NBA Player Anthony Edwards Inked a $245M Contract, But Legend Charles Barkley Claims the Most He Earned Per Year Was $5M

While NBA player Anthony Edwards will be earning upwards of $42.2 million per year in his four-year contract that kicks in next season, retired NBA player Charles Barkley says, apparently apocryphally, the most he ever earned was $5 million.

US basketball player Charles Barkley arrives for the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by LISA O’CONNOR / AFP) (Photo credit should read LISA O’CONNOR/AFP via Getty Images)

In a recent interview with Shannon Sharpe’s “Club Shay Shay” podcast, Barkley shared that in his last year as an NBA player, his earnings were significantly less than NBA players today. However, he has learned valuable lessons about spending and saving money along the way. 

Charles Barkley On Money Matters

“The most money I made was $5 million. That was my last year. Now that’s below the minimum,” Barkley said with his trademark embellishment. His reported salary from his final season, in 1999-2000 with the Houston Rockets, was $9 million. The NBA minimum salary for 2023-2024 was $1.1 million.

While Barkley’s statement is $4 million less than reported earnings, one thing is clear: his earnings at the height of his career are a drop in the bucket compared to what NBA players make today. For instance, when Edwards, who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, is set to earn an estimated $245.4 million over the next five years. Barkley’s cumulative NBA earnings for his 16-year career in the NBA came to less than $40 million. 

Barkley was drafted into the NBA in 1984 as a power forward, earning $307,000 in his first season. He played with the Philadelphia 76ers for eight seasons. Barkley was traded to the Phoenix Suns, helping the team earn an NBA-best record as a result of scoring an average of 25.6 points and 5.1 assists per game.

Throughout his career, Barkley has earned the title of Most Valuable Player and played on the 1992 and 1996 Olympic “Dream Team” squads. Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame twice — in 2006 for his professional career and in 2010 as a member of the 1992 Olympic Team. 

Today, Barkley has an estimated net worth of $60 million. He is a coveted sports analyst and is the host of the TNT show, “Inside the NBA.” In 2022, Barkley inked a 10-year contract extension with TNT estimated to be worth between $100 million and $200 million. Barkley has earned four Sports Emmy Awards for his work on the show and also providing NBA analysis for CBS. He co-hosted “King Charles” on CNN with Gayle King. 

In addition to Barkley’s work as a basketball player and sports commentator, he has had lucrative endorsements with brands such as Nike, T-Mobile, McDonald’s, FanDuel, Right Guard and Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

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