Richest Athletes in the World

Sports are essential for every human being in order to maintain a good balance of physical and mental health. People have started exploring various career paths in sports to incorporate fitness, strength, and flexibility in their daily life. Did you know that you can earn significant wealth by taking up a sport and becoming successful in it, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Tiger Woods? In this article, we have compiled a list of the 50 richest athletes in the world, and how they have become famous in their career. This will surely inspire you to do the same and achieve popularity as well as financial success.

50 Richest Athletes in the World (2023)

In the world of sports, there exists a vast array of athletes who are generously compensated for representing their respective nations and their ability to captivate audiences with their remarkable talents. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the world’s top-earning athletes achieved unprecedented financial success.

This article presents a comprehensive list of the 50 richest athletes in the world, including soccer legends, basketball superstars, golf prodigies, and many more. Numerous instances demonstrated the immense wealth accumulated by these individuals, primarily through lucrative endorsement deals, surpassing their earnings from playing contracts alone.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

The FULL Cristiano Ronaldo Interview With Piers Morgan | Parts 1 and 2
  • Total Earnings: $136 Million
  • Sports: Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo’s estimated net worth stands at an impressive $500 million, a testament to his exceptional talent, dedication, and the numerous lucrative endorsement deals he has secured throughout his illustrious football career. He is one of the richest athletes in the world.

Ronaldo’s net worth is a result of his remarkable skills on the field and his relentless work ethic, which have catapulted him to the status of a global icon. He has effectively become the face of several renowned brands, including Nike, Tag Heuer, and Clear, amplifying his earnings through successful endorsement partnerships.

Beyond his football success and endorsements, Ronaldo has ventured into diverse business opportunities. Investments in hotels and his own clothing line have further bolstered his financial portfolio.

Unsurprisingly, his opulent lifestyle, marked by extravagant vacations and luxuries, serves as a visible testament to the immense wealth he has accumulated over the years. Ronaldo is renowned for having the largest fan base and most followers on popular social networking platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

2. Lionel Messi

THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LEO MESSI! 🎙️
  • Total Earnings: $130 Million
  • Sports: Soccer

Lionel Messi, with his remarkable earnings, has rightfully earned the reputation as one of the greatest soccer players in history. His numerous individual awards, coupled with his crucial role in leading Barcelona to 10 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League titles, have solidified his status as a football legend.

Beyond his on-field success, Messi has been a sought-after figure in the endorsement world, collaborating with major brands like Adidas, Pepsi, and Apple, which has contributed significantly to his wealth. In 2022, he achieved a career milestone by leading Argentina to victory in the World Cup, further enhancing his already illustrious career. Consequently, he has consistently ranked among the world’s top-earning athletes and highest-earning footballers globally.

Currently plying his trade with MLS team Inter Miami, Messi’s net worth is estimated at approximately $600 million. His journey from a talented young player to a worldwide football icon serves as an inspiration to many aspiring athletes and fans alike.

3. Kylian Mbappe

A Conversation with Kylian Mbappé | Complex
  • Total Earnings: $120 Million
  • Sports: Soccer

At just 24 years old, Kylian Mbappe has achieved remarkable success in his football career. His extraordinary skills and talent with the ball have made him a force to be reckoned with, and he enjoys immense popularity worldwide. As one of the most sought-after players, he has become a global superstar and is said to be the highest-earning footballer in club football.

Mbappe’s endorsement deals with prominent brands such as Nike, Oakley, and Hublot further add to his prominence. With an estimated net worth of $180 million, he has secured a solid financial standing in the sports industry. No wonder he features in our list of the richest athletes in the world.

4. LeBron James

Lebron James and Channing Tatum on The Ellen Show (Full Interview) (Season 16)
  • Total Earnings: $119.5 Million
  • Sports: Basketball

LeBron James, a renowned basketball player, has not only established himself as one of the greatest in the sport but has also achieved immense financial success. According to Forbes, his net worth stands at a whopping $100 million.

His substantial earnings come not only from his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers but also from lucrative endorsement deals with major companies such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats by Dre, and Kia Motors. Additionally, he has invested in the Liverpool Football Club and Blaze Pizza, further contributing to his wealth. He ranks among the highest paid athletes globally.

Despite his remarkable fortune, LeBron James is widely recognized for his philanthropy and generosity. He has donated millions of dollars to support underprivileged individuals, particularly children, and has initiated various charitable endeavors through his foundation, focusing on providing educational opportunities for kids in need.

5. Canelo Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez | In Depth w/ Graham Bensinger
  • Total Earnings: $110 Million
  • Sports: Boxing

Canelo Alvarez, the renowned boxing champion, has achieved immense financial success, earning tens of millions of dollars with each fight. In September 2022, he made a groundbreaking move by signing with Excel Sports Management, becoming the first boxer to be represented by the esteemed agency.

Beyond the boxing ring, Canelo has diversified his income streams through various ventures. He has lucrative marketing deals, notably with Hennessy, and also owns a popular taco restaurant in his home country of Mexico. Additionally, he actively promotes boxing matches, concerts, and other events through his companies, Canelo Promotions and Canelo Espectaculos.

Capitalizing on his fame and brand, Canelo has expanded into the fashion industry with his own clothing line. He has also entered into a partnership with a fintech firm to launch a branded credit card. In the health and wellness sector, he is the driving force behind the sports drink maker Yaoca and the fitness app I Can.

Beyond his entertainment and business ventures, Canelo has demonstrated a keen interest in real estate investments. In a 2021 interview with Graham Bensinger, he mentioned his annual earnings of nearly $20 million from these investments and revealed plans to open a significant number of gas stations in Mexico, aiming for 90 to 100 new locations.

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6. Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson's best one-liners at press conferences
  • Total Earnings: $107 Million
  • Sports: Golf

In 2020, Dustin Johnson achieved a remarkable feat by winning the FedEx Cup, securing the coveted $15 million prize. Just a couple of months later, he demonstrated his skill once again, claiming his second major title at the Masters. The tournament had been postponed from its traditional April slot due to the pandemic.

In 2022, Johnson made headlines when he made a significant career move, joining the emerging LIV Golf tour, which is financially backed by Saudi investors. His decision proved to be financially rewarding, as he received a substantial upfront payment for signing with the tour, and his impressive performance throughout the season earned him over $35 million in LIV prize money and bonuses. He is one of the richest athletes in the world.

Unfortunately, Johnson’s move to LIV Golf came with consequences, as he experienced a setback with his sponsors. In February 2023, he parted ways with his long-standing partner Adidas, signaling a significant change in his endorsement deals.

7. Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson Reflects on a Great Day at Augusta National | The Masters
  • Total Earnings: $106 Million
  • Sports: Golf

In 2021, Phil Mickelson achieved a historic milestone in golf by winning the PGA Championship at the age of 50, making him the oldest major winner ever and bringing his total major titles to six. Surprisingly, in 2023, at the age of 52, he secured a runner-up finish at the Masters tournament.

Following the controversy stirred by his comments in February 2022, where he expressed a willingness to overlook alleged human rights violations in Saudi Arabia to join a new golf league, Phil Mickelson decided to take a break from competitive golf.

As a consequence of his remarks, major sponsors like Workday and KPMG dropped their endorsements. However, he received a boost in earnings as he received $6 million from the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program, and he also made a significant profit of selling six golf courses in August 2021.

In 2022, Phil Mickelson joined the LIV Golf tour and served as the captain of the Hy Flyers GC team. With a career prize money total of over $96 million on the PGA Tour, he currently ranks second only to Tiger Woods in terms of earnings in tour history. Nonetheless, his most substantial income has come from off-course ventures, amassing more than $800 million throughout his career. He is one of the world’s top-earning athletes.

8. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry Answers The Web's Most Searched Questions | WIRED
  • Total Earnings: $100.4 Million
  • Sports: Basketball

In 2017, Stephen Curry, the esteemed basketball player and two-time MVP, made history by becoming the first NBA player to sign a groundbreaking $200 million contract. His remarkable achievements continued in 2021 when he secured another milestone by inking a four-year extension worth $215 million, making him the first player to have two such lucrative deals.

Capitalizing on his success and business acumen, Curry established a new venture called SC30 in 2017. This company effectively manages his investments, brand partnerships, and philanthropic endeavors, further showcasing his versatility beyond the basketball court.

Recognizing Curry’s immense popularity and market appeal, Under Armour decided to launch Curry Brand in November 2020. This strategic move aimed to rival the iconic Nike Jordan Brand and tap into Curry’s global fanbase.

March 2023 saw Curry strengthening his association with Under Armour even further as he signed a long-term extension with the apparel company. This groundbreaking deal is set to extend well into Curry’s retirement from professional basketball, demonstrating the enduring partnership between the player and the brand.

Diversifying his business portfolio, Curry’s production company, Unanimous Media, made significant strides in September 2021 by entering into a development deal with Comcast NBCUniversal. This partnership promises exciting new ventures in the entertainment industry.

Additionally, Curry ventured into the world of podcasting in November 2020 by collaborating with Audible. This expansion into the digital media space marked another successful move in his quest for broader influence and engagement. No wonder he features in our list of the richest athletes in the world.

9. Roger Federer

Roger Federer: In His Own Words
  • Total Earnings: $95.1 Million
  • Sports: Tennis

Roger Federer boasts an unparalleled sponsor portfolio within the realm of sports. In 2020, this distinction propelled him to become the world’s highest-earning athlete for the first time, although he settled at the 9th spot in 2023.

A significant component of his sponsorship deals is his partnership with the Japanese apparel brand, Uniqlo. Back in 2018, Federer inked a remarkable ten-year contract worth $300 million with the company. Despite earning an impressive $130 million in prize money throughout his illustrious tennis career, his off-court earnings from endorsements and appearances far exceed this amount.

One of Federer’s most promising financial ventures lies in his investment in the Swiss athletic apparel company, On, which went public in September 2021. This stake could potentially become his most lucrative deal yet. He ranks among the highest paid athletes globally.

Beyond his sporting achievements and business ventures, Federer’s namesake foundation has achieved remarkable milestones. Launched to help children in Africa, the foundation has successfully raised over $50 million and provided education to 1.5 million children.

10. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant | Ep 14 | Perkins Twitter Beef, Warriors Run, Kyrie & Nets | ALL THE SMOKE Full Podcast
  • Total Earnings: $89.1 Million
  • Sports: Basketball

After spending three years with the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant made a significant move in 2019, joining the Brooklyn Nets in a lucrative four-year contract worth $164 million. In a surprising turn of events, he was later traded to the Phoenix Suns in February 2023.

Kevin Durant, a basketball superstar, has achieved great financial success beyond his on-court earnings. He rakes in over $40 million annually through various off-court ventures, including endorsement deals with companies like Coinbase, NBA Top Shot, and Weedmaps.

Moreover, Durant is an astute investor, having put his money into more than 80 companies through his firm, 35V. He has also ventured into the media world with his brand, Boardroom, and was involved as a producer in the award-winning film Two Distant Strangers, which won an Oscar in 2021.

Outside of basketball and business, Durant has shown interest in the sports world by purchasing a stake in Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union in 2020. He further expanded his sports portfolio by acquiring stakes in NWSL’s Gotham FC and a Major League Pickleball franchise in 2022.

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11. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis AMAZING exchange with Reporter During Postgame Interview 👀
  • Total Earnings: $87.6 Million
  • Sports: Basketball

In December 2020, Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a lucrative five-year, $228 million supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks, granting him the option to opt-out after the fourth year. The basketball star had already earned great recognition for his exceptional skills, being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, as well as the Defensive Player of the Year for the latter season.

His remarkable performance not only brought glory on the court but also attracted substantial rewards from sponsors. Notably, Nike extended its endorsement deal with Antetokounmpo in 2017, and his first MVP award triggered generous bonuses from the brand. In 2019, Nike launched the Zoom Freak 1, which became the most extensive initial signature shoe launch in the history of Nike basketball.

Outside the realm of sports, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s inspiring life story garnered attention from Hollywood. Disney secured a deal in 2020 to develop a movie based on his life, following a similar theme to The Blind Side. Titled Rise, the film was eventually released on Disney+ in June 2022, providing an insight into the remarkable journey of the Greek Freak. He is one of the richest athletes in the world.

12. Neymar

Neymar x NBA | Exclusive Interview
  • Total Earnings: $85 Million
  • Sports: Soccer

During May 2021, Neymar committed to a contract extension, binding him to Paris Saint-Germain until the summer of 2025. The new agreement included lucrative performance bonuses, notably a substantial increase if PSG triumphs in the Champions League. Neymar’s move from Barcelona to PSG in 2017, costing a record-breaking $263 million, was fully paid by the French club before his official signing. He is one of the world’s top-earning athletes.

In 2020, Neymar made headlines when he announced his departure from Nike’s Jordan Brand before securing a new deal with Puma. Beyond his footballing endeavors, Neymar ventured into the world of NFTs, teaming up with the platform NFTSTAR in November 2021. Notably, he displayed a keen interest in the NFT space by investing over $1 million in acquiring two Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs within a single day in January 2022.

13. Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson on working with Sean Payton: 'He's one of the best coaches to ever coach this game'
  • Total Earnings: $85 Million
  • Sports: Football

In April 2019, the Seattle Seahawks secured Russell Wilson’s services for an additional four years, agreeing to a lucrative $140 million extension that made him the highest-paid player in the NFL at the time. However, in March 2022, the quarterback was traded to the Denver Broncos. Following the trade, Wilson wasted no time in committing to his new team, signing a substantial five-year, $245 million extension with the Broncos, which included an impressive $165 million in guaranteed money.

Beyond his accomplishments on the field, Russell Wilson is a well-rounded individual with diverse interests. He is not only a nine-time Pro Bowler but also the visionary behind the brand management firm West2East Empire, which has successfully launched two production companies. No wonder he features in our list of the richest athletes in the world.

Furthermore, Russell Wilson has a strong connection to the world of baseball. He was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies back in 2010 and is actively involved in the Portland Diamond Project, an ambitious initiative aiming to bring a Major League Baseball team to Oregon.

Among his many achievements, Wilson’s leadership skills and exceptional talent were instrumental in leading the Seattle Seahawks to their first and only Super Bowl championship during the 2013-14 season.

14. Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook Talks Loss vs Clippers, Postgame Interview
  • Total Earnings: $82.1 Million
  • Sports: Basketball

Russell Westbrook’s basketball journey saw several significant moves in recent years. After spending eight years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was traded to the Houston Rockets in December 2019. A year later, in December 2020, he found himself with the Washington Wizards. However, his time in Washington was short-lived, as he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in August 2021. And most recently, in February 2023, Russell Westbrook signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.

During his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook signed a groundbreaking five-year, $207 million extension in 2017, making it the NBA’s largest-ever contract in terms of total value at that time. In the same year, he also extended his partnership with Nike’s Jordan brand for another ten years and received his first signature shoe in 2018. He ranks among the highest paid athletes globally.

Russell Westbrook’s remarkable skills on the court have earned him numerous accolades, including being a two-time scoring champion. Notably, in 2017, he was named the league MVP, a testament to his exceptional performance. One of his most remarkable achievements is being the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for three consecutive seasons.

15. Rory McIlroy

Little Interviews - Rory McIlroy
  • Total Earnings: $80.8 Million
  • Sports: Golf

Rory McIlroy is renowned as one of the PGA Tour’s most marketable golfers, second only to Tiger Woods in off-the-course earnings. In 2022, he achieved his most significant on-course payday, amassing a record $26.7 million in prize money, which included a remarkable $18 million for winning the FedEx Cup title.

In a major business move, both McIlroy and Woods made headlines in 2022 by co-founding TMRW Sports, a technology-focused venture with ambitious plans to launch a new golf league called TGL.

Back in 2019, NBC Sports partnered with Rory McIlroy to introduce GolfPass, an innovative digital subscription service aimed at assisting golf enthusiasts in enhancing their game.

McIlroy showcased his exceptional skills in February 2020, reclaiming the top spot in the World Golf Ranking, a remarkable feat that came four years after his previous reign. However, as of May 2022, he had slipped to the seventh position in the rankings.

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16. Tiger Woods

Revealing Tiger Woods interview | 60 Minutes Australia
  • Total Earnings: $75.1 Million
  • Sports: Golf

Tiger Woods, renowned for his illustrious pro golf career, has amassed a staggering $1.8 billion in earnings, which includes an impressive $121 million in prize money from PGA Tour events, a record-setting achievement. Notably, Forbes officially recognized him as a billionaire in 2022, making him only the second active athlete to achieve this distinction, following LeBron James.

Despite his tremendous financial success, Woods declined a massive offer from the emerging LIV Golf tour, which LIV CEO Greg Norman described as high nine digits. His wealth was further augmented through savvy investments, including two properties on Jupiter Island, a flourishing golf-course design business, and a high-end mini-golf chain called Popstroke.

In 2022, Tiger Woods partnered with fellow golf star Rory McIlroy to establish TMRW Sports, a technology-focused venture with ambitious plans to launch a new golf league known as TGL. Additionally, the golf superstar is involved in a luxury real-estate venture named Nexxus, in which he is a partner with Justin Timberlake and British billionaire Joe Lewis. He is one of the richest athletes in the world.

17. Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith Eagerly Awaits the Tournament to Unfold | The Masters
  • Total Earnings: $73 Million
  • Sports: Golf

In 2022, Cameron Smith made a significant move by joining LIV Golf, an emerging league. This signing was a major achievement for the league, which had primarily attracted seasoned golfers, unlike the 29-year-old rising star that Smith was. During that year, Smith had a remarkable season, claiming his first major title at the 2022 British Open and also securing victory in the prestigious Players Championship.

Throughout the year, Cameron Smith participated in four LIV events and managed to amass an impressive sum of over $7 million in prize money. He is one of the world’s top-earning athletes.

18. Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka Reflects on the Final Round | The Masters
  • Total Earnings: $72 Million
  • Sports: Golf

In 2022, Brooks Koepka, along with several other PGA Tour stars, made the move to the newly established LIV Golf tour, lured by a substantial financial promise – a whopping salary of $66 million. With four major titles already under his belt, he appeared destined to claim a fifth at the 2023 Masters, but a disappointing performance on the final day led to him finishing in a tie for second place. During 2018, 2019, and 2020, he enjoyed periods at the top spot of the World Golf Ranking. No wonder he features in our list of the richest athletes in the world.

19. Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray Addresses Recent Critique of His Study Habits
  • Total Earnings: $70.5 Million
  • Sports: Football

Murray was once hailed as a promising baseball prospect, but he made the bold decision to shift gears and pursue a career in football. His talents on the field led him to be the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, where he joined the Arizona Cardinals.

In July 2022, Murray secured his future with the Cardinals by signing a lucrative contract extension worth a staggering sum of up to $230.5 million, spanning five years. He ranks among the highest paid athletes globally.

Aside from his success in football, Murray also became an integral part of the prestigious esports organization, FaZe Clan, starting in 2021. During the same year, he achieved another remarkable feat by gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated alongside his fellow FaZe Clan members.

20. Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau reveals why he joined LIV Golf
  • Total Earnings: $69 Million
  • Sports: Golf

In 2022, Bryson DeChambeau made a significant impact by leaving the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf, a league supported by Saudi backers, where he received a substantial upfront payment. His star power and reputation in the golfing world played a crucial role in commanding this lucrative deal. During his debut event with LIV Golf in July, he earned an impressive $560,000, almost three times more than his total earnings from his previous seven tournaments in 2022.

Bryson DeChambeau is widely recognized for his achievements, having won the U.S. Open in 2020 and even participated in the 2022 Professional Long Drivers Association’s World Championships, where he reached the final, competing against another golfer in a thrilling two-man showdown.

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21. Lewis Hamilton

Sir Lewis Hamilton on Being Knighted by King Charles, Begging to Be in Top Gun & Formula 1 Racing
  • Total Earnings: $65 Million
  • Sports: Auto Racing

In 2020, Lewis Hamilton achieved a historic milestone in Formula 1 by clinching the drivers’ title, matching Michael Schumacher’s legendary record of seven championships. Although he came close to securing another championship in 2021, he narrowly missed the mark. During July 2021, Hamilton committed to staying with Mercedes’ F1 team for an additional two years, signing a contract extension.

Beyond his on-track success, Hamilton has become the most marketable athlete in the sport, leveraging his fashion-forward image to collaborate with Tommy Hilfiger since 2018. His earnings encompass a salary and winnings amounting to $55 million, while his endorsements contribute an additional $10 million. He is one of the richest athletes in the world.

22. Max Verstappen

F1 Champ Max Verstappen Replies to Fans on the Internet | Actually Me | GQ Sports
  • Total Earnings: $64 Million
  • Sports: Auto Racing

Max Verstappen made an impressive entry into Formula 1, becoming the youngest driver ever to compete in the series at just 17 years old. He quickly proved his talent by securing F1’s youngest race victory at the age of 18 years and 228 days in 2016.

In 2020, Verstappen’s exceptional performance earned him substantial bonuses when he finished third for Red Bull Racing. The following year, he reached even greater heights by claiming the F1 drivers’ title. The thrilling victory came in a nail-biting final race where he overtook Lewis Hamilton on the last lap.

The 2022 season showcased Verstappen’s dominance as he comfortably won the drivers’ championship by triumphing in an impressive 15 races. Not only did he shine individually, but he also played a pivotal role in securing the constructors’ championship for Red Bull Racing.

Regarding earnings, Verstappen’s salary and winnings amounted to a remarkable $60 million, while his endorsements contributed an additional $4 million to his financial success. His outstanding performances on the track and his marketability as an athlete have made him one of the most prominent figures in the world of motorsports and one of the world’s top-earning athletes.

23. Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson | Ep 156 | ALL THE SMOKE Full Episode | SHOWTIME Basketball
  • Total Earnings: $60.9 Million
  • Sports: Basketball

In 2019, the Golden State Warriors re-signed Thompson, one of the deadliest shooters in basketball, to a lucrative five-year contract worth $190 million. Unfortunately, his career was hindered by injuries, as he suffered a torn ACL in the 2019-20 season and missed the entire 2020-21 season due to an Achilles tendon injury. However, he made a remarkable comeback in January 2022 when he returned to the court.

Despite being sidelined, Thompson managed to secure endorsement deals with several prominent brands, including Waiakea Water, Bevel, and NERF. Additionally, he inked a substantial ten-year partnership with the Chinese shoe brand Anta, which was valued at $80 million before bonuses and royalties. Beyond his athletic pursuits, Thompson is also a co-founder of the Just Live CBD company. No wonder he features in our list of the richest athletes in the world.

With an impressive track record of four NBA championships and five All-Star appearances, Thompson’s popularity soared even further when he made a cameo appearance in the movie Space Jam: A New Legacy.

24. Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes on Being Named Super Bowl MVP, Ankle Injury, Partier Travis Kelce & Trick Play
  • Total Earnings: $59.3 Million
  • Sports: Football

In February 2023, Patrick Mahomes achieved an impressive feat by making his third Super Bowl appearance in just four years. During that game, he secured his second Super Bowl title and earned his second Super Bowl MVP Award. This remarkable success has played a pivotal role in boosting Mahomes’ endorsement portfolio significantly. Among NFL players, only Tom Brady has managed to secure more endorsement deals in recent times. He ranks among the highest paid athletes globally.

Back in July 2020, Mahomes inked a monumental ten-year contract extension with the Chiefs, amounting to a staggering value of up to $503 million. This long-term deal solidified his position as a five-time Pro Bowler and reaffirmed his status as one of the league’s most prominent and highly regarded players.

25. Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard Opens Up About His Championship Aspirations, Shooting Mechanics, Scoring 100 & More
  • Total Earnings: $58.6 Million
  • Sports: Basketball

In July 2022, Portland Trail Blazers’ star player, Damian Lillard, agreed to a lucrative two-year contract extension with the team, amounting to a reported $122 million. This extension effectively ties him to Portland until the end of the 2026-27 NBA season. Known for his exceptional skills on the court, Lillard’s Adidas signature shoe line has been a huge success, ranking among the top sellers for the company. The latest addition to his line, the Dame 8, hit the market in January 2022.

Throughout his impressive career from 2013-14 to 2020-21, Lillard consistently led the Trail Blazers to the playoffs every season. His talent was evident from the start, as he earned the title of Rookie of the Year in the season before this remarkable playoff streak. Unfortunately, the following season saw him sidelined due to injury, playing in only 29 games.

Beyond basketball, Lillard is a multi-talented artist, having released four studio albums under his rap moniker, Dame D.O.L.L.A. He’s also a passionate advocate, serving as a global ambassador for the Special Olympics. One of his tracks, Money Ball, gained significant recognition when it featured on the NBA 2K20 soundtrack.

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26. Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer Interview | Mets'd Up Podcast
  • Total Earnings: $56.7 Million
  • Sports: Baseball

During his second year with the Mets, Scherzer finds himself in the top spot alongside his teammate, Justin Verlander, for the highest playing salary in Major League Baseball, both earning $43.3 million (excluding deferred money). In 2019, Scherzer played a pivotal role in leading the Washington Nationals to victory in the World Series.

Even after leaving Washington, Scherzer continues to benefit financially as he is set to receive $15 million in deferred payments from the Nationals in 2023, with an additional $75 million in deferred payments scheduled to be paid out to him by 2028. He is one of the richest athletes in the world.

27. James Harden

James Harden after 14 NBA seasons: "I learned it's a business" | Sports Seriously
  • Total Earnings: $55.1 Million
  • Sports: Basketball

In January 2021, James Harden’s wish for a trade was granted, and he left the Houston Rockets to join the Brooklyn Nets. However, in February 2022, he was traded once again, this time to the Philadelphia 76ers. During the free agency in July 2022, Harden signed a two-year contract with the Sixers, amounting to $68.6 million. He chose to take a discounted deal to allow the team more financial flexibility in improving their roster. He is one of the world’s top-earning athletes.

Back in 2015, Adidas signed James Harden to a remarkable 13-year endorsement deal, worth an astonishing $200 million, making him one of the prominent faces of their NBA campaign. Throughout his career, Harden has earned significant recognition, being awarded the league MVP title in 2018 and finishing as the runner-up three times in 2015, 2017, and 2019.

Apart from his basketball career, Harden has also made shrewd business moves. He held an equity stake in Bodyarmor, and when Coca-Cola acquired the brand in the fall of 2021, he received a substantial payout. Furthermore, he invested $15 million in July 2019 to secure a small ownership stake in the Houston Dynamo of MLS.

28. Anthony Joshua

"People Don't Understand Me!" - Anthony Joshua Talks Dillian Whyte & Heavyweight Division
  • Total Earnings: $53 Million
  • Sports: Boxing

Joshua had a remarkable start to his professional boxing career, securing victory in his first 22 fights and becoming the world heavyweight champion from 2016 to 2019. However, his reign was interrupted by a shocking defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019. Nevertheless, he later redeemed himself by avenging the loss with a unanimous decision victory. Despite facing setbacks with two losses against Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022, Joshua regained momentum with a triumph over Jermaine Franklin in April 2023.

Outside the ring, Joshua boasts an immense social media following, amassing a total of 26 million followers across platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. His popularity and success have also been reflected in his earnings, as he reportedly earns a substantial income. He receives $50 million from his salary and winnings in boxing, and an additional $3 million from endorsement deals. No wonder he features in our list of the richest athletes in the world.

29. Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm talks winning Masters
  • Total Earnings: $53 Million
  • Sports: Golf

Rahm, originally from Spain but now residing in the United States, has achieved remarkable success in both continents. As of May 2023, he boasts an impressive tally of 11 career PGA Tour wins, which includes two major championships, along with eight victories on the European tour.

His performance in 2023 has been nothing short of spectacular, particularly in April when he set a new single-season PGA Tour prize-money record, amassing a staggering $14.5 million in earnings. With four more months left in the year, Rahm had the opportunity to further extend this record. He ranks among the highest paid athletes globally.

At present, Rahm holds the prestigious title of the world’s top-ranked golfer, a testament to his exceptional skills and consistency. Notably, he also holds the record for the longest duration at the peak of the amateur rankings, maintaining the top spot for an impressive 60 weeks.

30. Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers Exclusive First Sit Down Interview as a New York Jet  | Paper Route
  • Total Earnings: $53 Million
  • Sports: Football

In the tumultuous 2021 off-season, there was considerable drama surrounding Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. However, they managed to resolve their differences, and Rodgers returned to the team after agreeing to a restructured contract. In March 2022, he inked a lucrative three-year extension worth $150 million. Despite the renewed commitment, things took an unexpected turn in April 2023 when Rodgers was traded to the New York Jets.

Outside of football, Rodgers has been involved in various ventures. In 2018, he made a significant investment by acquiring a minority ownership stake in the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Furthermore, in 2019, he co-founded a venture and growth stage fund, valued at $50 million, alongside Nate Raabe and Byron Roth under Roth Capital. This allowed Rodgers to explore interests beyond his football career and participate in entrepreneurial endeavors.

Throughout his illustrious career, Rodgers has achieved significant accolades, earning ten Pro Bowl selections and four MVP awards as of the end of the 2022 season. His impressive record places him fifth in the all-time list for passing touchdowns, with a remarkable total of 475.

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