Stephen Curry was the 74th highest-paid player in the NBA last season—now he's No. 1

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors
Mark Sobha | NBAE | Getty Images

Stephen Curry has long been considered one of the NBA's top players. He has been named regular season MVP twice and one of those times, in 2016, he became the league's first unanimous MVP winner in history. Curry has also led the Golden State Warriors to the NBA Finals four years in a row and helped them win two championships.

But it wasn't until last year that Curry's salary caught up with his status.

For the 2016-2017 season, Curry earned $12.1 million, finishing up the $44 million contract he signed with the Warriors in 2012. It was a massive bargain for Oakland; in comparison, teammate Kevin Durant earned $26.5 million the same season.

When Curry renewed his contract last July, he signed on for a whopping $201 million over five years, earning him a gross payout of around $34 million for the 2017-2018 season alone.

That boost in salary propelled Curry from the 74th spot on the list of highest-paid players to the first, surpassing both Durant and rival LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Although James still rakes in more per year when endorsements are included, Curry is earning the highest salary in the NBA.

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However, it's never been about the money for Curry. Although he spent the early years of career earning far less than his peers, he chose to focus on the advice his father, former NBA player Dell Curry, once gave him, as was first reported by Business Insider. His dad told him not to worry about how much other people have.

"One thing my pops always told me is you never count another man's money," Curry said in an interview with Tim Kawakami of The Mercury News. "It's what you've got and how you take care of it. And if I'm complaining about $44 million over four years, then I've got other issues in my life."

Curry signed his contract knowing that he would earn far less than other NBA stars. Instead of comparing himself to other players, he went into the deal thinking about the upsides it offered: how he'd be able to do what he loves, for example, and support the people he loves.

If I'm complaining about $44 million over four years, then I've got other issues in my life.
Stephen Curry
NBA player

Doing that, Curry's career has thrived. Going into game three, the Warriors already have two wins in the 2018 NBA Finals, and Curry is a favorite to be named championship MVP, an honor he's never received.

But, as with his money, Curry is only focused on playing his best and helping his team win.

"It doesn't make or break my career or whatever you want to say looking back," he tells Sports Illustrated. "If we win this championship and I don't win Finals MVP, I'm going to be smiling just as wide."

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