How Much Do NBA Players Make From The All-Star Game?

The All-Star Game started in 1951 as an annual NBA event featuring the best and the brightest 24 players out of the 450 players around the league. They will join to compete against one another in a less-competitive exhibition game where almost no defense is played.

So, aside from the recognition of being selected as an All-Star, do these NBA players make money from the All-Star Game?

According to sources, the players from the winning team will receive $100,000 each, while the losing team will receive $25,000 each. Aside from individual payouts, each team selects a charity that will receive $350,000 for the winners and $150,000 for the losers.

Now let’s take a closer look at what these players get from the All-Star Games.

How Much do NBA players Make From the All-Star Game?

The all-star game has historically been an exhibition game where players don’t play defense. So, a reward system was implemented as a way for the league to make the game more competitive.

The winning players will receive $100,000 each, double the previous $50,000, while the losing players will only receive $50,000. However, since these top players are raking multimillion dollars in contracts, the $100k may look like spare change.

Aside from the personal monetary reward, the NBA has also added a prize in the form of a donation to each team’s chosen charity. The winning team’s selected charity will receive $350,000, while the losing team’s charity will receive $150,000.

What is the All-Star Game?

NBA All-Star Game 2022 Cleveland (51916996635)
NBA All-Star Game 2022 Cleveland by
Erik Drost

Being selected for the annual All-Star Game is a great achievement for players since only 12 players from each conference (24 in total) are selected out of the 450 players around the league. However, an all-star game selection rewards players more than just a chance to compete against the best.

The starting five for each conference will be composed of three frontcourt players and two guards. A weighted voting process selects the starters between fans (50%), players (25%), and the media (25%).

The rest of the players will be selected by coaches, but they cannot choose players from their teams to ensure fairness in the selection process. The coaches will select two guards, three frontcourts, and two wild cards.

In case of an injury for selected all-star players, the NBA Commissioner chooses the replacement. If the injured player is a starter, the all-star coach will bump one of the reserves to be a starter.

What is the All-Star Game Format?

In 2018, the all-star format changed from the traditional inter-conference match-up into a pickup game-like format. The top vote-getters from both conferences will serve as the team captains. They will then draft players into their teams until they fill the 12 slots.

The format change has been one of the recent innovations of the all-star game that allowed players from different conferences to play with one another.

Benefits of Being an All-Star

1. Cash Prize and Bonuses

Aside from the $100k for the winners and $25k for the losers, some NBA Teams also throw in bonuses for players who make the all-star team because having an all-star in the team increases their value.

2. Individual Recognition and Legacy

The best NBA players ever to play the game participated in the all-star games. It is one of the best individual recognition players can receive that can help cement their legacy.

Some great players may never win an NBA title. However, it is still a great consolation to be recognized as one of the top players of the NBA during their generation.

Players like Karl Malone and John Stockton of the 90s Jazz, Charles Barkley, and Steve Nash are some of the greatest NBA players. They never won a championship, but they still managed to salvage their legacy from all-star selections and other individual awards.

3. Increase Player Value

Being an all-star also increases a player’s value during free agency and salary renegotiation. All-stars are more likely to get massive salaries over good players but are not all-stars.

Controversies of the All-Star Game

1. All-Snub List

The seven decades of the all-star games have been riddled with controversies – the more common is the annual “all-snubbed” list which identifies the best players to be excluded from the all-star teams.

However, it is understandable because only 24 players will be selected among all deserving players.

2. The Zaza Rule

Another controversy is what came to be known as the “Zaza Rule.” Before 2017, all of the all-star starters were selected through fan votes. However, in 2017, Zaza Pachulia, a role player averaging six points per game for the Golden State Warriors, surprised everyone after he emerged as a top vote-getter.

So to avoid the potential all-star game embarrassment and to lose a spot of a more deserving player, the NBA decided to change the selection process for the starters. The league soon changed the vote weights to 50% from fans, 25% from the players, and 25% from the media.

NBA Players with the Most All-Star Appearances

PlayerNo. of All-Star Game AppearancesNumber of All-Star Game MVPs
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar19x
T-2. Kobe Bryant18x4x (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011)
T-2. LeBron James18x3x (2006, 2008, 2018)
T-4. Tim Duncan15x1x (2000)
T-4. Kevin Garnett15x1x (2003)
T-4. Shaquille O’Neal15x3x (2000, 2004, 2009)
T-7. Michael Jordan14x3x (1988, 1996, 1998)
T-7. Karl Malone14x2x (1989, 1993)
T-7. Dirk Nowitzki14x
T-7. Jerry West14x1x (1972)

Throughout the history of the NBA All-Star Games, Kareem Abdul-Jabar currently holds the most number of All-Star Game Appearances with 19 while playing with the Bucks, then the Lakers. However, despite having the most appearances, he never won any All-Star Game MVPs.

On the other hand, Kobe Bryant won the most number of All-Star Game MVPs with four. The MVP trophy has been renamed in honor of one of the Lakers’ greats after the unfateful event that took his life only weeks before the 2020 All-Star Game.

Shaquille O’Neal made the all-star game four times while playing in four different teams. He is also a three-time All-Star Game MVP while sharing the 2009 trophy with his old teammate, Kobe Bryant.


The All-Star Game is more than just an exhibition game. It is an opportunity to celebrate the greatness of basketball players and watch them compete against each other.

While the players can earn thousands of dollars during the game and contribute to their chosen charity, the league and the fan’s recognition are more than enough to push players to perform better and be selected as all-stars again.

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