In the world of sports, money is thrown around like its no one’s business. Leagues are making millions and millions of dollars, and the players that make up those leagues all get a piece of the pie. But there are a select group of athletes who are paid handsomely for their services and make up some of the most well-paid in their sport. There’s no question there will be some obvious names, and why not? They ultimately deserve it. Here are the top ten highest paid players in the world of sports.
10. Lewis Hamilton: $46 Million
The British racing driver ranks as the highest-paid man in all of motorsports. Hamilton, from Stevenage, United Kingdom, has now raced for over 11 years now in Formula One. He currently races for the Mercedes Petronas team. Hamilton receives $38 million in salary/bonuses and another $8 million in endorsements.
9. James Harden: $46.6 Million
Harden as of last year, was the fourth highest-paid man in the NBA. The 28-year old point guard for the Houston Rockets is a former rookie of the year and six-time NBA All-Star. Harden, quickly shot up the ranks of the Association and is now one of the premier players in the game. His salary/bonuses numbers at $26.6 million, while his endorsements are a whopping $20 million.
8. Stephen Curry: $47.3 Million
Stephen Curry, the second most-known basketball player on the planet, sits as the third highest-paid player in basketball, right behind Warriors teammate, Kevin Durant. Curry, 30, is a two-time NBA Champion and five-time NBA All-Star. The superstar is the face of the Under Armor brand. Curry makes only a low $12.3 in salary/bonuses but is given an astounding $35 million in endorsements.
6. Andrew Luck and Rory McIlroy: $50 Million
As you can tell, there’s no number seven highest-paid athlete. So we have a tie for number six. Andrew Luck, the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts and three-time Pro Bowler, makes the most the third-most of any player in the National Football League. Luck sits on a mountain of riches being paid 47 million dollars. Crazy to believe, he only makes $3 million for his off the field ventures.
For Rory McIlroy, he’s one of the most popular golfers on the planet. The Hollywood, Northern Ireland native turned professional in 2007 and won the 2011 U.S. Open, the PGA Championship in both 2012 and 2014, and The Masters in 2015. McIlroy has totaled $16 million in prize money and gets a large $34 million in endorsements from Nike and TaylorMade.
5. Kevin Durant: $60.6 Million
Next to Lebron James, Kevin Durant sits right behind him for making the most money for any player in the NBA. Durant — who won’t hit 30 for another month — has one ring with the Golden State Warriors that he won in 2017 and is a nine-time NBA All-Star. He’s been in the league for almost a decade and is right up there in the top three players in the sport. Durant is represented by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Group and his salary is $26.6 million. His endorsements with Nike, Sprint, Gatorade, Panini, General Electric, and 2K Sports add up to 34 million dollars.
4. Roger Federer: $64 Million
The Swiss megastar is referred to by many, as the greatest tennis player of all time. Federer’s now 20-year career has been filled with 20 Grand Slam titles, including eight Wimbledon wins and five U.S. Open championships. The 36-year old continues to reign supreme in the sport (#2 in men’s singles tennis by the ATP) and surprisingly only won $6 million in prize money. But when it comes to endorsements, Federer is king. His deals with Nike, Rolex, Credit Suisse, Jura and Wilson, and Barilla pay him a ridiculous $58 million.
3. Lionel Messi: $90 Million
Regarded as not only one of the two best soccer players not only on the planet but in the sport’s history, Lionel Messi perfectly sits in the top-three of the highest-paid athletes. Messi, has been the face of FC Barcelona for nearly 14 years, and has led them to eight La Liga titles, five Copa Del Ray wins, and four UEFA Champions League titles. The 30-year old has also been awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the best footballer in the world five times. Messi is the second-most paid soccer player, having a scorching $53 million in the bank. Endorsement-wise, Huawei Technologies, Gatorade, Adidas, and Tata Motors total $27 million for the international superstar.
2. Lebron James: $86.2 Million
Perhaps the most recognizable athlete on the face of the earth, and greatest basketball player of his generation, Lebron James is a money-making machine. Since coming into the league 15 years ago, King James’s value has continued to grow and grow as each day passes. James, 33, has won three NBA titles, is a four-time MVP, and unreal 14-time NBA All-Star. He is the highest-paid player in basketball, crushing it at 31.2 million dollars. LeBron is the most endorsed athlete in the world. At $55 million, he represents Kia, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Beats by Dre, Tencent, and Nike just to name a few.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo: $93 Million
A soccer legend, and universal icon, 33-year old Cristiano Ronaldo profits as the most paid athlete in the world. Ronaldo, the Real Madrid star and face of Portuguese futbol, has been at the forefront of the game since 2003 when he got his start with Manchester United. His accolades include five Ballon d’Or awards, a huge amount of trophies winning with his clubs. Basically, there’s just too many to count. His $58 million ranks him as the top paid player in any sport. On the endorsement side of things, he comes in at a substantial $35 million from deals with Tag Heuer, Abbott Laboratories, Herbalife, and of course, Nike.