The highest-paid athletes of all time have played many sports, with basketball, golf, boxing, and football being the most earning sports. According to Forbes, sitting atop the list is none other than the six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan with a net worth of $1.85 billion. Below Jordan is a trio of American gold legends; Arnold Palmer ($1.4 billion), Jack Nicklaus ($1.2 billion), and Tiger Woods ($1.7 billion). Have you wondered just how much all your favorite athletes are worth and who is the richest of them all? Furthermore, we have compiled a list of the twenty richest athletes globally, with the net worth estimates.
20. Phil Mickelson ($400 million)
Phil Mickelson, popularly known as Lefty, is an American professional golfer. He has won 45 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships, two PGA Championships, and three Master titles. Mickelson was one of the main rivals of Tiger Woods during the 1990s. The fifty-two-year-old has been able to achieve a net worth of $400 million during his career through several endorsement deals with Barclays and Workday. Finally, after winning the 2021 PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson became the oldest major championship winner in PGA history.
19. Evander Holyfield ($475 million)
Evander Holyfield is an American retired professional boxer who competed between 1984 and 2011. In the late 1980s, he reigned as the undisputed boxing champion at cruiserweight. Evander's highest salary is $34 million for his fight against Mike Tyson. However, the match ended abruptly when Mike was disqualified for biting off a chunk of Evander's ear. Nicknamed "The Real Deal," Holyfield is the only boxer to win the undisputed championship in two weight classes and is the only four-time world heavyweight champion.
18. Kevin Garnett ($480 million)
According to Wikipedia, Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American former professional basketball player who played for 21 seasons in the NBA. He was popularly known as "Big Ticket" for his emphatic athleticism and dunking. Garnett is considered one of the greatest basketball forwards in the National Basketball Association. However, Kevin earned his net worth of $480 million during his twenty-two-year professional career playing with the Celtics, Timberwolves, and the Nets.
17. Derek Jeter ($490 million)
Derek Sanderson Jeter is an American former Professional baseball player and baseball executive. He spent twenty years playing for the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball (MLB). Jeter is a five-time Gold Glove Award winner between 2004 and 2006, 2009, and 2010. Furthermore, in 2022, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 99% of the post. He was also made the part owner of the Miami Marlins in the MLB.
16. Manny Pacquiao ($510 million)
Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, best known as Manny Pacquiao, is a former professional boxer and a Filipino politician. Pacquiao is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, being the only eight-division world champion and winning twelve major world titles. He earned his biggest career earnings in his 2015 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, where he pocketed about $125 million. In 2010, Pacquiao entered politics and was elected as the representative of Sarangani. Pacquiao previously served as a Senator of the Philippines from 2016 to 2022.
15. Jeff Gordon ($525 million)
Jeff Michael Gordon is an American former professional stock car racing driver and the Vice Chairman for Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon set the modern-day record, winning 93 races during his NASCAR career. He was involved in stock car racing from 1993 to 2015, driving the No.24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series. Jeff Gordon is regarded as one of NASCAR's most influential stock car drivers.
14. Oscar De La Hoya ($520 million)
Oscar De La Hoya is an American former professional boxer who played the sport from 1992 to 2008. De La Hoya was nicknamed "The Golden Boy of boxing" by the media after representing the state at the 1992 Summer Olympics. He earned his biggest earnings in 2007 when fighting with Floyd Mayweather, pocketing $52 million. Oscar De La Hoya is the 29th best American boxer of all time. In 2002, Oscar founded Golden Boy Promotions, a compact sports promotional company. This made him the first American Mexican to own a national boxing promotional enterprise.
13. Alex Rodriguez ($575 million)
Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez, famously known as “A-Rod,” is an American former professional baseball shortstop and third baseman. He played twenty-two seasons in Major League Baseball for the Seattle Mariners from 1994-2000, Texas Rangers from 2001-2003, and New York Yankees from 2004-2016. However, Rodriquez is a 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, 2009 World Series Champion, 2-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a 1996 MLB Battling Champion. Since his retirement, he has been working as a host for a CNBC reality show and a Fox Sports analyst. According to Wealthy Gorilla, Alex Rodriquez is believed to be in a relationship with the American celebrity Jennifer Lopez.
12. Lionel Messi ($600 million)
Lionel Andres Messi, also known as Leo Messi, is an Argentine professional footballer currently playing for Paris Saint-Germain, a Ligue 1 club. Messi is often considered the best football player in the world and one of the greatest. He won seven Ballon d'Or awards, five FIFA player of the year awards, and six European Golden Shoes. Lionel Messi had played for Barcelona since the age of 13. He grew into a professional footballer and won ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League, and seven Copa del Rey titles. Messi has increased his net worth through several top-tier endorsement deals, such as with Adidas. However, the Argentine also holds the national record for appearances and is the country's all-time top goal scorer.
11. Roger Federer ($675 million)
Roger Federer is a Swiss tennis player ranked No.1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Federer has won 103 ATP singles titles, placing him second after the legendary tennis player Jimmy Connors. He also has an 8-time Men's Singles Wimbledon title winner, 20-time Grand Slam title winner, and 13-time Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award winner. Besides his successful tennis career, Roger is an active philanthropist and has played a vital role in creating the Laver Cup team competition. Furthermore, he is also the founder of the Roger Federer Foundation, which aims to help impoverished children in Southern Africa.
10. Mike Tyson ($700 million)
Michael Gerard Tyson, famously known as "Iron Mike," "The Baddest Man on the Planet," and "Kid Dynamite," is an American former professional boxer who was involved in the sport from 1985 to 2005. Mike Tyson is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers worldwide. From 1987 to 1990, he reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion, winning his first nineteen professional matches by knockout. He holds the world record of the youngest boxer ever to win a heavyweight title and the first heavyweight boxer to win the WBC, IBF, and WBA titles simultaneously. Finally, at 51, Mike Tyson reinvented himself as an actor and formed business partnerships around motorbikes, fitness centers, and gaming.
9. Greg Norman ($705 million)
Gregory John Norman, nicknamed "The Great White Shark," is an Australian former professional golfer who ranked No.1 in the 1980s and 1990s. He has won 20 PGA Tour tournaments and 89 professional tournaments during his professional golfing career. Furthermore, Norman has received several awards, including; the 1995 PGA Tour Player of the Year, the 2008 Old Tom Morris Award, and the 2008 Charlie Bartlett Award. According to Celebrity Networth, Greg Norman is the current CEO and chairman of the Greg Norman Company, a global enterprise that deals with real estate, interior design, apparel, and wine production.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo ($725 million)
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer who currently plays as a forward for Premier League club Manchester United and is the captain of the Portugal National team. The 37-year-old is steadily rising on the charts as the highest-paid athlete worldwide, earning $93 million in the past two years. Ronaldo is considered one of the greatest players, winning five Ballon d'Or awards, four European Golden Shoes, and five UEFA Champions Leagues. The Portuguese international holds the most appearances, goals, and assists in the Champions League. However, Ronaldo has increased his net worth through several endorsements deals with; Nike, Saccor Brothers Suits, Tag Heuer, and Monster headphones.
7. LeBron James ($730 million)
LeBron Raymone James, nicknamed "King James," is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. He is considered one of the greatest basketball players and is often compared to Michael Jordan. James has won four NBA Most Valuable Player awards, two Olympic gold medals, four NBA championships, four NBA Finals MVP awards, and three All-Star MVP awards. LeBron holds the record for the most points scored in the NBA playoffs and is ranked second worldwide for most career points. He has increased his net worth by partnering with huge companies, such as Coca-Cola, Kia Motor, Nike, and Beats by Dre. However, in 2022, LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to score 10,000 or more career points, assists, and rebounds.
6. Floyd Mayweather ($785 million)
Floyd Joy Mayweather, nicknamed "Pretty Boy" and "Money," is an American former professional boxer who competed between 1996 and 2017. He retired from the sport with an undefeated record and won fifteen major world championships. Floyd earned about $200 million plus endorsement deals for his fight against UFC superstar Conor McGregor. However, the 45-year-old owns a team in the NASCAR Cup Series called The Money Team Racing. According to Pledge Sports, Floyd Mayweather is the wealthiest boxer in history.
5. David Beckham ($800 million)
David Robert Joseph Beckham is an English former professional footballer best known for his spectacular free kicks, passing, and crossing ability. Beckham is considered one of the most recognizable and greatest midfielders in football. He is the first English football player to win league titles in four countries including; Spain, France, England, and the United States. His professional career began with Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup twice, the 1999 UEFA Championships League, and the English Premier League six times. However, David Beckham is the co-owner and current president of Salford City and Inter Miami CF.
4. Jack Nicklaus ($1.2 billion)
Jack William Nicklaus, famously known as "The Golden Bear," is an American former professional golfer and golf course designer. Nicklaus is considered one of the greatest golfers of all time, winning 117 professional golf tournaments throughout his career. However, Jack Nicklaus is currently the CEO and founder of Nicklaus Design, one of the world's largest golf course construction and design companies.
3. Arnold Palmer ($1.4 billion)
Arnold Daniel Palmer, or “The King,” is an American professional golfer and one of the most charismatic and greatest golfers. He is a two-time PGA Player of the Year Award winner. He's also a four-time Vardon Trophy Award winner, and the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award. However, according to Mens Journal, Palmer passed on September 25, 2016, while awaiting heart surgery at the Pittsburg Medical Center.
2. Tiger Woods ($1.7 billion)
Eldrick Tont Wood, or Tiger Woods, is an American professional golfer who is second in the men's major championships. He is one of the greatest golfers of all time, winning fifteen professional major golf championships. He is an eleven-time PGA Player of the Year Award winner, nine-time winner of the Vardon Trophy, and two-time FedEx Cup Champion. However, in November 2021, Tiger Woods indicated that his full-time golfing career was over. Though, he does continue to play on occasion.
1. Michael Jordan ($1.85 billion)
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a professional basketball player as well as the richest athlete. He played fifteen seasons in the National Basketball Association, winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. Furthermore, Michael Jordan is the most awarded player in NBA history. Michael Jordan is currently the chairman and owner of the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA. The same goes for the 23XI Racing Team in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Written by Dana Hanson
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