Besides enjoying the high life, most of the wealthiest athletes in the world have one thing in common: they are masters of endorsement deals. The biggest brands flock to star players, who are only too happy to put their names and faces on tons of different products, from sneakers and sports apparel, to drinks, luxury watches, and real estate.
Whisky, Donuts, and Fists of Steel
Coming in at #10 is Shaquille O'Neal, the basketball superstar worth $735 million. He has partnered with Krispy Kreme and Papa Johns, bringing in big bucks. At #9 we have boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, who made his $785 million primarily through his career-long streak of undefeated matches. Our #8 highest earner now promotes Scotch whisky, despite being English himself. Yes, it's soccer star David Beckham with $800 million to his name. Tied with Beckham is Kobe Bryant, whose brand partnerships have included Sprite and Adidas. In at #6 is top golfer Phil Mickelson, whose endorsements with brands like Rolex and Ford have netted him $815 million.
Golf Balls, Ice Cream, and Legendary Kicks
Formula One racer Michael Schumacher is our #5 highest earner, with one of his biggest endorsements with a wealth management firm bringing in $8 million of his $1 billion. Another golfer takes the #4 spot, with $1.2 billion to his name: Jack Nicklaus, whose businesses include ice cream and golf course design. The gentleman's game brings another golfer to the #3 spot, with $1.4 billion in his estate. Next time you drink an Arnold Palmer, you'll know where he got his wealth. Finishing the streak of golf gods is Tiger Woods, coming in at #2 with his $1.7 billion fortune, made with brands like TaylorMade and Bridgestone. And our #1 top earner is, you guessed it, basketball legend Michael Jordan, whose partnership with Nike brought world-famous Air Jordans to the streets, and $1.85 billion to Michael's pocket.