The 20 Highest Paid Athletes Of All Time

Michael Jordan, Michael Schumacher, Cristiano Ronaldo and other professionals who earn millions as a result of their skill and tireless work.

Michael Jordan

Income earned during his career: $ 1.7 billion

The NBA’s top player earned $ 93 million in salary over 15 seasons playing for the Bulls and Wizards, but now earns more than $ 100 million annually from Nike alone ( NYSE : Nike [NKE] ). Jordan’s brand generated $ 2.8 billion in revenue for Nike in its most recent fiscal year.

Tiger Woods

Income earned during his career: $ 1.65 billion

Woods returned to the course this month after a 15-month recovery from back surgery and remains the biggest draw in the sport. His annual income is more than 50% from his peak, but the 14 “Majors” winner managed to earn $ 45 million off the field in the last year.

Arnold palmer

Income earned during his career: $ 1.35 billion

Palmer passed away in September due to heart complications. In his later years, he still made 40 million annually thanks to his army of fans, partners and 500 stores in Asia, which sold footwear and branded clothing.

Jack nicklaus

Income earned during his career: $ 1.15 billion

Nicklaus’ golf course development company has designed more than 400 courses in 41 countries and 39 states. Jack is directly responsible for 298 of those fields. The firm currently has 57 ongoing projects in 19 countries.

Michael Schumacher

Income earned during his career: $ 1 billion

The seven-time Formula 1 champion is one of only six athletes to make the Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for the past quarter-century, finishing at the top in 1999 and 2000. A few years later, annual earnings of Schumacher reached 80 million dollars in the middle of its cooperation with Ferrari.

Kobe bryant

Income earned during his career: $ 770 million

Last year, Bryant ended his career as the highest paid athlete in team sports history. His salary with the Los Angeles Lakers was higher than any other player in the NBA during the last six seasons of his career.

Floyd mayweather

Income earned during his career: $ 765 million

The boxer nicknamed “Money” (Money) has participated in the three most important episodes from a financial point of view in the history of the sport (bouts with Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo Álvarez and Manny Pacquiao). Mayweather’s fight with Pacquiao generated $ 600 million in revenue and earned the undefeated Mayweather $ 240 million.

Phil Mickelson

Income earned during his career: $ 760 million

Mickelson has been the second most profitable golfer annually for the last decade or more, before finally managing to beat Tiger Woods in the last year. The golfer is very loved by fans; however, its achievements are also highly valued by partners such as Callaway (NYSE: ELY), Barclays ( LSE : Barclays [BARC] ), KPMG and Rolex. The avid pilot owns a $ 60 million Gulfstream V.

David beckham

Income earned during his career: $ 730 million

Beckham’s biggest years of earnings have come after he retired. He made $ 75 million in his first full year off the field (2014). It partnered with Diageo (LON: DGE) to launch a new single grain Scotch whiskey, Haig Club, and entered into an agreement with Global Brands Group to create Beckham branded consumer products to sell globally.

Shaquille O’Neal

Income earned during his career: $ 700 million

Only Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant earned more on the court than Shaq’s $ 292 million (not adjusted for inflation) during their 19-year careers. O’Neal sold a stake in Shaq’s business last year to Authentic Brands Group. ABG obtained the rights to approximately half of O’Neal’s future income from the income of future associations, in exchange for a one-time payment.

Mike tyson

Income earned during his career: $ 685 million

Tyson made $ 400 million in the ring (excluding inflation) during his career, but filed for bankruptcy in 2003 thanks to years of reckless spending. Since then, he has only fought twice more afterward, with losses to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride.

Greg norman

Income earned during his career: $ 680 million

Greg Norman’s business interests have touched many areas: wine, real estate, lawn, optics, credit debt, clothing, restaurants, and much more. Last year, his golf course design company signed its 100th contract.

Lebron James

Income earned during his career: $ 640 million

James’ income is on track to $ 1 billion with a new contract with the Cavaliers, which pays more than $ 30 million annually and a lifetime deal with Nike (the company’s first official permanent contract). that over time could pay out more than $ 1 billion.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Income earned during his career: $ 620 million

The three-time FIFA “Player of the Year” is most likely to receive a fourth title next month. Ronaldo was the highest paid athlete this year, with income of $ 88 million in the fiscal year ending in June. Next year it should hit $ 100 million, taking into account a new contract with Real Madrid and his own lifetime contract with Nike.

Roger Federer

Income earned during his career: $ 600 million

The 17-time Grand Slam winner has won $ 99 million in prizes (not adjusted for inflation) since turning pro in 1998. He has accumulated more than four times that off the court, thanks to advertising and partnership contracts. Federer has long worked with brands like Nike, Wilson, Credit Suisse, Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, and more.

Alex Rodriguez

Income earned during his career: $ 600 million

Last August, he said goodbye to the New York Yankees team. If this is the end for Rodriguez, he will end his career with 696 home runs, fourth in history. Additionally, Rodriguez has signed two of three contracts in baseball history worth more than $ 250 million.

Lionel messi

Income earned during his career: $ 520 million

The best soccer player of his generation has signed eight contracts with Barcelona, ??each one more expensive than the last, since he arrived at the Camp Nou in 2004. His current contract is packed with bonuses for feats like winning the Ballon d’Or. He has won the Player of the Year award five times.

Jeff Gordon

Income earned during his career: $ 515 million

During his career, Gordon has won 93 races, becoming the best in the modern era and third of all time. He retired last year but returned to the track in 2016 to replace an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. in eight races during the second half of the Nascar season. He spent the first half of the season in the broadcast booth as a Fox analyst. Gordon also owns a stake in Jimmie Johnson’s 48th car.

Oscar de la hoya

Income earned during his career: $ 510 million

De La Hoya’s bout with Floyd Mayweather in 2007 was the biggest pay-per-pass encounter in history with 2.5 million purchases, until Mayweather faced Manny Pacquiao. De La Hoya earned a record $ 52 million as the promoter of the match through his company Golden Boy Promotions, which he founded in 2002.

Manny pacquiao

Income earned during his career: $ 490 million

Pacquiao’s 23 fights have generated 18.6 million buys and $ 1.2 billion, including his fight with Floyd Mayweather in 2015. His last fight with Jesse Vargas last month garnered the fewest ratings since he became a superstar after his victory against Oscar de la Hoya in 2008.


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Hey, Mark Ladd here. I am a sports fanatic and have a passion for this. Particularly running is what I love best. However, around 5 years ago I had an accident that changed my life. I can no longer pursue those sporting activities, so I moved my focus on a different approach where I blog about the sports and other areas of life which I have grown to appreciate more since my accident.

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