Every one of the names of the following list are idols in their own right. Be it on an NBA court or a Soccer field, or an MLB stadium, all of these athletes have earned their wages and have built a massive fortune.
Sportico recently listed the 25 highest earning athletes of all time and took into account, what the athlete earned during their career, inflation, plus all the endorsements the athlete in question has had and has until this day.
Below are the 25 highest earning athletes, the order may shock you but there is no question about the top 10, these athletes have earned their fortune and will continue to make money off of their name value alone.
25. Derek Jeter - $555 Million
The 5-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees was everywhere in the late 90’s, the face of the Yankees and one of the top players in all of the MLB, Jeter has amassed a net worth of $555 million in image, sponsorship, and contract deals.
24. Peyton Manning - $570 Million
NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning was a fan darling of the NFL in the 2000’s. Manning won two Super Bowls and was a 5-time NFL MVP. During his career Manning had numerous sponsorship deals and comes in at $570 million in total earnings.
23. Oscar de la Hoya - $580 Million
The face of Boxing in a post Mike Tyson world, Oscar de la Hoya fought all comers as a 6-weight class champion. de la Hoya endorsed products, sang, and was on the cover of video games, in total the Golden Boy earned an estimated $580 million during his great career and beyond.
22. Jeff Gordon - $595 Million
NASCAR is pretty big and the sponsorships that come with it. Jeff Gordon was one of the best drivers of his generation and was the face of NASCAR for years. Gordon earned just under $600 million during his run.
21. Neymar - $615 Million
The PSG forward and national hero Neymar is still amassing what will be a huge fortune and what can be said, Neymar is the face of Puma and other products, he has earned a total of $615 million and will be much higher than that if he wins the 2022 World Cup for Brazil.
20. Lewis Hamilton - $620 Million
Lewis Hamilton is a great F1 racer and has worked with various brands and foundations throughout his career. Hamilton has earned an estimated $620 million to go along with all his racing titles.
19. Kevin Durant - $625 Million
One of the NBA’s elite players Kevin Durant has won 2 NBA titles, his endorsement deals are with Nike, Sprint, Gatorade, Panini, General Electric, and 2K Sports. In total the Brooklyn Nets star has earned $625 million.
18. Manny Pacquiao - $630 Million
One of the best boxers of all time Manny Pacquiao was a highlight reel fighter and caught the attention of the World over. Pacquiao has endorsed many products and brands. Now in politics how he balances his former boxer image with policy will most likely hit his earnings.
17. Alex Rodríguez - $650 Million
Alex Rodríguez was another face of the MLB, he may have not been liked by many Yankees fans, Alex Rodríguez was no joke on the baseball diamond. Off the field he knew how to get out there and now has his own company and has invested in various companies and almost bought the Mets!
16. Mike Tyson - $775 Million
Mike Tyson made money no question, in his prime he may have been the most mesmerizing and feared athlete in the world. Tyson endorsed many products, but his poor quality of life outside the ring caused him to lose much of his fortune. Tyson now is rebuilding his empire and his public image but still Tyson has earned $775 million dollars over his life.
15. Greg Norman - $815 Million
Retired golfer Greg Norman has earned well over $800 million in his career and is the CEO of his own company that is present in the apparel, interior design, real estate, wine production, private equity and golf course design fields.
14. Shaquille O'Neal -$870 Million
Shaquille O'Neal dabbled in movies, endorsed products, and is on the air as an analyst, so Shaq keeps active and continues to build on that fortune when he was a player.
13. Kobe Bryant - $930 Million
Kobe was one of the most well-loved athletes in the world, a poster boy for the NBA and various brands, Kobe also embarked on his own ventures. Unfortunately, his life was cut short in a tragic helicopter accident which also took the life of his daughter.
12. David Beckham - $1.05 Billion
David Beckham has built an empire on his image, the Inter Miami owner, endorses products, his own clothing line, nothing Beckham does won’t see a better financial outcome for the former England and Manchester United superstar.
11. Phil Mickelson - $1.08 Billion
Golfer Phil Mickelson is one of the best golfers of his generation and that has helped elevate his earnings to over 1 billion dollars. Mickelson won three Masters along with many other competitions.
10. Roger Federer - $1.12 Billion
Roger Federer is one of the best Tennis players of all time, and he has earned a fortune with all his endorsement deals and prize money. Federer is a living legend and will only add to his value over time.
9. Michael Schumacher - $1.13 Billion
The great F1 pilot Michael Schumacher made a fortune with his endorsement deals, which included a watch, and various other brands. In 2017, Forbes stated Schumacher was the athlete with the fifth highest career earnings of all-time.
8. Lionel Messi - $1.14 Billion
The best soccer player of his generation and maybe of all time, Lionel Messi is the soccer player with the second most earnings in his career. Messi is practically everywhere, and you’d be hard pressed to find a brand not associated with the Argentine.
7. LeBron James - $1.17 Billion
LeBron James is the most famous face of the NBA today, as James has millions of fans, and many endorsements to go along with his philanthropy work. He is also a part owner of English soccer team Liverpool.
6. Floyd Mayweather - $1.2 Billion
Pretty boy Floyd Mayweather may be the best pound for pound boxer of all time, undefeated and despite his high profile and his wicked tongue has millions in endorsements and earnings throughout his career.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo - $1.4 Billion
The highest earning soccer player at the moment is Cristiano Ronaldo, the Manchester United player has done an exceptional job of working on his image and that has led to many endorsement deals.
4. Jack Nicklaus - $1.38 Billion
Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus has made so much in earnings as well as working on golf course designs and his own line of golf balls.
3. Arnold Palmer - $1.5 Billion
Arnold Palmer was one of the greatest golfers of all time and like Nicklaus had enjoyed a lot through endorsements and lending his name to various products.
2. Tiger Woods - $2.1 Billion
Golfer Tiger Woods continues to rake in the big bucks, even despite his personal problems a few years back. Woods is considered by many the best golfer of all time and his name value has never been better.
1. Michael Jordan - $2.62 Billion
Everyone still wants to be like Mike, one of the most mesmerizing athletes of all time Michael Jordan dazzled the world on a basketball court and made a fortune off of it. Air Jordan sneakers, his own company, the countless endorsements, and even making a movie. Jordan has done it all and his name still has much value.