Overseas basketball is a lucrative business. Many professional scouts are willing to fly some of the best basketball players we’ve seen globally.
Naturally, one would expect these overseas players to have a high salary. Just to give you a little sneak peek, yes, they do! Some can earn up to $2,000 a month, which is well deserved considering the training they undergo.
In this article, I will discuss the details of how much overseas basketball players earn by country.
How Much Do Overseas Basketball Players Make?
You may be surprised to know that an overseas local basketball player’s average monthly salary can range between $700 to $2,000. This could vary greatly depending on a player’s experience and notoriety.
However, the highest-paid basketball players could earn up to a whopping $5 million a year, which is a lot, especially for imports.
Notwithstanding this, there’s no salary cap on overseas basketball players. But what is certain, though, is it’s affected by several factors:
- Country where the overseas basketball player plays
- The economic strength of the country they play in
- Experience of the player and the league they’re a part of
With this in mind, people can better understand how overseas basketball salaries are assessed.
A Complete Summary of Basketball Salaries Across Leagues Around The World
Basketball is a sport played across the globe. There’s always love for it, especially from those who’ve grown up watching the game.
Many have become interested in being overseas basketball players, especially with how tempting the offers are usually. Safe to say, overseas basketball salaries are considerably higher than what an average worker can earn.
In Asia, overseas basketball salaries for those in China are comparably higher than those in the Philippines and Australia.
While in Europe, countries like Europe, Spain, Russia, and Turkey are seen as the big earners. The overseas basketball salaries for these countries can be as high as $500,000 per season.
But of all leagues, nothing can top how much NBA players earn.
Let’s go through the basketball salaries by country. This will help you understand basketball salaries and the factors that affect them.
Salaries of Basketball Leagues in Asia and Australia
Basketball is one of the biggest sports in Asia. You can expect to find many basketball players in each country, all aspiring to make it to the big leagues.
Generally, the overseas basketball salaries earned in Asia are less than those in Europe or the Americas. China is considered the highest paying, but still not as much as you’d expect if you’d compare it to NBA players.
|Asia and the Pacific|
|Country||League||Average Salary (USD)||Maximum Salary (USD)|
|China||Chinese Basketball Association||$1-3 million/season||$4 million/season|
|South Korea||Korean Basketball League||$250K-$400K/season||$500K-$800K/season|
|Japan||Japanese B League||$120K-$300K/season||$1 million/season|
|Philippines||Philippine Basketball Association||$10K-$20K/month||$30K-40K/month|
|Australia||Australian National Basketball League||$120K-$250K/season||$500K and above/season|
1. China – Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)
The Chinese Basketball Association is the highest-paying overseas league in Asia. Players can earn a maximum salary of up to $4 million annually.
Not many overseas leagues can boast of having player salaries up to that high.
This entices many former NBA players to be part of their overseas teams, like Stephon Marbury. With his career in the NBA dwindling, his decision to join the Chinese Basketball Association was a good choice.
He’s seen a lot of success in China, even having a business that can keep him secure for life.
Through the years, the Chinese Basketball Association has become one of the most attractive leagues to join. However, not everyone is lucky to make it part of the team.
The league has a limit of allowing only two overseas basketball players in a team. Pretty much, a team consists of predominantly Chinese players.
Looking ahead, the Chinese Basketball Association will certainly become one of the stars with its impressive Chinese players born to win basketball. Couple this with their talent for spotting overseas basketball players, and they have a successful team to boast.
2. South Korea – Korean Basketball League (KBL)
The Korean Basketball League also has some of the best players in their leagues. Their composition is also stricter, especially regarding how many overseas basketball players are allowed.
Each domestic league generally limits the number of overseas players to only two per team. The salary cap is set to $700,000, which is pretty big. But for teams with only a single overseas basketball player, the max salary is $500,000.
You can say that professional basketball players in the Korean Basketball League are lucky. With average salaries reaching half a million, that’s already considered big money that can keep them financially secure.
Not to mention, some of these players even receive bonuses. These bonuses can round up their salaries nearing close to a million.
3. Japan – Japanese B League
The Japan Professional Basketball League came to life after a merger in 2016. This led to a more profitable league and a better line of overseas basketball players.
Through the years, the Japanese B League has seen a lot of success and offers an average salary of $120,000 to $300,000 per season.
Some of the highest-paid players in Japan, whether locals or imports, can earn up to a million.
Players of the Japanese B League are lucky because they can take home all six figures of their salary. Most leagues pay for the accommodations of their players, which is part of their attractive overseas contract.
4. Philippines – Philippine Basketball Association (PBA)
The Philippine Basketball Association is one of the oldest leagues in Asia. The Philippines has a solid fan base when it comes to basketball, and many take the game seriously.
There are also many overseas basketball players in the Philippines, giving the crowd a good game. However, overseas basketball salaries in the Philippines are comparably low, unlike other Asian countries.
The average salary ranges between $10k to $20k monthly and a maximum salary of $40k monthly. It’s one of the lowest in Asia, especially if you compare it to the overseas basketball salaries earned in China or Japan.
5. Australia – Australian National Basketball League (NBL)
The Australian National Basketball League is the highest-paying league in Oceania. An overseas player in the NBL can earn an average salary of $100,000 to $250,000.
Through the years, the NBL has gained a strong fan base both in Australia and outside. It’s also become a great training ground for those who want to make it to the NBA.
Salaries of Basketball Leagues in Europe
The average salary basketball players earn in Europe ranges between $60,000 to $200,000 per player for every season. It could go as high as $500,000, especially if they’re part of the highest-level league.
But in recent years, Europe has experienced the biggest decline in basketball salaries for foreign players. Basketball isn’t as popular as a sport, unlike in the United States and Asian countries.
Nevertheless, various European leagues still have high team budgets for their foreign players.
|Country||League||Average Salary (USD)||Maximum Salary (USD)|
|Spain||Spanish Liga Endesa||$250-$500K/season||$4 million/season|
|Russia||Russian United League Basketball||$200K-450K/season||$4 million/season|
|Turkey||Turkish Basketball Super League||$250K-$500K/season||$3.7 million/season|
|France||French Jeep Elite LNB Pro A||$80K-$200K/season||$300K/season|
|Italy||Italian Lega Basket Serie A||$180K-$350K/season||$1 million/season|
|Germany||German Basketball Bundesliga||$100K-$350K/season||$1 million/season|
|Greece||Greek A1 Basketball League||$60K-$250K/season||$2.5 million/season|
|Israel||Israeli Basketball Premier League Series||$80K-$250K/season||$17 million/season|
1. Europe – Euroleague
There’s no hard and fast rule about the maximum salary of overseas basketball players in the Euroleague. The main factors affecting the average salaries are their economic situation and external driving force.
A basketball league with more sponsorships typically earns more. Their salary cap also varies depending on how many people buy tickets for their game. Getting their tickets sold out isn’t a problem for pro leagues and bigger teams.
Research shows that the average salary of overseas basketball players in the Euroleague is between $500 to $4 million per season.
The team pays their taxes for them, so they take home their salaries for the season.
The Turkish Airlines Euroleague is one of the sponsors in the Euroleague, which fosters sportsmanship and competition!
2. Spain – Spanish Liga Endesa (ACB)
The Spanish Liga Endesa is notorious for being the highest-paying league in Western Europe. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are rumored to have a budget of up to $40 million.
With such a budget, you can expect players to receive big cuts. Overseas basketball players make six figures per season, ranging anywhere between $250,000 to $500,000.
Liga ACB teams are one of the professional basketball divisions in the Spanish basketball league system. It’s even considered one of the most competitive, having FC Barcelona and Real Madrid as part of its clubs.
FC Barcelona basketball gained much attention thanks to its success in the industry. The team is home to notable players like Marc Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro.
Real Madrid is also a great team playing in the ACB. Real Madrid became popular for its impressive roster and notable EuroLeague performance.
Undoubtedly, a top professional basketball division such as the Liga ACB fosters competition and creates a positive impact for aspiring players.
3. Russia – Russian United League Basketball (VTN)
The overseas basketball salaries for Russian leagues are tempting and can reach a max salary of up to $4 million. This is one of the biggest figures in Europe, including Spain.
One of its notable players includes Mike James, an American professional basketball player who took an interest in overseas leagues.
He’s had a good run playing for Russia and has shown outstanding skills that helped the VTN reach great heights. During his time with Russia, he earned an impressive $2.5 million during the season.
4. Turkey – Turkish Basketball Super League (BSL)
The Turkish Basketball Super League has the highest-paid basketball players in Eastern Europe. It’s among the most competitive leagues a professional basketball player would love to join.
Players in the league can earn a max salary of $3.7 million per season. The offer is attractive for both local and overseas basketball players. Nevertheless, considering the high competition, qualifying for the BSL can be challenging.
5. France – French Jeep Elite LNB Pro A (Pro A)
A professional basketball player in France’s Pro A league can earn an average salary of up to $300,000 per season. For many years, the Pro A has garnered much attention for being one of the best professional leagues in Europe.
It’s home to both local and overseas basketball players.
However, the number of players that are part of the professional men’s basketball league in France can still vary.
It depends on the skill level of the players, their contracts, and even the league’s budget.
6. Italy – Italian Lega Basket Serie A (Serie A)
The Italian Lega Basket Serie A offers some of the most inviting salaries among other European leagues. Roughly, what and how much the players make is close to $350,000 per season and a max salary of over a million.
Overseas basketball leagues like the Serie A have become many professional players’ goals. The league has a good following and is home to many great players.
Local league players also have a lot of luck making it as an overseas basketball player in other countries. This is perfect for those who want to explore what it’s like in other overseas basketball leagues.
7. Germany – German Basketball Bundesliga (BBL)
As the fourth strongest economy in the world, Germany is one the best countries for overseas basketball players to play in. The Germany Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) is the country’s most popular and top professional basketball division.
It’s a great league, especially for those who want to play basketball professionally overseas. During its peak season, the BBL attracts large crowds because of its high level of competition.
Overseas basketball leagues such as the BBL are definitely a must-join for an import player. They pay well, with an average salary of $100,000 to $ 350,000 per season.
Max salary can also reach a million, especially for those playing for the most successful team in the BBL.
One of its notable players is Greg Monroe, a professional basketball player formerly part of the NBA. Greg Monroe is no stranger to overseas basketball players, having played for other international leagues like the BBL.
8. Greece – Greek A1 Basketball League (Greek A1)
In the past, Greece has experienced some economic turmoils that even affected overseas basketball salaries.
Nevertheless, the country has bounced back and offers an average salary of up to $60,000 to $250,000 per season for its import players.
They’re even home to some of the highest-paid players outside the usual NBA team and can earn up to millions. This has attracted many overseas basketball players to be part of their teams.
Mike James also joined the Greek A1 in 2017-2018 and displayed an impressive performance.
9. Israel – Israeli Basketball Premier League Series (Winner League)
The Israeli Basketball Premier League Series isn’t called a Winner for nothing. It’s certainly in Europe’s top ranks of overseas basketball salary ranges.
In recent years, the Winner League has become home to some of the best pro basketball players in the world.
With great talents, you can expect an outstanding season worth six figures. True enough, earning six figures in the Winner League isn’t uncommon.
A player can earn an average salary of $250,000 per season. Their highest-paid basketball player can earn a max salary of $17 million, not including their endorsements and sponsorships.
Salaries of Basketball Leagues In The United States
The United States of America is the home of the NBA. Many teams in the NBA with outstanding players are cashing in a lot of money. No wonder NBA players are considered top-tier players by some overseas teams.
They’re home to the highest-paid player of 2020, Stephen Curry. Not to mention, his max salary for the year doesn’t even include his sponsorships and endorsements.
Notwithstanding this, there are also other basketball leagues in the US, like the NBA G League and the ABA. Their payment ability for their basketball players is different but is improving through the years.
|United States of America|
|League||Average Salary (USD)||Maximum Salary (USD)|
|National Basketball Association||$7.7 million/year||$40.2 million/year|
|NBA G League||$35K/year||$500K/year|
|American Basketball Association||$50-$100K/month||$3K/month|
The NBA has been around for nearly seven decades. Throughout this time span, it has become one of the most successful leagues worldwide.
Coincidentally, it’s also the most profitable because it earned as much as $8.3 billion USD in revenue during the 2019-2020 season.
Through the years, we’ve all seen many big names making it to the list of legendary NBA players.
It shouldn’t be surprising that some of the big-league players of NBA teams can earn millions in a single season.
During the 2019-2020 season, various reports confirmed that Stephen Curry earned $40.2 million. This made him the highest-paid player of that particular season.
However, the NBA does have a salary cap that is distributed among all NBA teams. Nevertheless, the cap is pretty huge, amounting to $100 million.
Fun Fact: The Denver Nuggets are currently the most successful team in the NBA after winning the 2023 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
2. NBA G League
The NBA G League is the development league of the NBA. It’s a good training ground for aspiring players who want to be an NBA player.
It doesn’t make the same profit as the NBA, but each season still earns a lot.
A player can earn $35,000 per season, drastically different from what an NBA player earns. G League players can still earn more, especially with sponsorship deals from big-named brands.
But in recent years, the G League has been trying to entice and encourage its players to stay. They also offer housing and insurance benefits during the 5-month-long G League season.
The American Basketball Association (ABA) originally started to rival the NBAs. However, much has changed, and the ABA now dedicates its time to growing basketball at the grass root levels.
It’s become a good place for basketball players to improve their skills and get some exposure during their game. Although a player playing for the ABAs doesn’t gain the same publicity, it’s still a good starting point.
Between the NBA and NBA G-League, overseas basketball players, part of the American Basketball Association (ABA), earn way less. There’s a huge income gap; a player only earns approximately $10,000 monthly.
Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon to discover that some players don’t get paid. Some would even shoulder their own expenses.
Nonetheless, nothing comes easy, even to the highest-paid basketball player of this league.
Salaries of Basketball Leagues in North America
Basketball has always been popular in North America. Because of this, you can easily find interested professional basketball players willing to go international.
There are many leagues in North America. Two of the most popular ones include the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional in Mexico; and the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
Despite their popularity, both leagues’ average and maximum salaries aren’t as high as other overseas basketball leagues.
|Country||League||Average Salary (USD)||Maximum Salary (USD)|
|Mexico||Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional||$7-$8K/month||$15-$20K/month|
|Canada||Canadian Elite Basketball League||$1-$10K/month||$10K/month|
1. Mexico – Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP)
Mexico’s Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional is the highest-paying league in North America. The league has attracted local and overseas basketball players because of its high level of competition. At the same time, it has become a great stepping stone for many players.
At the local level, it has inspired many locals to love the game. They have done various community projects to discover local basketball talent.
The average salaries of players in the LNBP range between $7k to 8k a month, with a max salary of almost $20K.
2. Canada – Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL)
The Canadian Elite Basketball League is home to several talented basketball players in North America. They haven’t been around long since the CEBL only started in 2017.
Seven teams are already part of the CEBL despite being a young league. Each team competes for the coveted championship, and each season runs anywhere between spring and summer.
Note that players’ average salary in the CEBL isn’t as high as in other countries. Player salaries can range between $1k to 10K a month, with a max salary of $10,000.
But once the CEBL is off-season, players can join other professional basketball leagues. This is a good opportunity for them to earn extra income and get their name out there.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It’s not surprising that several people have many questions about the salaries of overseas basketball players.
One can’t help but be curious, especially if the figures run as high as six figures in a single paycheck.
Here are some FAQs that might further help you understand why overseas players earn so much more than average.
Are Overseas Basketball Players Required to Pay Taxes?
No! Overseas basketball players aren’t required to pay taxes. They take home 100% of what they receive, which means they are cashing out a lot of money. Read on before you assume that they don’t pay taxes at all.
Some might find this unacceptable but don’t worry because these players pay their taxes differently than your average worker. In most cases, it’s the team that commissioned them to play who pays for the taxes.
Once they sign the contract with their team, the management deducts the fee and pays taxes for them. Each country has its own rules in terms of tax payment, so be mindful of those rules.
What Is the Average Season Length of Overseas Leagues?
The average season varies depending on the country and league players are part of. But one thing’s for sure; you can expect overseas leagues to run shorter than the NBA.
Despite its short run, overseas basketball players undergo a rigorous training camp to ensure they’re ready to play for some of the top basketball leagues they’re a part of.
These training sessions often run longer than the season. Of course, the duration of such practices will depend on the basketball player’s team.
The salary of an overseas player can vary based on several main factors, like where they play basketball and their skill.
Many overseas basketball players earn a lot, like those playing with the Chinese Basketball Association.
On the other hand, some aren’t as profitable even if they play overseas. Nevertheless, they’re still lucky because their salary is comparable to that of the average person.
A vast majority think an import player playing for overseas basketball leagues makes six digits. But now, we all know that this isn’t always true.