From its humble beginnings on the Tracey Ullman show to its 25-year (and counting) run on FOX, The Simpsons has become the standard-bearer for excellence in TV animation. Along the way, they’ve enjoyed their fair share of guest stars – 634 in total – with Academy Award winning actors and actresses, rock stars, politicians and even athletes making up a good chunk of the list. Today at The Richest, we check out the top 10 richest athletes to ever grace Evergreen Terrace.
10 Lance Armstrong - Net Worth: $125 Million
Simpsons Episode: “Mona Leaves-a”
Having won the Tour de France seven consecutive times (while battling cancer in-between), Lance Armstrong made the bulk of his net worth from prize money and endorsements during what was, at the time, one of the feel-good stories in sports. While the fallout from his doping scandal has hurt his marketability, he still benefits from his business ventures, most notably his stock payout from when SRAM Corporation, a bicycle component manufacturer, who paid him a premium prior to their IPO launch.
Simpsons Moment: Lance can be seen arguing with Fozzie Bear during the ESPY’s, telling the beloved Muppet “I never thought you were funny. Ever!” before throwing him off the stage.
9 Ronaldo - Net Worth: $150 Million
Simpsons Episode: “Marge Gamer”
Considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time, it’s no surprise that the majority of his net worth came from his many contracts with some of Europe’s greatest (and richest clubs). With stints in Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan, Ronaldo became one of only three players to ever win the FIFA World Player of the Year Award three times or more. He also led Brazil to two World Cup wins and is the all-time leading scorer in the World Cup.
Simpsons Moment: While Homer is refereeing Lisa’s soccer game, Ronaldo informs Homer that Lisa is a “flopper”, faking fouls in order to penalize her opponents. But what brought Ronaldo to sunny Springfield? “I travel the world, exposing floppers.” Oh. Makes sense.
8 Pete Sampras - Net Worth: $150 Million
Simpsons Episode: “Tennis the Menace”
“Pistol Pete” spent six years atop the ATP rankings and is second all-time only to Roger Federer in Grand Slam wins. With wins at the US Open (5), Wimbledon (7) and Australian Open (2), only his failure on the clay surface at the French Open prevented him from achieving a Career Slam – a win in each major tennis tournament.
Simpsons Moment: In the finals of the Krusty Klassic, Pete Sampras replaces Marge and plays alongside Serena Williams against Venus Williams and Homer (who’s eventually replaced as well). The family reconciles after the tournament and Homer offers to take them all out to dinner “courtesy of Pete Sampras” after grabbing the tennis star’s wallet.
7 Peyton Manning - Net Worth: $165 Million
Simpsons Episode: “O Brother, Where Bart Thou?”
Although still smarting from the Super Bowl smackdown the Seahawks laid on the Broncos back in February, Peyton will have to settle for the consolation of five MVP Awards, a Super Bowl MVP Award and consistently being the most marketable star in the NFL. At 37, Peyton commands $18 million per year in base salary, while making more than double that annually in endorsements. Known for his ability to see things before they happen on the field, one can’t help but wonder if that same forward-thinking led to his investment in multiple Colorado-based Papa John’s pizza restaurants prior to the state legalizing use of marijuana.
Simspons Moment: Noticing the bond that Lisa and Maggie have, Bart begins to wonder what it’d be like if he had a brother of his own. He later dreams about famous brothers and we see Peyton (and his Super Bowl winning brother, Eli) playing keep-away from their other brother Cooper.
6 Andre Agassi - Net Worth: $175 Million
Simpsons Episode: “Tennis the Menace”
Along with Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi is the only other male tennis player to achieve a Career Golden Slam – winning all four Grand Slam tournaments as well as winning an Olympic gold medal. He and Pete Sampras represented America’s last great era of tennis dominance as a major tournament hasn’t been won by an American since 2003.
Simpsons Moment: Joining the Williams sisters and Pete Sampras, Agassi replaces Homer at the Krusty Klassic as Homer wonders if he’s actually a wrestler.
5 LeBron James - Net Worth: $185 Million
Simpsons Episode: “Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass”
After struggling to achieve the post-season success to match his regular-season domination, it’s safe to say that King James has officially arrived. With two NBA Finals wins, four MVP Awards and 10 All-Star selections, LeBron is slowly putting together a resume that, at only 29, has people once again making the MJ comparisons that were popular when he first came out of high school. While he’ll need four more titles to catch up to His Airness, his marketability is right up there with Jordan’s as he enjoys endorsements with Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nike, State Farm and Samsung, amongst others. He also owns a minority stake in the English Premier League team Liverpool FC.
Simpsons Moment: After Homer’s elaborate and embarrassing victory dances go viral, LeBron joins Yao Ming, Michelle Kwan, Tom Brady and Warren Sapp in asking for Homer’s help in embarrassing their opponents with showboating dances of their own. When LeBron suggests that it’s been the best day of his life, Lisa asks, “didn’t you just sign a $90 million contract?” and Lebron quips, “That was a good day, too.”
4 Oscar De La Hoya - Net Worth: $200 Million
Simpsons Episode: Treehouse of Horror XIV
Nicknamed “The Golden Boy”, De La Hoya first rose to prominence after winning the gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. While his 17-year career in the ring was decorated with titles in many different weight classes, much of his success has also come outside of the ring where his company “Golden Boy Promotions” has allowed him to continue raking in the cash since retirement.
Simpsons Moment: When Bart and Milhouse stop time, they make the best of their frozen surroundings, giving the Pope a wedgie and punching a stationary De La Hoya.
3 John Madden - Net Worth: $200 Million
Simpsons Episode: “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday”
While known more as a Super Bowl winning coach and NFL broadcaster, Madden was also a standout offensive and defensive lineman in college for the Oregon Ducks before a knee injury sidelined his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. While earning approximately $5 million a year from broadcasting as well as endorsements for Tenactin, Madden’s largest pay-day has come from the eponymously titled Madden NFL games. The licensing deal to attach his name and likeness to the NFL’s exclusive video game was worth more than $100 million.
Simpsons Moment: Joined by long-term booth partner Pat Summerall, Madden breaks down the episode like an analyst, complaining that a Super Bowl episode with Dolly Parton didn’t feature “any football or singing” and that fans of the show have taken “so much nonsense” from The Simpsons franchise.
2 Kobe Bryant - Net Worth: $220 Million
Simpsons Episode: “The Falcon and the D’ohman”
It takes a lot to live up to the expectations of a franchise like the Lakers and since arriving in LA at 18, Bryant has met and exceeded all of these. With five NBA Finals wins (one more than Shaq, as he loves to remind us), the 16-time NBA All-Star will more than likely go down as the greatest Laker of all time. At 35 years old and despite nagging injuries, Bryant commands a $30 million salary this season.
Simpsons Moment: Security guard and former CIA agent Wayne Slater is forced to fend off attacks from a variety of people during his training. One of those opponents is Bryant, who chucks a basketball at Slater’s face. Slater dodges the strike and knocks the future Hall of Famer out cold.
1 Magic Johnson - Net Worth: $500 Million
Simpsons Episode: “Homer Defined”
If Kobe is considered the best Laker of all time, then Magic will have to comfort himself with the bricks of cash he surely sleeps on. Aside from his salary when playing, Magic was also given an ownership stake in the Lakers, which he later sold for an ownership stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers. The two teams are worth $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively. As the first athlete to make a guest appearance on The Simpsons, it’s only fitting that Magic Johnson tops this list.
Simpsons Moment: After it’s found out that Homer’s success was more dumb luck than heroic genius, Magic is shown at a basketball game dribbling the ball. He slips and the ball flies out of his hands, bouncing off the referee and goes in the basket. As it falls in, Magic slides into a pile of cheerleaders and says, “looks like I pulled a Homer.”