It pays to play basketball in Miami -- though better for the players, relatively speaking, than for the team.
Despite its back-to-back NBA championships and high-profile roster, the Miami Heat is only the seventh most valuable U.S. professional basketball team, according to rankings released by Forbes magazine. Star LeBron James outdoes his team, ranking as the No. 2 most highly paid NBA star, behind Kobe Bryant. D Wade came in fifth, at $30.7 million.
The Heat, owned by Micky Arison, was valued at $770 million, up 23 percent from 2013. Ahead of it were
The New York Knicks, valued at $1.4 billion, up 27 percent
Los Angeles Lakers, $1.35 billion, up 35 percent
Chicago Bulls, $1 billion, up 25 percent
Boston Celtics, $875 million, up 20 percent
Brooklyn Nets, $780 million, up 47 percent
Houston Rockets, $775 million, up 36 percent
Rounding out the Top Ten were Mark Cubans Dallas Mavericks, $765 million, up 12 percent; Golden State Warriors, $750 million, up 35 percent, and San Antonio Spurs, $660 million, up 25 precent.
In the athlete sweepstakes, James $61.1 million income this year will come primarily from endorsements, with only $19.1 million in salary.
Together, the 10 highest NBA players will rack up $358 million this year, with $149 million of that amount will come from sponsors.
According to Forbes, those athletes are:
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, $64.5 million ($34 million in endorsements)
LeBron James of the Miami Heat, $61.1 million, ($42 million in endorsements)
Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, $38.6 million ($21 in endorsements)
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, $31.8 million ($14 million in endorsements)
Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, $30.7 million ($12 million in endorsements)
Carmleo Anthony of the New York Knicks, $30.4 million ($9 million in endorsements)
Amar Stoudemire of the New York Knicks, $28.2 million ($6.5 million in endorsements)
Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets, $26.5 million ($6 million in endorsements)
Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, $23.2 million ($500,000 in endorsements)
Chris Paul of the Losa Angeles Clippers, $22.7 million ($4 million in endorsements)