Jose Colorado

Helping basketball players achieve their pro dreams.

Italy Basketball League Salaries: Lega Basket Serie A, A2, Serie B, Serie C - Gold/Silver, Serie D [Ultimate Guide, 2022]

Italian basketball league salaries will differ depending on whether overseas basketball players are playing in Lega Basket Serie A, Serie A2, Serie B, Serie C or Serie D.

How much do pro basketball players make in Italy?

Overseas basketball salaries in Italy can reach as high as $2.25 Million USD/per year if playing in the top league - Italy’s LegaBasket Serie A.

More realistically though salaries in the main professional leagues - Serie A2, Serie B and Serie C Gold - will hover around $2,500 - $5,000 USD/per month.

Lower divisions - such as Serie C Silver/D commonly make $500 - $1K USD/per month.

According to our overseas basketball salaries study that examined 100-plus pro leagues in the world, this would put Italy’s top league - Serie A - in the highest pay grade of overseas leagues.

The middle-tiers Serie A2 and Serie B would fit just slightly below in the mid-to-higher tiers.

Serie C (Gold & Silver) and Serie D would fit into the lower-tier.

With that being said:

Even those lower-levels are capable of paying much more than the average lower-tier league in Europe.

In other words:

Italy is a great market to get settled in for your overseas basketball career and earnings.

So how exactly is the money distributed?

Let’s break down each league fully.


The highest level in Italy’s professional basketball league system is Lega Basket Serie A.

In total there are 9 levels in Italy with some competitions being held nationwide and others restricted to specific regions.

This multi-tier structure is common in Europe - and that’s great news!

The system provides a serious opportunity for beginner/rookie players to begin their overseas careers in a lower league and then “level up” to a better division.

In fact:

I detailed how I did this exact same method while I was playing in Germany - a country with 11 divisions in total.

Here are the 9 divisions in Italy’s pro basketball system:

League Name


Lega Basket Serie A

1st Division

Serie A2

2nd Division

Serie B

3rd Division

Serie C (Gold)

4th Division

Serie C (Silver)

5th Division

Serie D

6th Division


7th Division

Prima Divisione

8th Division

Seconda Divisione

9th Division

Understand something however:

Just because there are 9 divisions in Italy.

That doesn’t mean each division will pay.

In fact, far from it.


The lower down the totem pole you go, the lower the salaries get.

For clarity sake:

Let’s categorize a league being professional vs. semi-professional vs. non-professional by the following definitions.

  • Professional divisions = Teams pay all of its players

  • Semi-professional divisions = Teams pay some of its players

  • Non-professional divisions = Teams rarely pay any of its players

With that in mind:

Here’s how Italian basketball insiders broke the “professionalization” of Italian basketball:

Professional Italian Basketball Leagues

Lega Basket Serie A

1st Division

Serie A2

2nd Division

Serie B

3rd Division

Serie C (Gold)

4th Division

Serie C (Silver)

5th Division

Semi-Professional Italian Basketball Leagues

Serie D

6th Division

Non-Professional Italian Basketball Leagues


7th Division

Prima Divisione

8th Division

Seconda Divisione

9th Division

As you can see depending on where you are, your situation will vary when it comes to basketball salaries in Italy.

Let’s take a look at the top level and see what type of player profile can expect to hit these numbers.

Italy lega basket serie a Basketball Salary


Player Salary Ranges

$120,000 - $2.25M USD/per year

Most Commonly Reported Salary

$150,000 - $350,000 USD/yr

Lowest Reported Salary

$120,000 USD/yr

MAX Salary

$2.25M USD/yr

Sources Referenced [Players, Media, Coaches, Agents]


Source :, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2022]

Italy’s Serie A basketball league - also known as LegaBasket (LBA) - pays the highest basketball salaries in Italian professional basketball. Typically, a foreigner can expect between $150,000 - $350,000 USD/per year.

But salaries can reach as high as $2.25 Million USD/per year depending on the club.

Widely considered as one of the top leagues in the world, the LBA has become a hub for NBA talent.

In total there are 17 teams with former NBAers scattered throughout the league.


These clubs (plural) have some serious cash to throw around to lure this type of talent.

Here are some of the most famous former NBA players who played in the LBA.

famous nba players in lega basket serie a (all-time)


Former Lega Basket Serie A club (Year)

Manu Ginobili

Virtus Bologna (2000 – 2002)

Austin Daye

Umana Reyer Venezia (2018 – Present)

Metta Sandiford-Artest (formely World Peace)

Pallacanestro Cantu (2015)

Brain Scalabrine

Pallacanestro Treviso (2011)

Brandon Jennings

Lottomatica Roma (2009)

Danilo Gallinari

Olimpia Milano (2011)

Andrea Bargnani

Benetton Treviso (2006)

Marco Belinelli

Virtus Bologna (2020 – Present)

Kobe Bryant Italy

In fact, the competition level is so respectable in Italy’s Lega Basket Serie A division that the Late Kobe Bryant was reported to be in serious negotiations to play in the league during the NBA’s 2011 lockout season.

The Lakers’ legend famously spent seven years of his childhood in Italy while his father, Joe “Jelly Bean”, played in Serie A.

The book below does a great job of illustrating the Mamba’s formative years in Italia.

I’d highly recommend it if you are curious about how it impacted Kobe’s trademark fundamental style.

Olimpia Milano basketball salaries


Olimpia Milano Basketball Salaries (2022)

Total Budget

$12.3 million USD/per year

Salary Budget (Players, coaches)

$33.7 million USD/per yr

Highest-paid player

Nicolo Melli ($2.25 million USD/per yr)

Italy Serie A Budget Ranking


EuroLeague Total Budget Ranking (Gross)


EuroLeague Player Budget Ranking


Olimpia Milano is by far the highest-paying Serie A basketball club with reports estimating its 2022 team budget (net) at €11 Million/per year ($12.3M USD).

Its total budget (gross) is roughly €30 Million/per year ($33.7M USD).

As a member of the EuroLeague - Europe’s top basketball competition - it should come as no surprise Milano is the top dog in Italian basketball.

As of 2022 the club has:

  • 3x EuroLeague Titles

  • 1 Intercontinental Cup

  • 28 Italian Championships

…and much more.

Milano has become very competitive in the past few years in the EuroLeague as well.


In 2021 the team reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1992. reports:

  • Milano has the fourth-highest total budget in the EuroLeague

  • Seventh highest players’/coaches' budget overall

How is this possible?


Italy has a lot of them.

But when cross-checking Milano’s proposed budget from with other media sources, the numbers seem reasonable.


In 2019 French magazine, Basket le Mag, pitted Milano’s overall budget at €25 million ($28M USD) with its players/coaches budget at €12 million ($13.5 M USD).

Is it possible the team remained steady or even gained money during the pandemic years?


Olimpia Milano players did agree to a salary cut in 2020 to help the club with expenses.

That likely helped the club financially bounce back the following year(s).


The club spent a reported €2 million ($2.25 USD) to get out from the contracts of EuroLeague stars Mike James and James Nunnally.

That’s freed up some space.

And with it, the club has attracted its prized-jewel.

He’s the highest paid player in Italian basketball currently.

None other than former New Orleans Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli.

Highest paid Italian basketball players

Currently the highest-paid player in Italian professional basketball is Nicolo Melli of Olimpia Milano at approximately €2 million ($2.25 million USD).

But the highest-paid Italian basketball player ever is Danilo Gallinari with $157.2 million USD in career earnings.

In fact:

When it comes to Italian basketball players salaries, Gallinari is in a class of his own.

Currently he is on a 3-yr/$61.43 million USD deal with the Atlanta Hawks.

That is set to expire in 2023.

So there could even be more money on the way.

The second-highest?

Former No.1 NBA draft pick Andrea Bargnani.

He made $73.15 million USD in his 10-year NBA career.

Of course, Italian Serie A salaries often pale in comparison to NBA salaries.


Melli made more via his 2-yr/$8 million USD in the NBA than he will with his current 3-yr/$6M - $7M/deal (roughly) contract with Olimpia Milano (2021 - 2024).

Nicolo Melli has one of the highest basketball salaries in Italian professional basketball.


The top-earning and - and most famous - Italian basketball players played in the NBA.

Here’s some of Italy’s highest-earning basketball players of all-time:

highest paid italian basketball players of all-time [chart]



Highest yearly salary ever (year)

NBA Career earnings

Danilo Gallinari

$22.6 Million USD (2020)

$157.20 Million USD

Andrea Bargnani

$12 Million USD (2015)

$73.15 Million USD

Marco Belinelli

$6.33 Million USD (2017)

$49.15 Million USD

Fabricio Oberto

$3.6 Million USD (2008)

$16.9 Million USD

Nicolo Melli

$4.1 Million USD (2020)

$8 Million USD

With that being said:

Plenty of Italians - outside of just Melli - are getting paid top dollar in overseas basketball by playing in Lega Basket Serie A currently.

Here are the top-earning players currently in LegaBasket Serie A.

Highest paid Basketball Players in Serie a legabasket [2022]



Team Name

Current salary (per/year)

Nicolo Melli

Olimpia Milano

$2.25 Million USD

Sergio Rodriguez

Olimpia Milano

$1.5 – 1.7 Million USD

Malcolm Delaney

Olimpia Milano

$1.5 – 1.7 Million USD

Nicco Mannion

Virtus Bologna

$350K – 500 USD

A little bit about the chart above:

According to multiple media sources, Sergio Rodriguez and Malcolm Delaney, Melli’s teammates at Milano, are estimated to make roughly $1.5 - $1.7 million USD/per year.

Just a hair behind Melli.

Former Golden State Warriors guard, Nicco Mannion, is another candidate likely pulling in a fair amount of cash.

The point guard made $449K in his rookie season with the Warriors in 2021.

He since has signed a multi-year deal with powerhouse Virtus Bologna with exit clauses to the NBA.

Nicco mannion virtus bologna salary

Considering his NBA salary, Virtus Bologna’s deep pockets and the average salary for high-level foreigners/Italians in Serie A LegaBasket, we can estimate Nicco Mannion’s salary to be in the range of $350,000 - $500,000 USD/per year.

Of course this is speculative but given the clues it seems quite reasonable.

Italy Serie A2 Basketball Salary


Player Salary Ranges

$2,200 - $12,500 USD/per month

Most Commonly Reported Salary

$4,500 – $5,500 USD/mth

Lowest Reported Salary

$2,200 USD/mth

MAX Salary

$12,500 USD/mth

Source :, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2022]

Overseas basketball players in Italy’s Serie A2 (2nd Division) can generally expect to make $4,500 - $5,500 USD/per month with the top players earning $12K - $13K USD/per month.

Lower-end salaries are roughly $2,200 USD/per month.

As I’ve detailed in great length before, the European basketball season usually runs for 8-9 months long.

Let’s say in this case it runs for the average 8-9 months.

So with that mind:

  • A lower-end Serie A2 player would make $17,600 - $19,800 USD/per year

  • An average Serie A2 player would make $36,000 - $49,500 USD/per year

  • A high-level or MAX Serie A2 player would make $96,000 - $117,000 USD/per year

I know.

That’s a decent drop-off from the regular six-figure and million-dollar salaries found in Serie A.

But at the end of the day - that is still a nice chunk of change.

In fact:

Even with that huge drop-off, those salary ranges still put Serie A2 in the higher-tier pay grade of overseas basketball salaries.

For reference sake:

Consider the outrageous drop-off in Spanish basketball salaries I’ve detailed before.

Players in Spain go from six-figure and million-dollar contracts in its top division (ACB) to players being lucky to crack $5K/per month in its second division (LEB ORO).

Italy is great in this way.

Salaries remain decently competitive throughout multiple divisions.

It’s gets even better in Serie A2 when you consider these teams will almost certainly be covering all of your accommodations.

Italy Serie B Basketball Salary [chart]


Player Salary Ranges

$550 - $3,900 USD/per month

Most Commonly Reported Salary

$1,300 – $2,200 USD/mth

Lowest Reported Salary

$550 USD/mth

MAX Salary

$3,900 USD/mth

Source :, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2022]

How much do Italian Basketball players make?

When considering purely Italian professional basketball players, Italy Serie B is a great indicator as the league is made up entirely of Italians.

The average salary range here is $1,300 - $2,200 USD/per month with the best Italians hitting roughly $3,900 USD/per month.

Lower-end salaries will go for approx. $550 - $650 USD/per month.

But read that again:

The caveat here is that Serie B is devoted completely to Italian-born and raised players!

In other words:

  • No foreigners

  • No Italian - Americans

  • No naturalized Italians who gained their Italian citizenship later on in life

That is:

Unless you have spent four years in the Italian youth leagues previously.

In theory then:

If Kobe Bryant received his Italian citizenship then he would have been able to play in Serie B despite being born in the US.

That’s because he would have fulfilled the required time in the Italian youth system.

How cool is that?

Without that, even dual-citizenship Italians who have their Italian passport are barred from playing in this league.

This creates an interesting dilemma for many players.

If foreigners and naturalized Italians are to make the leap from Serie C Gold, then it has to be to Serie A2 since they are not allowed to play in Serie B.

That is quite a jump.

Serie A2 is considerably more competitive than Serie C Gold.

The other option:

If you are unable to crack into Serie A2, then just stay in Serie C Gold and increase your yearly salary bit by bit.

It’s a bit of a tricky situation for players to navigate.

And it’s one that had a lot of Italian-American hoopers feeling a bit frustrated when speaking with them.

But it is the reality of Italian basketball.

Luckily, there are more than a few regions in Serie C who pay fairly well.

So let’s take a look at where players can cash out in Serie C next.

Italy Serie c Basketball Salary

According to insiders, overseas basketball players in Italy’s Serie C pro league can expect to make between $450 - $2,500 USD per/month.

But how much a player makes will depend on whether they are playing in Serie C Gold (1st Division) or Serie C Silver (2nd division).

Let’s take a look at salaries in Serie C Gold first.

Italy Serie c gold Basketball Salary


Player Salary Ranges

$650 - $2,500 USD/per month

Most Commonly Reported Salary

$1,000 - $1,500 USD/mth

Lowest Reported Salary

$650 USD/mth

MAX Salary

$2,500 USD/mth

Sources Referenced [Players, Media, Coaches, Agents]


Source :, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2022]

Overseas basketball players playing in Serie C Gold will usually make $1,000 - $1,500 USD/per month.

But players on pro clubs in the North of Italy & the mainland can earn as much as $2,500 USD/per month.

Lower-end salaries are roughly $650 - $700 USD/per month.

best-paying regions in italy serie c gold pro basketball

Serie C is split into a bunch of different regional competitions.

That means where you are situated can have a huge impact on how much you can earn.

Some regions pay better than others.

Here’s what players and agents have told me are the best-paying regions in Serie C basketball.


Highest-Paying Region in Serie C Pro Basketball

North Region

Mainland Region

Apuila Region

Lombardy Region

Another important detail in Serie C Gold:

Remember how Serie B is exclusively reserved for Italians?

Well, in Serie C the league rules are:

  • Two imports/foreigners per squad

  • Italian-Americans count as foreigners

    • Unless player has spent four years in youth system

Italian-Americans often will still have an advantage over “normal” foreigners though.

Obtaining a VISA and staying as an Italian - in Italy - is easier.

Here’s the foreigner limit for every Italian pro league.


League Name

Foreigner limit

Lega Basket Serie A


Serie A2


Serie B


Serie C (Gold)


Serie C (Silver)


Serie D




Prima Divisione


Seconda Divisione


This just strengthens the argument I’ve been making for years now:

Your passport may be the single most important asset in your overseas basketball career - other than your game.

The Bosman A passport just brings so many opportunities - players must explore it if eligible!

Italy Serie C Gold players can earn a respectable overseas basketball salary.

Another side detail for Serie C:

Similar to Spain, foreigners are not allowed to play on tourist or travel visas however.

That means Serie C Gold clubs must be able to secure a VISA until the end of the season.

VISA = money.

So some clubs will simply rather spend that on a high-level Bosman A player instead.


A foreigner needs:

  • Housing

  • Flights (Round-trip)

  • Food

  • Transportation

  • Supervision (at times)

  • VISA

All this costs money!

So if you want to play as a foreigner at the Serie C level then you better be worth the investment to them.

In other words:

You better be significantly better - or bring something completely different (e.g. height) - than the rest of the team.

This rings especially true at this level where money is scarcer than Italy’s higher divisions.

Italy Serie c silver Basketball Salary


Player Salary Ranges

$500 - $1,300 USD/per month

Most Commonly Reported Salary

$800 USD/mth

Lowest Reported Salary

$500 USD/mth

MAX Salary

$1,300 USD/mth

Sources Referenced [Players, Media, Coaches, Agents]


Source :, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2022]

Italy Serie C overseas basketball salaries are slightly less than Serie C Gold with $500 - $1,300 USD/per month being the approximate range.

The average foreigner in this league will make roughly $800 USD/per month.

Italy Serie d Basketball Salary

Overseas basketball players in Serie D can still expect to make some money, usually that will range between $335 - $800 USD/per month.

Below Serie D there is:

  • Promozione (7th Division)

  • Prima Divisione (8th Division)

  • Segunda Divisione (9th Division - only in some regions)

But at these levels it will become increasingly rare for players to be making wages.

Or worst yet:

There will be much fewer teams willing to take on the expenses of players, meaning:

  • Housing

  • Flight

  • Food

  • VISA


But remember:

Just like in any European system there will always be teams looking to advance to the next tier.

That means clubs will occasionally shell out the cash and look for a foreigner to move up.

That happened to me in Germany when a lower-level team was paying me on par with clubs in 2-3 divisions higher.

Better yet:

If you are willing to invest in yourself and:

  • Fly yourself over

  • Settle into a job

  • Arrange your own housing

  • Arrange your own VISA

Then teams will be much more receptive to giving you an overseas basketball tryout.


You will always be at a distinct and massive advantage if teams can actually see you in person.

10/10 times that will trump sending clubs random messages online.

There will be no guesswork for coaches anymore.

Pro coaches and clubs can see with their own eyes whether you can play at that level or not.

But always be sure you have the financial means to secure such a decision before committing to it.

Never do anything on a whim and always research it through.


So there you have it.

One of the best basketball markets in Europe and in all of overseas basketball - Italy!

With 9 professional divisions including heavy-hitters such as Serie A LegaBasket and Serie A2, there is elite talent that regularly comes through the country.

But with lower divisions such as Serie C (Gold/Silver) and Serie D, beginner overseas basketball players can also get started in Italian basketball.

Better yet:

They can earn basketball wages that are respectful if knowing where to look.

In short:

There is plenty of opportunities in Italian pro basketball making it one of the most attractive overseas basketball markets on the planet.

Do you know anyone who has played in professional basketball in Italy?
Comment below on what their experience was like!

Jose Colorado is a 6-year professional basketball player helping others achieve their dreams of pro basketball with a proven and tested approach to overseas basketball.


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