Successful athletes end up as local or international celebrities while amassing a fortune that could rival the GDP of a small state or country. In this article, we will list the top 10 richest athletes in the world and how they get their wealth.
10. Kevin Durant
Sport: Basketball | Earnings from sport: $44.1 million | Endorsements and businesses: $45 million | Age: 34
Kevin Durant moved from the Brooklyn Nets to the Phoenix Suns in February which helped his earnings increase by a few million. Off the court, however, he lost $5 million in earnings which saw him drop down four places on this list.
Kevin Durant and Nike have agreed to a lifetime deal.
KD joins Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only other basketball athletes with a lifetime deal.
(via @boardroom) pic.twitter.com/6Anb63CSeE
— ESPN (@espn) April 28, 2023
The NBA star owns 35V, an investment firm which has helped him secure stakes in several sports leagues and businesses which include a nutrition brand and a sportswear and sports apparels brand.
9. Roger Federer
Sport: Tennis (retired) | Earnings from sport: $100,000 | Endorsements and businesses: $95 million | Age: 41
Roger Federer, one of the greatest ever to play the sport of Tennis, hung up his racket in September 2022. This saw his earnings from the sport significantly drop.
How ICONIC? 🔥@rogerfederer x #MetGala pic.twitter.com/bxp2yIiWf8
— ATP Tour (@atptour) May 1, 2023
Although he did not play much in 2022 due to injuries (which eventually led to him to choose retirement), he lost $600,000 in earnings after officially retiring. Off the court, however, he earned an extra $5 million thanks to ambassadorial work and more endorsements due to his legendary status in the game.
8. Stephen Curry
Sport: Basketball | Earnings from sport: $48.4 million | Endorsements and businesses: $52 million | Age: 35
Popularly known as Steph Curry, he is one of the best players in the NBA and in the Basketball world. His current salary is the highest in the NBA, even more than LeBron, the only active billionaire basketballer.
May 4, 2015
Stephen Curry was named NBA MVP for the first time in his career. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/L3gYDA6yRi
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 4, 2023
His $52 million earnings off the court come from several endorsements and a huge portfolio of business which his company SC30 Incorporated manages.
7. Phil Mickelson
Sport: Golf | Earnings from sport: $104 million | Endorsements and businesses: $2 million | Age: 52
Phil Mickelson is one of the several active billionaire golfers but his earnings in 2023 see him stuck at number seven in this list.
This approach 💪@PhilMickelson bounces back with a birdie on the 15th! pic.twitter.com/24ls1ksC6W
— HyFlyers GC (@HyFlyers_GC) April 29, 2023
On the golf course, he has earned money only rivalled by the footballers, who come higher up on this list. Of the court, his business and endorsements have only earned him a meagre income at best, compared to what others on this list walk away from deals with.
6. Dustin Johnson
Sport: Golf | Earnings from sport: $102 million | Endorsements and businesses: $5 million | Age: 38
Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson compete on the same courses but as a pioneer, Dustin was able to sink his teeth into the company that sponsors their courses: LIV Golfing.
Excited to get going with the team this week. Can't wait to see the Chicago fans. @LIVGolfInv pic.twitter.com/unqoYzZUDy
— Dustin Johnson (@DJohnsonPGA) September 15, 2022
His earnings from those efforts are still meagre compared to the others on this list, but they are enough to get him sixth place.
5. Canelo Álvarez
Sport: Boxing | Earnings from sport: $100 million | Endorsements and businesses: $10 million | Age: 32
Mexican boxer Cancelo Álvarez went viral for his tirade against Lionel Messi after Argentina beat Mexico in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The king is coming home 🔜 #CaneloRyder pic.twitter.com/UcchObbVvm
— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) April 13, 2023
That may have been his most popular moment online but offline, he was making bank. His matches in 2022 brought him $100 million in total, which made him the highest paid boxer from last year.
4. LeBron James
Sport: Basketball | Earnings from sport: $44.5 million | Endorsements and businesses: $75 million | Age: 38
LeBron James is the only active basketball player to reach billionaire status and is one of a very exclusive list of basketballers to have made up to a billion in earnings.
Let’s Gooooooooooooooo!!!! 🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️ #LakeShow https://t.co/A2EUuwpAZV
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 25, 2023
However, he earned less than Steph Curry last year on the court. His businesses and endorsements, however, sees him stay ahead of the Golden State Warriors man.
3. Kylian Mbappe
Sport: Football | Earnings from sport: $100 million | Endorsements and businesses: $20 million | Age: 24
Kylian Mbappe made a small fortune from the sport in 2022 thanks to his exploits for Paris Saint-Germain and France.
NOUS SOMMES LE PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 🔴🔵 @PSG_inside pic.twitter.com/OaLbo1zBKO
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) February 26, 2023
He is the second highest paid sportsperson on the planet but in terms of endorsements, he still has a ways to go to catch up with most of the names on this list.
2. Lionel Messi
Sport: Football | Earnings from sport: $65 million | Endorsements and businesses: $65 million | Age: 35
Lionel Messi‘s net worth in 2022 makes him a comfortable billionaire but his earnings from 2022 sees him lose his first place slot to his eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.
IFFHS – world s best player + playmaker + scorer pic.twitter.com/C55tAm5qjT
— Leo Messi (@imessi) April 25, 2023
Lionel Messi's Instagram hints at his earnings from his businesses. More endorsements and a possible transfer in the summer could see him reclaim the top spot, or drop further down the list.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Sport: Football | Earnings from sport: $46 million | Endorsements and businesses: $90 million | Age: 38
Ronaldo vs Messi is a battle that transcends the football field as both men have beaten each other to the top of this list several times within the last decade.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) May 3, 2023
Like Messi, Ronaldo's net worth in 2022 sees him remain comfortably a billionaire and his earnings from Saudi Arabia could see him retain this spot in next year's list.
However, as the most marketable athlete in the world, his earnings are a masterclass in business and endorsements.
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 weeks ago