Sports have been a part of human history since ancient times, the Mayans, the Egyptians and the Romans all had different types of sports. These individual sports or sporting events were a crucial part of their culture and the sportsmen were hugely admired and considered heros of their times.
Successful sportsmen have always been rewarded generously, in old times the rewards were in the shape of lands, titles, gold and estates and in modern times the rewards are multi-million dollar contracts with major teams, lucrative sponsorship deals and continuous media attention.
Here are the top ten richest athletes in the world.
10. Kobe Bryant $360 Million
Kobe Bryant went straight to professional basketball in 1996 after college and he was considered a prodigy and people compared him to the all time great Michael Jordan. According to Forbes magazine in 2009 his net worth was $140 million. He has been the highest paid NBA player for two straight years.
In 2015 alone his earnings were $23.5 million and his endorsement earning in 2014 were $31 million. Nike has launched its lightest lightest basketball shoe ever with him, the Zoom Kobe IV. Kobe Bryant has won a total of five NBA championships.
09. Junior Bridgeman $400 Million
Junior Bridgeman was born in East Chicago, Indiana on September 17, 1953 and he is a retired basketball player. He started playing basketball for East Chicago Washington High School and got drafted by the Lakers in 1975. He was traded to Milwaukee Bucks for Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Although he had a very successful basketball career he made his wealth by investing the food industry. He runs his own company with the name of Bridgeman Foods LLC. He has invested money in large food chains like Wendy’s and Black Bear Beverages.
08. Lebron James $425 Million
Lebron James is the only other athlete in this list other than Floyd Mayweather who has every chance of getting to the top of this list as he is still young and has a long career ahead of him. He is currently playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lebron has signed a $90 million deal with Nike and he is widely considered as the best player of the current era. He also earns $4 million annually from his endorsement deal with McDonalds since 2010.
07. Magic Johnson $500 Million
Earvin “Magic” Johnson was born and raised in Michigan and both his parents played basketball in their younger years which gave Magic a natural talent to play basketball. After college he signed a deal with LA Lakers worth $25 million for 25 years.
After retirement Magic Johnson travelled all across the country and talked with different CEOs of successful business in order to invest his earnings. Later he invested in Starbucks and EquiTrust Life Insurance company, he was a minority owner of LA Lakers for a brief period of time.
06. Roger Staubach $600 Million
Born in 1924, Roger Staubach started playing football when he was in the Navy and at 27 he retired from the navy to play professional football. Roger played 11 straight years for the Dallas Cowboys and won two Super Bowl games.
After retirement he decided to invest in the real estate business in Texas which at that time was struggling with its economy. Roger started to buy different properties in Texas and then he sold them to other clients. His decision and timing were correct and it has made him a fortune.
05. Tiger Woods $640 Million
Tiger woods is undoubtedly the most famous golf player in the history of the sports and many consider him to be the best golf player of all time. He has made most of his money from playing professionally and from endorsement deals and he is considered one of the richest african-american player in US.
Tiger Woods hold the record of staying at the number 1 position for the longest time but his career and personal life took a hard hit when his infidelity was exposed. It has taken him a long time to recover and get going again.
04. Floyd Mayweather $650 Million
Floyd Mayweather may had a rough childhood but that did not stop him from becoming one of the best boxers of all times. After a decade long career he is still undefeated and that has earned him the reputation of having the best defensive boxing technique ever.
Due to his defensive style and the fact that he has never lost, a lot of people criticise him and do not consider him the greatest ever as he has yet to face adversity. But Floyd has fought and beat every big name in boxing even Manny Pacquiao could not beat him in 2015.
03. Arnold Palmer $675 Million
Arnold Palmer was born in the 1950s and is considered one of the most famous golf players of all times. Arnold Palmer won his first major tournament in 1958 and cemented his position as the greatest golf player in the world.
After his retirement years he spent most his time as a pilot logging in over 20,000 hours and travelling around the world. He also tried to get more countries to play golf and designed golf courses.
02. Michael Schumacher $800 Million
Michael Schumacher is the most successful F1 racer in the history of the sport and he was the lead racer of team Ferrari. Michael Schumacher started his racing career by driving and winning racing kart tournaments.
Michael Schumacher has made most of his money from winning championship prizes and from his sponsorship deals. In 2013 he had a very serious skiing accident and he was in a coma for six months . He has recovered from the coma but has not driven since.
01. Michael Jordan $1.14 Billion
Michael Jordan is undoubtedly the most successful basketball player in the history of NBA and he ha has achieved a legendary status that only a few can achieve. Michael Jordan lead the Chicago Bulls in winning a total of six NBA championships.
Michael Jordan’s most successful endorsement deal with Nike and together they have launched the most iconic sneaker in the world the Air Jordan. It is estimated that Nike generate well over a billion dollars in revenue from the sale of Jordan’s products.