When you sit down to watch a game of basketball or football you can easily forget just how wealthy everyone on the screen is. The truth is that being a professional athlete can be one of the highest paying jobs in the world. Today we are going to look over 25 of the WEALTHIEST athletes of all time. You’re going to be shocked by how much these guys and girls have made for playing sports!
Wayne Gretzky – $200 Million.
Let’s start off our list with one of the greatest athletes of all time: Wayne Gretzky. Known as ‘The Great One’, Gretzky is statistically the best player to ever grace the NHL in the history of the sport. You don’t need an online psychic reader to know that he is THE guy that defined and popularized hockey. Gretzy got paid handsomely for his contributions.
David Robinson – $200 Million.
Also known as ‘The Admiral’, David Robinson was the Hall of Fame power forward that San Antonio relied on — before Tim Duncan arrived to take the mantle. Robinson played for over a decade in the NBA and has clearly invested his earnings well. You can bet that an accurate psychic reading after his first contract extension would have forecast huge payments in the future.
Lionel Messi – $280 Million.
Most American’s don’t realize that European soccer is the sport to play to earn big money. Online psychics could even tell you that Lionel Messi is one of the top earners in the game. Messi is young, marketable, and a generational talent. Fans can easily tell you he will go down as one of the greatest soccer players to grace the field.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – $300 Million.
NASCAR is the biggest sport in America but nobody realizes it. Well, okay, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in the sauna after taking home another huge payday he probably realizes it. Dale Earnhardt Jr. comes from the NASCAR family line and he certainly is earning it.
Alex Rodriguez – $300 Million.
Rodriguez will be one of the most controversial baseball players of all time. You can argue his place in the Hall of Fame forever, and people will, but you can’t argue Rodriguez’s contract. A-Rod got the biggest contract in MLB history during his playing days.
Jack Nicklaus – $320 Million
Quick, who is the greatest golfer of all time? That’s right, Jack ‘The Golden Bear’ Nicklaus. Before Tiger was Tiger it was Nicklaus who brought people to the links to watch the sport. Nicklaus is third all time in PGA Tour wins despite playing a very selective amount of matches.
LeBron James – $340 Million.
If it weren’t for the NBA’s archaic CBA, LeBron could probably be in our Top 10 already — despite being in his early 30s. LeBron James is the greatest basketball player on Earth and there is no argument there. James is prolific with endorsements and he is the Chosen One in Cleveland.
Roger Federer – $340 Million.
Federer went pro in the tennis world back in 1998 and the rest is history. Federer is one of the greatest tennis players of all time and he is the only player to EVER win five straight US Open titles. Federer has won over $100 million from the game of tennis while earning the rest off of the clay. Not bad, eh?
Kobe Bryant – $350 Million.
The Black Mamba has retired and the NBA will never be the same. Kobe Bryant will stay busy off of the court. The Hall of Fame star is supremely marketable and he recently found himself on the cover of NBA 2K17. Kobe is a top 15 player of all time.
Phil Mickelson – $375 Million.
Man, it sure would have paid off to learn how to golf. Phil Mickelson is the next golfer on our list and another active legend. Mickelson may not have the straight up awe from fans like Tiger or Nicklaus, but he’s one of the best and steadiest golfers to ever ply the game. The sauna after a Mickelson round has to be an interesting place for conversation.
Shaq – $375 Million.
Shaq: The Big Diesel. Shaq was one of the most dominant players to ever lace it up in the NBA. Shaquille O’Neal also has one of the most marketable personalities in NBA History. Shaq is a former actor, an active broadcaster, and one of the most popular NBA players of all time.
Junior Bridgeman – $400 Million.
You ready for someone really out there? Junior Bridgeman cracks our list with $400 million after playing 12 years in the NBA and investing his money into food chains. Bridgeman owns over 160 different restaurants and he is also on the board of the PGA. Talk about a money maker.
Cristiano Ronaldo – $400 Million.
Cristiano Ronaldo has slid into the space that David Beckham one controlled. Ronaldo is handsome, outgoing, charitable and one of the most talented soccer players to ever play the game. Ronaldo is making big money and he is in his athletic prime right now. Of course many will argue that Lionel Messi is the greatest but hey, money talks.
Ayrton Senna – $400 Million.
Senna was a prolific Formula One racer during the late ’80s and early ’90s as he racked up championship after championship. Tragically Senna died in a crash at the age of 34. Before Senne passed away he had become the best Formula One driver of all time.
David Beckham – $450 Million.
The young soccer stars haven’t unseated the earning king yet. David Beckham continues to chart ahead of all other soccer players on the career earning list. That’s what you get as a dominant soccer player for over a decade.
Eddie Jordan – $475 Million.
It pays to race, right? Eddie Jordan is another Formula One maven. Jordan is an Irish racer that helped to found the Jordan Grand Pri. He is also an analyst on F1 racing for the BBC.
Roger Staubach – $600 Million.
Also known as ‘Captain Comeback’, Roger Staubach is one of the most important QB’s in Dallas Cowboy history. Staubach is a Hall of Fame QB who excelled at slinging real estate off of the field. Staubach recently sold his company for over $600 million.
Magic Johnson – $600 Million.
Considered the purest point guard of all time, Magic Johnson continues to excel with the game. Johnson is a former Los Angeles Laker and currently one of the lead analysts for the NBA. We suppose the gig must pay pretty well.
Floyd Mayweather – $650 Million.
Love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather is the face of boxing. Mayweather is the wealthiest boxer of all time, or he soon will be. Mayweather’s growing rivalry with MMA fighter Conor McGregor should bring up his career earnings by quite a bit.
Arnold Palmer – $675 Million.
Golf really pays well — especially when you are Arnold Palmer. Palmer is one of the biggest names in PGA history and he is a master marketer, as well. Ever hear od the Arnold Palmer drink?
Tiger Woods – $740 Million.
Tiger Woods is probably the most iconic athlete on this list. What athlete is more tied to their sport than Tiger? Tiger is one of the winningest golfers of all time and the youngest to accomplish almost everything there is to accomplish. Also, Tiger’s first name is Eldrick so you learned something new.
Michael Schumacher – $800 Million.
When you are the best to ever do what you do, you make big money. Michael Schumacher took racing to the next level and he really earned money to prove it. Unfortunately Shumacher was involved in a terrible accident and he has been out of the spotlight ever since.
Vince McMahon – $1 Billion.
Ah, yeah we are getting a little shaky by including Vince McMahon — but what the heck. McMahon is the pioneer of wrestling and the owner of the WWE. We included him because he does occasionally lace it up and go at it in the ring.
Michael Jordan – $1 Billion.
Michael Jordan may be the only name more identifiable with their sport than Tiger Woods. Jordan is the greatest athlete of all time and a world class marketer. Jordan has done it all: movies, retail products, professional baseball and more. Jordan lives on mostly through his high end basketball shoes.
Ion Tiriac – $2 Billion.
Tiriac was both a professional tennis player and hockey player. Tiriac made it to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Still Tiriac is more known for his business mind as he founded the first private bank in Romania after the fall of communism. Tiriac is the richest former athlete of all time.