The stars of the NBA are some of the best paid athletes in the world. Teams are desperate to lock up their stars for the foreseeable future in hopes of becoming more successful, selling jerseys and and filling their stadiums come game night. The best way to do this is to shell out the big bucks to retain the services of the superstar, and this has resulted in some truly jaw dropping contracts over the years. In some cases, these players have proven to be worth their lucrative deal, but in other cases, they have not.
10. Shaquille O’Neal – $120 million, 7 years (1996–2003)
After being the first pick in the 1992 draft, Shaq took no time proving his incredible dominance. But during his time playing for the Orlando Magic, some signs of friction developed. Then he signed with the Lakers on a staggering seven-year, $120 million contract (particularly large at the time). In typical Shaq fashion, he stated that he did not join for the money and that he was “tired of hearing about money, money, money, money. I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok.” Shaq continued his ascendancy as one of the most dominant players in the game, and was then paired with superstar teenager Kobe Bryant. Phil Jackson was then brought in as coach, and using the legendary triangle offense, the Lakers won three straight NBA titles with O’Neal picking up the finals MVP each time. This was Shaq in his prime, and although things were tense between him and Kobe, together they wrote history.