Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki retired after the 2018-19 season, leaving the field as the most prolific player in franchise history. In addition to a 2007 MVP and 2011 Final MVP, Nowitzki has played 14 games with the stars, 12 NBA teams and is sixth on the NBA scorecard.
He is also sixth on the NBA’s all-time salary gain list, earning $ 251,646,362 for his career, an average of about $ 12 million a year. However, playing in Texas (which has no state income tax) throughout his career, he is actually one of the top five after accounting for taxes.
Some fans may forget that Nowitzki was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks but was traded to Dallas the night of the draft. If he had stayed in Wisconsin his entire career, he would have paid an average of $ 913,200 a year in state income tax, or nearly $ 19.2 million during his career.
If Nowitzki had instead played in California for much of his career – like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Paul and perhaps LeBron James, who are all ahead of him on the win list – he would have lost even more more in taxes. In California, the highest income bracket pays 13.3% of their income to the state. This means that Nowitzki would have paid nearly $ 1.6 million in state income tax each year.
Essentially, Dirk has saved $ 33 million throughout his career by playing in a state with no income tax. It’s almost three full seasons! And this total does not even take into account the approval agreements signed by Nowitzki.
Towards the end of his career, Nowitzki offered to take pay cuts to stay in Dallas and give owner Mark Cuban the flexibility to sign additional documents. This never resulted in another title – in fact, the Mavericks have failed to get out of the first round since winning the championship in 2011. However, Nowitzki probably agreed to take less money, knowing that he would catch it up without tax on state income.
With how much money the average NBA player makes, the taxes are substantial. By playing for a team without income tax, Nowitzki was able to keep much more of his hard earned money.