Overseas Basketball Salaries: Vietnam Basketball Salaries [Chart Breakdown]
VIETNAM BASKETBALL SALARIES SUMMARY:
Monthly Salary Ranges:
Below $500USD - $2,500USD
Most Commonly Reported Monthly Salary (Imports):
Most Commonly Reported Monthly Salary (Vietnamese-foreigners)
Most Commonly Reported Monthly Salary (Nationals)
Lowest Reported Monthly Salary:
Highest Reported Monthly Salary:
Sources Referenced in Vietnam [Players, Coaches, Media]:
Source : Josecolorado.com, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data 
In Vietnam’s professional basketball league - the VBA - every foreign-born overseas player makes $1,500USD per month due to a league-wide agreement amongst team owners.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese-foreigners are the highest earners as they can MAX out at $2,500USD per month. Local Vietnamese average $520USD per month.
VIETNAM BASKETBALL LEAGUE SALARIES: VIETNAM BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (VBA)
When you think of Vietnam basketball, think of one club:
The Saigon Heat.
In the 5-year history of the Vietnam Basketball Association - the country’s domestic professional basketball league - the Saigon Heat have won 2 titles (2019 -2020) and are routinely considered amongst the favorites each season.
Not only this:
But the Heat are the only club to represent Vietnam in the prestigious ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) - a regional tournament/league that has the best clubs in all of South East Asia compete against one another for a championship.
It’s considered one of the highest levels of basketball in Asia and routinely attracts former NBA players.
In other words:
You need big money if you are going to compete in it (more on this later).
But that doesn’t necessarily mean a big pay cheque even if you are playing with the Heat.
Here’s the deal:
In 2011, the Heat competed in its first ABL season.
But the VBA didn’t actually come into existence until 2016.
That means due to the positive response received from the Heat’s ABL participation, there was strong momentum within Vietnam to start its own domestic professional league.
But with the Heat already having a clear advantage in:
Player + coach connections
….Team owners knew there had to be a way to regulate the league to give more parity and fan interest.
Enter the VBA salary cap.
When it comes to foreigners or import players:
Every team in the VBA is only allowed to pay its import players $1,500USD per month. The lone exception is for the two finalist teams. If you reach the finals you are given a half-a-month bonus ($750USD). If you win the championship you are given $3,000USD for the entire last month played.
That means regardless of which of the seven teams you’re on…
HOCHIMINH CITY WINGS
NHA TRANG DOLPHINS
THANG LONG WARRIORS
…you will still only get $1,500USD per month in the regular season.
That can come as a good and bad thing depending on your situation.
There is an interesting wrinkle when discussing Vietnamese-foreigners (also known as heritage players).
Essentially, Vietnamese-foreigners are players who are born outside Vietnam but still have Vietnamese-descent/bloodline (e.g. parents were born in Vietnam but the player was born in the U.S.).
Because the VBA deemed Vietnamese-foreigners to be of particular importance to the growth and success of Vietnamese professional basketball, these players are able to earn up to a maximum of $2,500USD per month during the VBA season.
The most famous Vietnamese-foreigner currently playing in the VBA would have to be former Harvard Crimson guard, Christian Juzang of the Saigon Heat. He is the older brother of UCLA guard and NBA-bound, Johnny Juzang.
The third type of player then are local Vietnamese - those born and raised in Vietnam.
In regard to their salaries:
In 2018 it was revealed in the season-opener league press conference that the average Vietnamese professional basketball player makes VND 12million per month - approximately $520USD per month.
Most of the statistical league leaders are foreigners - whether that be complete foreigners or Vietnamese-foreigners.
Just check out below for how much they dominate the leaderboard (highlighted in yellow).
Kids and fans can relate to them much more.
Same size, stature, appearance etc.
For the reason, Vietnamese-foreigners are actually paid more than complete foreigners in the VBA according to my sources.
Average VBA monthly pay grade based on roster position
AVERAGE SALARY PER YEAR PLAYING PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL IN VIETNAM
If you’re only considering the VBA then the average salary per year for a foreigner playing in just the VBA would be $4,500USD per year.
But if you are considering the VBA and the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) competitions together, then a foreign-player could make upwards of 65k per year playing with a Vietnamese professional basketball club.
Math breakdown for the BEST CASE SCENARIO:
Most commonly reported VBA monthly salary ($1,500USD)
Multiply $1,500USDx3 (for the number of months played per year)
Max monthly salary offered for ABL (10kUSD/month)
Multiply 10kx6 (for number of months played per year in ABL)
60k + $4,500USD = $64,4500USD (+ bonuses)
As outlined in my global overseas basketball schedule post that broke down nearly every notable overseas league in the basketball world, the VBA usually runs in the summer time for about 3 months from June - August/early September.
It is is one of the shortest seasons in Southeast Asia so that is something all players must be very aware of.
You can’t make a living by just playing professional basketball in the VBA. The real money and opportunity comes by playing in the VBA as a way to get your chance in the ABL with a VBA team.
Of course, this isn’t entirely up to you.
Teams often switch its domestic and foreign-born players to stack up for the ABL competition.
The Saigon Heat - again, Vietnam’s lone representative in the ABL - is no different.
So while yes - there are more foreigner slots open for the competition it is much more competitive to get on these clubs and cash out.
As for Vietnamese-foreigners:
Your chances of staying on year-round in Vietnam are much higher due to your increased value as a national player as I’ve explained many times previously.
Insiders tell me it is not uncommon for Vietnamese-foreigners to get paid $2,500USD per month during competition time (VBA/ABL) and then receive $1,000USD per month during the off-season to supplement.
VIETNAM’S BASKETBALL SALARY RANKING IN ASIA
The season is short.
The MAX salary is low.
And the league is still relatively unproven.
Yet the VBA is quickly becoming an emerging league in Southeast Asia.
With its strong connections established within the ABL, many players should be looking at the VBA as a great opportunity despite it paying one of the lowest wages in Southeast Asia.
With the 2020 ABL cancelled due to the global pandemic, the Saigon Heat are allegedly already in talks to host the 2021 championship that would kick off in Vietnam in March.
Not only this:
But the VBA decided there was enough support/interest to finance an impressive bubble format to salvage the 2020 season.
With new expansion teams being added regularly such as the Nha Trang Dolphins in 2020, it’s clear the VBA and Vietnam is on the rise and is a great option for many players out there in overseas basketball at the moment.
Vietnam Basketball Salaries Recap:
Vietnamese-foreigners are the highest paid players ($2,500USD/mth) in the VBA
Every foreigner in Vietnam pro basketball (VBA) is paid $1,500USD/month
The VBA has a salary cap limiting player wages
The Saigon Heat are by far the best-paying pro club in Vietnam basketball
VBA teams (i.e. Saigon Heat) are capable of paying much higher wages when in the ABL
Vietnam is one of the lowest-paying countries in Southeast Asia professional basketball
Vietnam wages and fan interest appear to be increasing quickly
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