The 25 Highest Paid Sportspersons Of All Time

The 25 Highest Paid Sportspersons Of All Time

SOURCE: Forbes magazine

Forbes magazine, everyone’s favourite way of keeping track of the financial rankings of the crème la crème of the elites of the world, has as usual published the list of sportsmen, amongst other categories, with astronomical earnings!

This list is important because it does not cover a year, but the writer Kurt Badenhausen ranks the highest paid athletes and sportsmen of all time!


The famous American tennis player earned his way through with many endorsement deals , but mostly through the company stock of NIKE which paid for most of his earnings.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 470 Million


The boxer is famous for his bouts with the legendary Mike Tyson, last of which ended with Tyson disqualified for biting of Holyfield’s Ear! The prizefight with Mike Tyson earned him a neat $34 Million. But the man himself led a disrupted life with numerous lawsuits.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 475 Million


The NBA player was an early bird, at the mere age of 21 he received a six year, $126 Million deal! This was followed by a successful career with his salary alone coming up to $334 Million.


Not only a sportsman but an able host, Manning holds an all time record in passing yards, with 71,490 yards, and also in the number of touchdowns, 539!

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 480 Million


This player is not only a sportsman but the CEO of the team Miami Marlins! His career as a businessman is off to a rocky start, but we can be sure he will repeat his success as a businessman too.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 490 Million


The Philippines senator, who was recently in news about his fight with Mayweather, has straddled both the world of politics and sports ably. He is ranked Number 4 in a ranking of greatest pound for pound boxers of all time.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 510 Million

Oscar De La Hoya

We have another adversary of Mayweather, whose fight with the latter earned the biggest views in pay per view history, a whopping 2.5 Million views, until the above mentioned Pacquiao-Mayweather fight

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 520 Million

Jeff Gordon

He holds the record of winning 93 races in his Nascar Career. He is also in line for greater business roles and he also owns stakes in an important car, Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 525 Million

Alex Rodriguez

A legendary baseball player, Rodriguez, is famous for signing 2 of the three biggest contracts in the history of the game. He remains in news more often because of his relationship with Jenifer Lopez and for his numerous hosting gigs.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 575 Million


Messi needs no introduction. The Barcelona sportsman is one of the golden boys of sports in all terms and the only surprise is he isn’t as high in the list as he is supposed to be. Considered by many as the greatest footballer, with a lot of competition from other greats, the Argentinian player has a record number of awards up his bag.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 600 Million

Roger Federer

Tennis wonder Roger held the crown for highest earning prize on an ATP tour. He lost it, but he regained it again this year. He  holds most singles titles in tennis history for  a male player and currently is world number 2 in rankings.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 675 Million

Mike Tyson

The undisputed heavyweight champion for a long long time squandered most of his earning, but the boxing legend is one of the greatest that ever was, and is today living a new life with new roles as an actor and much more.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 700 Million


The golfer, who spent a few years on the charts as the Number 1 Golfer in official rankings, is known by the nickname, The Shark. He is also a successful entrepreneur and a philanthropist who takes active interest in the world around him, and does his bit to help.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 705 Million

Cristiano Ronaldo

Forbes says how Ronaldo is quickly rising up the highest earning sportsmen list. This fact itself is no surprise at all as Ronaldo is considered by many as one of the greatest footballers ever. The portugese player has a string of endorsements and awards in his name.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 725 Million

LeBron James

Considered NBA’s greatest pitchman, James is a 2 time Olympic gold winner and has won numerous awards of NBA…numerous times!

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 730 Million

Shaquille O’Neal

The American athlete, who is known more for his quirky personality and his active online presence, also had a successful sneaker brand which sold over 120 Million units and even wrote a witty autobiography, Shaq talks back.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 735 Million

Floyd Mayweather

The awesomeness that Mayweather is, couldn’t be represented financially by Forbes as they didn’t calculate the massive earnings of his fight with Conor McGregor. Mayweather is a legend with 15 world boxing titles and many more awards to his name.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 785 Million


Kobe Bryant

He had the highest salary in NBA in the last six seasons of his career! He didn’t stop there though, after his retirement he has become a successful entrepreneur, with Kobe Inc. and a venture capital firm.

David Beckham

Curiously enough Beckham is earning more after his retirement! The Englishman, who is known as much for his good looks as much as for his game, is one of the most recognized faces of football. He also made his acting debut  recently in a Guy Ritchie film.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 800 Million

Phil Mickelson

One of the three most important golfers in the profession, this golfer is known by his nickname- Lefty.  There wouldn’t be enough space to list all of his wins! 42 PGA Tour wins, three Master titles, Open Championship, a PGA championship…etc!

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 815 Million

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher’s is a tragic story; the only driver to win seven Formula one championships, he is in coma since few years due to a skiing accident. He is considered by most as the greatest Formula one driver ever.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 1 Billion

Jack Nicklaus

Second, maybe or maybe not, only to Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus is record making golfer. These days though he is in the golf design business, with considerable contributions in the designing business too. He also dabbles in numerous other areas, subsequently building himself a business empire.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 1.2 Billion

Arnold Palmer

One of the greatest golfers ever, Palmer is also known for his extremely charismatic and pleasing personality. He was the first sportsman who got raised to the superstar status with the coming of new media; Nicknamed the King he is the precursor to all the athlete stars.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 1.4 Billion

Tiger Woods

The legendary golfer is today a caution tale for the rich and the famous, and probably also for people in relationships! He has been continuously one of the highest paid athletes ever, even after having his great fall,  which had him step away from the game actively, he still has endorsements.

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 1.2 Billion

Michael Jordan

What new can we say about the corporate favourite sportsman! After having an amazing and fulfilling career, Jordan today owns the team, Charlotte Hornets in NBA. Not only is he considered the greatest basket player in history, he is also held as important in popularizing NBA itself!

TOTAL EARNINGS – $ 1.85 Billion

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