’s greatest strength is not only superstar Damian Lillard but also their ability to trust anyone in the line-up to make the game-winning shot.

“While Damian Lillard (34 points) was again timely and impactful, and CJ McCollum (21 points) and Jusuf Nurkic (16 points, 15 rebounds) did their part, what tickled Stotts about the Game 1 upset was the details in how and why the Blazers won,” he wrote.

“The biggest shots of the game came from Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. in the final minutes. Anthony had been off all game, missing eight of his 10 shots. And Trent had gone 1-for-7, twice hitting the side of the backboard on 3-point attempts.

“But with the game on the line, their teammates trusted them to take 3-pointers, and like they have all throughout the Orlando restart, Anthony and Trent Jr. trusted their preparation. Anthony’s 3 with 2:32 left pushed the Blazers lead to 95-89. Later, after the Lakers drew within 95-93, Trent Jr. hit a 3 with 1:15 left.”

The Oregon Live’s Aaron Fentress agreed that while Lillard is getting all the attention, the confidence in each other powered the Blazers to victory in the first game.

“Carmelo Anthony’s shooting touch was off. Gary Trent Jr. had been clanking shots all night,” he wrote.

“For the Blazers, it all comes down to trust and a belief in one another to make big plays when it matters most. On Tuesday, it was Anthony and Trent who got it done despite their struggles.”

“That trust is what makes the Blazers so dangerous. How does an opposing team defend Portland late in games when it often doesn’t care which player takes the biggest shots late in games?”

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IS IT PANIC STATIONS FOR THE LAKERS ALREADY?

“It’s one game”.

Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel declared it’s not panic stations at the number one seed in the West after Thursday’s 100-93 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The problem is, this “one game” for the Lakers and LeBron James is symptomatic of their time in the NBA bubble, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Tania Ganguli wrote.

“The way the Lakers played fit perfectly with the way they played the seeding games in the bubble,”

“Their shooting struggled — they missed their first eight three-point attempts and ultimately finished making only five of 32 three-pointers.”

According to the NBA’s tracking data, 27 of the Lakers’ 35 threes on Thursday were classified as either open or wide open.

They were able to execute on just two of their 16 ‘wide open’ shots.

The Lakers have struggled to get their offence going at Disneyland and NBC Sports’ Dylan Mickanen said the trend will continue without better spacing.

“The Trail Blazers will pack the paint with rim protectors and send help at LeBron and Davis on the block, and force the Lakers subpar supporting cast make outside shots,” he wrote.

So yes, this is just one game for the Lakers, problem is we’ve seen this all before.

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BUCKS’ GIANNIS PROBLEM REARS ITS UGLY HEAD

If the Bucks keep pounding Giannis Antetokounmpo into the wall, they invariably should be expecting the same results, according to Bucks beat reporter Matt Velazquez.

“The Bucks know, basically all the time what teams are going to do,” he said on The Milwaukee Bucks podcast.

“They’re going to sink, they’re going to clog the paint, they’re going to be make it hard for Giannis to get to the hoop.

“But they couldn’t do anything about it.

“They couldn’t pass well enough, they didn’t shoot early enough in the shot clock at times, not finding the open man.

“That’s the head-scratching stuff.

“Why are they not sticking to the plan or working harder to try and get a better shot?”

Anteokounmpo’s All-Star partner Khris Middleton had just 14 points, while Brook Lopez’s five points and four rebounds looked embarrassing in comparison to opposing big man Nikola Vucevic’s 35 points and 14 rebounds.

Speaking of Vucevic it was clear that he would be Orlando’s man in offence but Velazquez said the Bucks failed to shut him down.

“You know what the Magic are going to do,” Velazquez said.

“You know they’re going to go to Nikola Vucevic. He’s an All-Star calibre player for a reason. He’s the best player they have.

“Of course they’re going to feed him, of course they’re going to play through him. The Bucks never had a way of figuring how to slow him down.”

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PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE (AEST)

EASTERN CONFERENCE

MILWAUKEE BUCKS (1) – (8) ORLANDO MAGIC

  • Game 2: 3am Friday, August 21
  • Game 3: 3am Sunday, August 23
  • Game 4: 3.30am Tuesday, August 25
  • Game 5: TBD, August 27
  • Game 6: TBD, August 29
  • Game 7: TBD, August 31

TORONTO RAPTORS (2) – (7) BROOKLYN NETS

  • Game 3: 3.30am Saturday, August 22
  • Game 4: 8.30am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

BOSTON CELTICS (3) – (6) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

  • Game 3: 8.30am Saturday, August 22
  • Game 4: 3am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

INDIANA PACERS (4) – MIAMI HEAT (5)

  • Game 2: 3am Friday, August 21
  • Game 3: 5.30am Sunday, August 23
  • Game 4: 8.30am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

WESTERN CONFERENCE (AEST)

LOS ANGELES LAKERS (1) – (8) PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

  • Game 2: 11am Friday, August 21
  • Game 3: 10.30am Sunday, August 23
  • Game 4: 11am Tuesday, August 25
  • Game 5: TBD, August 27
  • Game 6: TBD, August 29
  • Game 7: TBD, August 31

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (2) – (7) DALLAS MAVERICKS

  • Game 2: 11am Thursday, August 20
  • Game 3: 11am Saturday, August 22
  • Game 4: 5am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

DENVER NUGGETS (3) – (6) UTAH JAZZ

  • Game 3: 6am Saturday, August 22
  • Game 4: 11am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

HOUSTON ROCKETS (4) – (5) OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

  • Game 2: 5.30am Friday, August 21
  • Game 3: 8am Sunday, August 23
  • Game 4: 6am, Tuesday, August 25
  • Game 5: TBD, August 27
  • Game 6: TBD, August 29
  • Game 7: TBD, August 31

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Source: foxsports.com.au

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NBA Update – The LA Lakers and Orlando.

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Basketball fans are keenly awaiting the resumption of the 2019-20 season at the ESPN complex at Disneyworld located in Orlando Florida.

Here’s a complete rundown from Head Coach Frank Vogel dated July 1st 2020…

Frank Vogel Addresses Lakers Roster Updates for Orlando

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When Frank Vogel became the head coach of the Lakers over a year ago, he knew there would be plenty of challenges, and plenty of pressure.

But there’s no way he could have predicted a truly unprecedented 2019-20 season including the events surrounding the team’s preseason trip to China, the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the racial and social justice movement that continues to evolve.

Amidst all of that, Vogel is trying to lead his players and staff through never-traveled terrain as the team’s first game in the Walt Disney World bubble is exactly one month away.

As players continue individual workouts at the UCLA Health Training Center, ramping up towards the planned departure of the team charter on July 9, Vogel acknowledged that JR Smith would replace Avery Bradley on the roster, though it would take a team effort to replace Bradley’s role.

The other question mark on the roster is about Dwight Howard, who’s dealing with a unique family situation that he described to us in May, in addition to his focus on social justice.

Vogel offered an update on Howard’s status.

“We’ve been in communication with Dwight the whole way,” he said. “We don’t know what the level of participation is yet. He wants to play. We’re hopeful he’s able to join us. We’re hopeful and optimistic that he’ll be able to join us in Orlando.”

Howard is one of 10 Lakers to average at least 16.8 minutes per game this season: LeBron James (34.9); Anthony Davis (34.3); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (25.4); Danny Green (25.1); Kyle Kuzma (24.6); Bradley (24.2); Rajon Rondo (20.5); Howard (19.2), Alex Caruso (17.8); and JaVale McGee (16.8). Markieff Morris had also entered the rotation, earning 14.8 minutes in his eight appearances.

Meanwhile, Quinn Cook and Jared Dudley got spot minutes and filled in admirably when needed, and Vogel said repeatedly that he’d trust them in any game situation. One could surmise that both Smith and playoff-roster-deadline acquisition Dion Waiters would fit in with Cook and Dudley as veterans who could be called upon for specific reasons and matchups, i.e., the need for a guy who can get his own bucket off the bench (Waiters) or floor spacing (Smith, who’s a 37.3 percent 3-point shooter who ranks 9th all-time in postseason 3’s made, and 4th in the NBA Finals).

Vogel has yet to work with Smith on the court, but he did have a welcome-to-the-team chat with the 34-year-old veteran.

“The experience factor,” said Vogel about what Smith brings. “This guy’s a big-time player, he’s proven it over the course of his career. We know he can help us. We almost added him earlier in the year when we added Dion Waiters, and now we have the luxury of having both. We’re not going to ask him to come in and be Avery Bradley, he’s going to come in and be JR Smith.”

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And while Smith provides depth on the wing, the bulk of Bradley’s 24.2 minutes could be split amongst KCP, Caruso and Rondo, depending upon the game situation.

“Avery’s loss is obviously a huge loss for us, but we’re a next-man-up team,” Vogel continued. “Alex is an elite defender in his own right in a different way than Avery, as is KCP. Offensively, clearly we wouldn’t run plays that Avery uses for Alex, we’d run plays that put Alex in the best position to succeed.”

On his own Zoom call with reporters earlier on Wednesday, Caruso offered a similar sentiment.

“It might not be with one person (filling Bradley’s role), but this team has done a great job this year when guys have been out, of stepping up and filling a role or a need,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll be the sole provider of everything that Avery did, that’s a lot to ask for because of how good he is at what he does, but I’m definitely going to be ready to fill part of that gap and that need.”

Caruso mentioned Bradley’s skills as a supplementary ballhandler and defender who took open threes as things he thinks he replicate. On the other hand, Caruso acknowledged Bradley’s strength with mid-range pullups and floaters out of the sets Vogel was asked about as things with which he is less comfortable. Fortunately, those are sets that KCP can replicate.

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In fact, KCP started all 18 games for Bradley from Nov. 15 – Dec. 22 after Bradley suffered a hairline fracture in November. The Lakers went 15-1 before back-to-back losses at Indiana and Milwaukee at the end of a difficult road stretch. LAL also won games at Chicago (Nov. 5) and at OKC (Jan. 11) with KCP starting for Bradley, bringing the total mark to 17-3.

One benefit to those KCP lineups is the increased floor spacing he provides. Caldwell-Pope has hit 87 3’s this season on an impressive 39.4 percent from the field, compared to Bradley’s 63 makes on 36.4 percent. With LeBron as the primary ballhandler with the starters, Rondo could remain in his playmaking role off the bench.

Fortunately for Vogel, his squad has a 5.5 game lead in the West, meaning he can use the eight seeding games to iron out such rotation questions ahead of the start of the playoffs. Vogel was asked how having that lead might impact his approach in Orlando.

“We do have a different type of perspective from some teams that are playing for their playoff lives, but it doesn’t mean we’re not going to go out and – like we always would if these were the last eight games of the regular season – we would compete to win,” said Vogel. “That’s how your habits are built the best … Does that mean we’re going to play certain guys 47 minutes? Obviously no.

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“We’ll be intelligent with the whole process of trying to find the right pace to bring our group along from a conditioning standpoint and evaluating on a daily basis what we feel they can handle and what they’re ready for without compromising their bodies and putting them at risk to injury. We will be cautious with those eight games, but we will compete to win.”

Then it’s time for the playoffs, a unique challenge given the circumstances, and one for which Caruso is ready.

“This is something personally that I relish,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of lasting, of being the team that can be the mentally toughest, the mentally strongest and saying ‘Yeah, we may be on this isolated campus for three months, but we have a goal, we have a mission and it’s not going to affect us trying to get to that end goal and finish the job.’”

It’s that mental side of the game where Caruso thinks the Lakers will have an edge, with everybody dealing with a similar physical challenge.

“The hardest part for us is getting back to doing physically what we were able to do, as far as being early on assignments, being physically ready to box out, to play as physically as it takes to beat teams like the Clippers, Bucks, Rockets and Nuggets, all the good teams that are competing for championships and are going to be in the playoffs,” he explained. “Just getting back to that physical form of being able to do it night in, take a day off, night out, keep going and going and going for a month and a half. The mental part I feel like for our team is going to be easier just because we have such a heady and basketball-smart team, basketball-IQ led team and coaching staff.”

Source: nba.com

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Australia Day – Green vs Gold

Well it’s the Australia Day public holiday on Monday 27th but right now here’s a bit of a treat for our viewers, followers and friends. It’s the Green (Boston Celtics) vs the Gold (LA Lakers) and for some it’s a surprise result with the Lakers going down to the Celtics 107 to 139. (Green and Gold, so Aussie!)

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Here are the full game highlights. Kick back and enjoy. The Celtics – with party tricks.

When it comes to the highest levels of competition here in Australia, chances are you are playing on Nellakir Timber Sports Flooring if you’re in Victoria.

Today, with an increasing number of listed Australians playing on NBA extended lists, with the number growing each year, the opportunities for fresh talent to make their way to the premium competition of the NBA are increasing.

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Ensure your stadium’s playing surface is always maintained professionally for premium performance. Call Nellakir now to book a free, no-obligation consultation on regular annual maintenance and scheduled professional court cleaning.

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LeBron James joins the LA Lakers

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LeBron James’ new Lakers contract will make him the best-paid NBA player — ever.

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LeBron James is a perennial NBA All-Star with four Most Valuable Player awards and three championship rings, including the one he won most recently, in 2016, with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. But, starting next season, James, 33, will also have a new work address, thanks to the four-year, $154 million contract the basketball star agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.

It will likely make him the best-paid NBA player ever and pushes him down the path to becoming a billionaire.

Klutch Sports Group, the agency that represents James, announced his decision to join the Lakers, which came only two days after the NBA star opted out of his contract with Cleveland to become a free agent. James, who owns multiple homes in the Los Angeles area, has a new contract that will pay him $35.6 million for the upcoming 2018-2019 NBA season and its annual value will increase each year until it hits $41 million for the 2021-2022 season, according to sports contract website Spotrac.

After the fourth and final year of James’ new deal with the Lakers, he will have earned over $387.2 million, which will make him the highest-paid player in the history of the NBA, based on all-time career salary, according to Spotrac. After the most recent NBA season, which ended with James’ Cavaliers losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in June, James has earned a total of $233.9 million in NBA salary over 15 seasons since he entered the league in 2003 as an 18-year-old rookie.

Spotrac’s ranking of the NBA players with the all-time highest career earnings currently has only five players ahead of James. Four of those players (Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan) are retired, so they won’t be earning any more salary as NBA players. The fifth player ahead of James in career salary is Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, who earned just $5 million last season and, at 40 years old, is likely to retire after another season or two and will not earn any further blockbuster NBA contracts.

Part of the way through his third season in Los Angeles, James will pass Garnett’s career earnings of $334 million, according to Spotrac, to take the top spot. And James isn’t the only active NBA shooting up the list of all-time career earnings. Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul’s, 33, new four-year contract, which will also pay him $35.6 million this year, will leave him with a whopping $346.5 million in career salary after the 2021-2022 season, which will place him just behind James.

Because of the NBA’s rigid salary structure, which does not allow players to earn more than a maximum amount that’s set for each season, it is extremely unlikely that any player will be able to swoop in with a mega-deal to pass James on the career salary earnings rankings over the next four years.

Of course, LeBron James’ income is not dependent on his NBA salary. The future hall-of-famer will collect an estimated $52 million in 2017 (or about 60 percent of his annual income) from massive endorsement deals with brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Beats By Dre headphones, according to Forbes.

In total, Forbes estimates that James has already made $765 million between his NBA salary and off-court earnings since he turned pro 15 years ago. So, James might not be quite to the billion-dollar mark overall yet, but with a liftetime endorsement contract with Nike that’s reportedly worth roughly $1 billion overall (according to a James associate), he’s certainly on his way.

Source: cnbc.com