NBA, Inc.: Big Business of Basketball

Inside the lucrative world of sneakers, cell phone deals and big money for players.
3:00 | 06/18/13

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Transcript for NBA, Inc.: Big Business of Basketball
-- been an astounding. NBA championship season and we've been dazzled by the near super human athletic talents of our favorite basketball stars. But dunks alone don't keep the arena lights on the nuts and bolts of the NBA payroll of a lot more to do with this owners we drink of the sneakers when where. Then jump shot the next ABC's -- rebel takes us inside. NB AA. We idolize them on the court. Basketball gods. -- bronze of these -- -- Kevin who wins. Green. Colby Bryant suites wish today more than ever these players are brands. Raking in millions of dollars. More than fifty in BA players made at least ten million dollars this past season. In salaries alone. I think this is the first time in -- -- history that -- had this this big of a number of players that. You know are very marketable and are you know performing at such a high level. More and more fans are turning it on television. With average viewership over the last decade. Up 37%. For the regular season. More than the NFL NASCAR. And Major League Baseball but the business of basketball goes way beyond the hard court for the coveted few. The real money is made off the court. The top players make the most money out of their endorsement portfolio from shoe sales -- the basketball shoe business is exploding once again. LeBron Colby in Kevin Durant. All make between 101000000 and twenty million dollars a year. From ninety. 6% of the basketball through market -- -- hundred dollars. It's not just use this Turkish Airlines commercial starring Tobey. Which soccer great Lionel Messi went viral in less time than -- -- style. More than a hundred million views on YouTube. In endorsements make Colby some serious cash an additional 34 million dollars this year. Roughly six million dollars more than what he made on the court. What is a brand like Turkish Airlines go after -- because. You know for them you know the most marketable athletes you know our basketball players and the NBA is obviously now -- global game and when you're a company from overseas and you're trying to tap into that market I mean you're gonna go to. You know the top guys I -- -- -- entire time you win an off. The court king James is selling cell phones. -- Below Broderick boulevard. Out through some. LeBron made the most money in endorsements of any NBA player this year. A cool 42 million dollars according to four. -- -- -- -- -- Always just about -- -- -- Kevin your -- Want to get sprint a deal that helped him earn nearly fourteen billion dollars off the court this season units. Basketball stars have become the new curators of cool stepping up their fashion game. Gone -- the custom tailored suits in their place fashion -- he risks. Kobe Bryant in a pregame fur LeBron in glasses just for show. -- weight eating -- free. It's I mean -- fully embrace that you know especially the superstars. Since -- these guys are now brands in and of themselves. To tell a story on the court with their performance and -- an equally as important to you know. Maintain that personality off the court. Everyone has -- in -- the trendy tennis sports writers are frequently laughed about -- choices of fabric. And yes I'm talking all -- out there. So the fashion world understands and will move. -- -- -- -- Well their styling they're also trending on Twitter. LeBron has once again shut down his speed for the playoffs to the chagrin of his more than eight point six million followers. Sources tell -- that he's been offered as much as 80000 dollars for a single tweet from a company. This. We're told he turned it down. But -- super stardom isn't just about how well play the game. What determines stardom for an NBA player is how he's able to leverage his on the court playing with his off the court persona. Most players that are passionate and able to differentiate themselves from other players tend to grow. Large global brands. You need to show up in the biggest moments and it looks like this guy. Jeanie Greene came out of nowhere in this year's finals. Was cut by the spurs green came back to the team shocked the world with his performance. Sitting NBA finals record from behind the arc. Perhaps the run doesn't make you -- national name but at least puts him in the game as far as local advertisements go. Just being a great player in the MBA is no longer enough. You don't find the corporation's coming after players UC players aggressively soliciting. And going after the corporate. Alliances and partnerships that they think best smear their brand personas so it's more important. And this date and current day in age for players to -- debate themselves with great teens and then start to. Seek the brand partnerships that they believe. Near their brand equity. It seems like each generation of basketball stars is becoming better at branding themselves which marketers say. Isn't surprising. The business of being your own -- then. Be marketable starts in eighth grade sometime sooner with each generation that goes by I think that it gets more aggressive where. Kids who are talented on the radar and and are building their brands and trying to make themselves marketable. They're doing a pretty good job. For Nightline I'm Daryn rebel in New York City.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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