The golden boy of the NBA’s champion Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry, is officially the best paid player in the entire league.
Curry’s new contract, which was confirmed early Saturday morning during the NBA’s free agency period, will pay the two-time league MVP a whopping $201 million of the course of five years.
And while that may sound like a lot (ok, it is), it’s important to remember that Curry has been one of the most underpaid players in the league relative to his contributions over the last few years. His salary this past season was $12.1 million, the amount some in the NBA might pay for a solid six man bench player.
But for that salary, Curry has broken single game three point shooting records, led the league in three point shooting for the last five seasons, led the team to three Finals appearances and two championships, and he’s one of the few in NBA history to earn back-to-back MVP awards (essentially guaranteeing him place in the NBA Hall of Fame).
All that happened for the about same salary the New Orleans Pelicans paid Solomon Hill, a small forward you probably never heard of who was briefly moved to the bench last season.
But that’s all in the past, as of today, Curry has the largest contract in NBA history. The milestone was so significant that even his heated rival, LeBron James, still licking his wounds from defeat at the hands of Curry and the Warriors, took to Twitter to congratulate Curry.
For context, consider that this is the first $200 sports contract outside of Major League Baseball, and during the 2016-17 NBA season the highest paid player was LeBron James (nearly $31 million), the most famous basketball player on the planet next to Kobe Bryant.
But while Golden State has balanced the scales for its most beloved star, keeping the team together will be the next big challenge. Andre Iguodala, a career starter who now leads the team’s second unit, and was the MVP of the team’s 2015 Finals championship, may be ready to leave if he doesn’t get the offer he wants from the Warriors. Odds are that he’ll stay, and new co-star Kevin Durant has already signaled that he’s ready to take less money to help the team retain talent.
Nevertheless, Curry’s contract is final proof, beyond awards and kind words, that baby-faced, religious, married with impossibly cute children Curry is the franchise’s first and most important modern superstar.
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