How much cash could LeBron James likely get from winning the NBA title? Not as much as you may think, according to research by GoBankingRates.com.
In fact, the ring for winning the title might be worth more than the money. But more on that in a moment.
To come up with the amount, the financial services web site broke down the take-home pay the Miami Heat would get from beating the San Antonio Spurs— and then divided the money to come up with a final figure for the NBA superstar.
So here's what they found based on a $13 million figure—the total amount available for teams that made the playoffs this year, according to the NBA.
We can start the money count with the teams that had the best record in their conference. There are two conferences, and the two teams with the best record were the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. They get $328,078 each.
Next, since the Heat had the best record for the season, that team gets an additional $347,947, according to the playoff rules.
Now, each team that is in the first round of the playoffs, win or lose, gets $194,016. So we can add that to the Heat money pot. And we can throw in second round playoff money—$230,853 for each team—as well as third round money: $381,482.
And the team that wins the NBA title gets $2,302,232 all to themselves.
So if the Heat win, they get a total amount of $3,784,608.
That's not all that much from what's expected to be a grueling championships series. But it's about to get even smaller for the team. That's because, as tradition stands, the winning teams typically divide up the money among the players, team officials and support staff.
GoBankrate says the Heat have some 72 people who could receive a share. So, $3,784,608 divided by 72, assuming equal shares, is a whopping $52,564. That's right, LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh each get $52,564 under this formula—if they win the title.
The ring for winning the championship will probably be worth more than that. There's no official record of what the Heat paid for last year's ring for winning it all. It was a 14k white and gold ring with 219 diamonds.
But for comparison, the 2011 championship ring for the Dallas Mavericks—also packed with diamonds— was said to cost between $150,000 and $200,000.
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Chances are, James is more interested in getting his second straight NBA title with the Heat than getting the cash. His salary for 2012-2013 was $17.5 million, and the nine-year NBA veteran is said to have a net worth of some $90 million, mostly from product endorsement deals.
James was ranked first among team sport players on Forbes' 2012 list of highest-earning athletes.
If he wins the title—to go along with the MVP award he got this year—the estimate is James could earn an additional $50 million in endorsements, says GoBankrate.com.
So while $52,564 is a lot of cash to some folks, for LeBron James it might be what the money represents--another NBA championship—that means the most.