It is no secret that professional athletes make tons of money. From sponsorship deals to their seven figure salary, we as a society have placed a lot of value of the ability to run fast, throw far, and shoot accurately. But, just like any industry, some people make more than others.
And some make WAY more. Like, slap your mama money. Like so much money that if you saw it all on one place, you would just lay in it like the bodyguard from Breaking Bad.
And as in anything, someone makes the most. But who?! Who is the athlete that has claimed the golden egg? Well, let’s run down the 10 highest paid athletes of 2016!
Kobe Bryant – $50 Million
While the third all-time leading scorer did not manage to top this list, he has managed to bank more money than anyone else, boasting upwards of $680 million dollars. Also, if we are talking about general metrics for success, just count the rings! Kobe has got it all.
Jordan Spieth – $52.8 Million
9th on the list is also the youngest. The 22-year-old golfer had a huge year in 2015, winning both the Masters and the U.S Open, giving his name some extra weight. Not to mention the fact that he pulled a whopping $10 mil at the FedEx Cup.
Phil Mickelson – $52.9 Million
Although he hasn’t won a cup since 2013, Mickelson still makes it onto the list thanks to his whopping portfolio of high end sponsors. Callaway, Barclays, KPMG, Rolex, and Exxon-freaking-Mobil all dish out big bucks to have one of the most recognizable faces in elder-sports tout their expensive products.
Cam Newton – $53.1 Million
Number one pick in 2011, and the landslide MVP in 2015, Cam Newton was a shoe in for this list. He is basically the face of the NFL. Just look at that mug! Cam has got it all.
Novak Djokovic – $55.8 Million
He is the number 1 tennis player on earth. In the past 5 years, he has stowed away over $82 million in prize money alone. Not to mention the bank he is pulling down from his sponsors.
Kevin Durant – $56.2 Million
Basketball has a lot of faces now, and Kevin Durant is one of the most looming. With the highest point-per-game average of anyone in the league, Durant has proven himself to be one of the most valuable players in the game.
Roger Federer – $67.8 Million
Much like Mickelson, Feder has been a while out of the spotlight, with his last Grand Slam title coming in 2012. That said, he is still pulling down the major money, with nearly $60 million coming in from sponsorships and appearance fees.
LeBron James – $77.2 Million
Obviously, the highest paid American athlete is The King – LeBron James. He has been to the Finals a record-setting 6 times, and has just signed a lifetime contract with Nike. If the sales of his shoes pick up, he is likely sitting on top of over a billion dollars in sweet shoe money.
Lionel Messi – $81.4 Million
As Americans, we often forget that the biggest sport in the world – by a large margin – is soccer. So, it goes without saying that the highest paid athletes on earth would be the two biggest stars of the sport. First, is Lionel Messi. Five time FIFA player of the year, first to 300 in the La Liga competitions, and the holder of a crazy bonus-laden contract that gives him insane boosts in salary, Messi is a freaking cash cow.
Christiano Ronaldo – $88 Million
But the number one spot is still reserved for the man with the most recognizable name in the world – Ronaldo. The portuguese all-star and leader of Real Madrid has been the top goal scorer, and one of the most clutch players on the pitch, making him hands down the most valuable player in any sport on earth.