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Perks of the Per Diem

Per diems are one of the perks of being an NBA player.
Per Diem = Free Money

It pays to be an NBA player. On top of making millions of dollars, apparently they get an allowence too!

Per Diem - What It Is

Part of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, each NBA player receives $106 US for every day they are on the road. It serves as their meal money - roughly $19 for breakfast, $30 for lunch and $57 for dinner. Not a bad deal, considering $106 can easily feed a family of five for a week! The $106 a day is a nice raise from the original per diem. In 1957 the NBA's per diem was $7 a day.

Per Diem - How It's Distributed

At the beginning of a road trip, each player is given an envelope of per diem money. For example if the team is on a five-day-road-trip, each player's envelope is filled with $530 US! The average salary for an NBA player is $5.5 million a year, so it's not like the players need the extra money. But everything in the NBA is first class. The players stay is five star hotels and fly in private jets. All of which is also on the NBA's dime!

Per Diem - Cheapskates

All players spend their per diem differently. Some spend all their money on food, while others (particularly the younger players) opt to be penny pinchers with their food money. Here are some examples.

  • Nate Robinson - The New York Knicks' guard has learned a few tricks on how not to spend his per diem. He hangs out in some of his richer teammates' rooms and when they order room service, he adds his own order on their bill!
  • Jamal Sampson - This center for the Denver Nuggets tries to find Subways or cheap sandwich shops so he can pocket the rest.
  • Kyle Korver - This Ashton Kutcher look-a-like for the Philadelphia 76ers used to live off his per diem and not spend his NBA paychecks.

Per Diem - How Others Spend it

  • Antonio Davis - This former NBA big man was making around $9 million a year in his last years in the NBA. In that time, he would give his per diem money to employees of the team like trainers, or security guards as a token of appreciation.
  • Marcus Camby - This Denver Nuggets center gives some of his per diem to younger, less-payed players on his team. Although that is a nice gesture, it's not like those young players are starving. Minimum wage in the NBA is over $400,000 a year!

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What Would You Do With $106?

  • Buy Shoes.
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