They are the world’s highest paid athletes as computed by Forbes Magazine based on their earnings in the United States. They are the very best in their respective sports and they have the earnings and the endorsement deals to back it up. Here is a list of the top 10 highest paid athletes according to Forbes Magazine.
10. Peyton Manning, Football – $42.4 million
Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. He was the leader of the Indianapolis Cots that won eight division titles, two conference crowns and one Super Bowl during his 12-year stay. A neck injury forced him out of the game. When he came back, he starred for the Denver Broncos that was seconds and a defensive play away from beating the eventual Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens in the conference semifinals.
9. Cristiano Ronaldo, Soccer – $42.5 million
Ronaldo was playing for Sporting Clube de Portugal when he impressed Manchester United in a game enough for the English giant to purchase him from his old club in 2003. He won everything there was to win in England, so he moved to Real Madrid for $131.6 million in 2009, more than six times his price six years earlier.
8. David Beckham, Soccer – $46 million
He was the face of English football for so many years. Nobody knew what metatarsal was until Beckham broke that bone before the 2002 World Cup. Though he has suffered heartaches playing for England, such as the red card against Argentina and the missed penalties against France and Turkey, Beckham has made up for it through his success at the club level, be it with Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and LA Galaxy. He hopes to continue his success at Paris Saint Germain in the French League.
7. Phil Mickelson, Golf – $47.8 million
He is a right-handed person who plays golf left-handed, thus earning the nickname of Lefty. He has provided some competition to Tiger Woods, winning four majors in the process. He was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
6. Kobe Bryant, Basketball – $52.3 million
He came straight out of high school to the NBA. He was a difficult teammate but eventually formed an uneasy alliance with Shaquille O’Neal to win three titles. Later on, he was able to lead the team on his own as the Lakers won two more rings.
5. Roger Federer, Tennis – $52.7 million
From around 2003 to 2008, Roger Federer was so efficient that his performance had the clockwork precision of his sponsor, Rolex. He would enter a tournament, get into the finals and most probably win the title. He has won 17 grand slam titles and has a share of the most crowns in the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon. Then came Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Amazingly, Federer has managed to keep up and is considered as one of the “Big Four” currently dominating the game.
4. Lebron James, Basketball – $53 million
He is one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. Even Scottie Pippen has said that James is probably better than Michael Jordan. And that’s saying a lot because Pippen played alongside Jordan on their way to six championships. James was criticized for the way he left his old team, for teaming up with other superstars to forge an easier way to the crown and for not being good enough in the clutch. All these went away when James finally got a ring in 2012. Nike, McDonald’s and Coke cannot be any happier as James delivered at last.
3. Tiger Woods, Golf – $59.4 million
He has hit a rough patch the past few years, probably brought about by the messy divorce he went through in the aftermath of his wife catching him cheating with several other women. Tag Heuer, Gillette, American Express and Titleist were some of the companies that dropped Woods as a result. Before the scandal, he was an easy bet to break Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18 major championships as he already had 14 when he was only 33. He hasn’t won a major since 2008 though. He is still on the prowl however, with Rolex among the companies that have been backing him up.
2. Manny Pacquiao, Boxing – $62 million
For years, he crowded Floyd Mayweather at the top of the pound-for-pound ranking. He has won titles in eight weight divisions, retaining his power along the way. He has beaten and sent into semi-retirement future Hall of Famers, like Marco Barrera, Erik Morales, Oscar dela Hoya and Shane Mosley. He also scored impressive victories against the likes of Ricky Hatton and Antonio Margarito. His tendency to get easily distracted brought about by his involvement in such activities like politics, gambling, women and show business has taken its toll, however. The ultimate payback came in the form of a crushing knockout loss to his archrival Juan Manuel Marquez. Still, Pacquiao is angling for a rematch. He probably won’t be able to command the same money anymore, however, though he can still rake it in through endorsements.
1. Floyd Mayweather, Boxing – $85 million
He is the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. He has a perfect record, notching up 43 wins so far in his illustrious career with 26 coming by knockouts. The last time he tasted defeat was when he was still an amateur when he lost a highly disputed decision against Serafim Todorov of Bulgaria. Criticized early on for his ultra-defensive style of fighting that had led to boring bouts, he has redeemed himself in his recent match-ups against the likes of future Hall of Famers like Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto as he engaged the two in exciting encounters. He commands the most money just for one fight plus he gets a substantial percentage of the pay per view receipts. He does not really do any endorsement deals, preferring instead to bet on sporting results in Las Vegas betting stations. The guy goes by the nickname of “Money,” so you certainly know his passion in life.
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