Check Out The Five Highest Paid Athletes In The World

Check Out The Five Highest Paid Athletes In The World

FIREWIRE SPORTS


The very idea that people as adults can be paid to play a game or sport is a really novel concept if you think about it. Professional athletes, whose best skills are measured around something we usually do for recreation, aren't just making a few more dollars than the average professional in other fields, they potentially make 10x as much as them, if not more. When you factor in the salaries, sponsorships and other earnings of the highest paid athletes in the world, the numbers get absolutely ridiculous.

How ridiculous? Take a look at this list of the five highest-paid athletes in the world, which includes the sport they play, the teams that pay them, and what they do with all the money they earn:

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5. Kevin Durant, Basketball -- $59 million: During the summer of 2016, Kevin Durant shocked the basketball and professional sports world when the seven-foot forward signed with the Golden State Warriors. This past summer, he re-upped with the team via a two-year, $51.25 million contract that will pay him a salary of $25 million this year. But one of the biggest reasons that Durant relocated to the San Francisco Bay area was all the off-the-court earning opportunities he'll have available. He's invested in Silicon Valley companies like cloud computing startup Rubrik, investment app Acorns, and on-demand delivery service Postmates. He also has deals with 2k Sports (the video game company) and Sonic Drive-In (who has their own line of drinks inspired by Durant), which in total will net him as much as $34 million in earnings. But outside of his growing investment prowess, Durant has gained a reputation as one of the NBA's top philanthropists. While a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, he pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross for the victims of the 2013 tornado, and in his hometown of Washington, D.C. he is the spokesperson for a non-profit after-school music program.

 

4. Roger Federer, Tennis -- $64 million:  The greatest tennis player of all time was also, at one point, the highest paid professional athlete on the planet. The Swiss-born Federer, who still maintains a #2 ranking in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), makes a healthy chunk of money on the court but a whole lot more off of it. In 2017, Federer earned $6 million playing tennis, which included his record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title. But with a portfolio of endorsement deals from sports apparel companies like Nike and Wilson, premium lifestyle companies like Rolex and Mercedes-Benz, and men's personal care titan Gillette, Federer earned $58 million in endorsements, representing the highest total earnings from endorsements of anyone on this list. In 2003, he used his earnings to establish the Roger Federer Foundation, which helps disadvantaged children and provides greater access to education and sports.

 

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3. Lionel Messi, Soccer -- $80 million:  Talk to any diehard fans of "the beautiful sport," and you might hear them refer to Lionel Messi, the forward for FC Barcelona, as perhaps the greatest soccer player of all time. With his prolific goal scoring abilities and preternatural ability to make plays for others on the field, Messi has been paid very handsomely for his performance on the pitch. In 2017 he's earned $53 million from his soccer club and another $27 million in endorsement revenue from companies like Adidas, PepsiCo, Gillette, Head and Shoulders, and Turkish Airlines. In 2007, Messi created the "Fundacion Leo Messi" (the Leo Messi Foundation), which supports access to education and health care for vulnerable children.

 

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2. LeBron James, Basketball -- $86.2 million:  Not only is LeBron James poised to go down as the greatest basketball player in the post-Michael Jordan era of the NBA, but he's also poised to go down as the highest-earning basketball player of this era as well. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward has the second-highest salary in the NBA for the 2017-2018 season at just over $33.2 million, but with his seemingly endless list of endorsement deals, his off-court earnings -- valued at $55 million -- dwarf what he makes on the hardwood. As a native of Akron, Ohio, his LeBron James Family Foundation has opened schools in his hometown that focus on enriching the lives of at-risk students and those who are in need of additional academic intervention before falling further behind their peers. Over the past six-plus years, the foundation's programs have supported over 1,100 kids.

 

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Soccer -- $93 million

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1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Soccer -- $93 million: The movie star looks. The generational soccer talent. The physique of a Greek god. Not only does Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo have all of those, but he has also earned more money of any other professional athlete on planet in 2017. According to Forbes.com, Ronaldo earned upwards of $83 million this past year, thanks to the $58 million per year that he's making on the soccer pitch, and the $35 million he earned in endorsement revenue from companies like Nike and CR7. When he's not using his earnings to support his girlfriend and their daughter (as well as his three other children from other women), he's donated millions to various philanthropic causes including disaster relief, treatment for children with terminal diagnoses, and bringing awareness to the spread of the Ebola virus.

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