It is a very difficult life being a sportsperson. The more successful you are, the more difficult it becomes. They become the center of attraction all over the world. They have to maintain an impeccable reputation because a million youngsters look upon them as an idol. Under the circumstances, it becomes difficult for them to perform consistently.
However, a successful sportsperson can have a rewarding career as far as earning is concerned. You have some of the top sports persons earning over $50 million in a year. This is an astronomical figure. A lot of hard work and dedication goes behind the success of a sportsperson.
We shall look at the top 10 highest paid athletes over the past one year. The list includes an assortment of players from sports as diverse as basketball, golf, soccer, and tennis. The list contains some of the top sports persons in their respective sports. They earn a lot of money through endorsements in addition to the contracts and prize money.
Here is the Top 10 list of highest paid and most successful athletes in 2017-2018
10. Kobe Bryant: $50 million
At No, 10, we have a basketball great, Kobe Bryant. One of the most successful basketball players ever to have graced the courts, he is NBA’s third all-time leading scorer. Over a distinguished career spanning over two fruitful decades, Kobe Bryant has amassed over $680 million in endorsements and salary. This is an astronomical amount considering that basketball is a team sport. However, he is a legend in his sport earning $25 million in salary over the last year, the highest for a basketball player. With an equal amount of earning through endorsements, he has a total of $50 million in the bank for 2015-16 alone.
9. Jordan Spieth: $52.8 million
At No. 9, we have the youngest member in this list as well, Jordan Spieth. The most success US golfer this year, Jordan has made a spectacular jump in the earnings this year as compared to the previous year. He has moved 76 places from the 85th spot to the 9th spot this year. He has won two major titles this year and is also the youngest US open champion. He has been in tremendous form this season capping an 18 under par round at the Masters. With a total earning of $52.8 million, Jordan Spieth is well and truly on the way to moving to the top of the ranking in the near future.
8. Phil Mickelson: $52.9 million
At the No. 8 position, we have another golfer, Phil Mickelson. However, unlike Jordan Spieth, Phil had his major earnings for the year through endorsements. Phil is a popular golfer having a spate of endorsements that include Callaway, KPMG, Amgen, etc. Phil Mickelson has been in the news for the wrong reasons this year as the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged him as a relief defendant in an insider trading case.
7. Cam Newton: $53.1 million
The NFL players have always been among the top earners in the sporting community for a long time. At No. 7, we have Cam Newton, one of the new emerging stars on the horizon. In 2015, he won the MVP award with a record breaking 48 votes out of a possible 50. The Panthers have bagged him for $103.8 million for a period of 5 years. He is one of the top endorsers in the NFL as well. With earnings of $53.1 million this year, Cam Newton can move up the ratings next year if the same trend continues.
6. Novak Djokovic: $55.8 million
One of the all-time great tennis champions, Novak Djokovic is at No. 6 in this list with earnings of $55.8 million. Though his rankings went for a dip in 2016, he is still a force to reckon with in this individual sport. He has won 12 Grand Slam Singles championships with only Rafael Nadal and the incomparable Roger Federer ahead of him in the all-time list of Grand Slam winners. He became the first tennis played to earn more than $100 million in prize money alone. If he keeps performing at this rate, he may end up as the greatest ever tennis player of all-time very soon.
5. Kevin Durant: $56.2 million
One of the greatest basketball players in the world, Kevin Durant is at No. 5 on the list. Earning the right to be spoken in the same breath as Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant has a 27.4 career points per game average. This is a very high ratio, among the best in the history of the game. With earnings of $56.2 million, Kevin Durant has an underwear line in his own name. One of the main endorsers of the Nike brand, his endorsements could be worth $300 million over the next ten years.
4. Roger Federer: $67.8 million
At No. 4, we have arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time Roger Federer. One should admire his longevity in this sport where the average age of retirement is around 29 or 30 years. However, Federer is going strong at the age of 34 winning the Australian Open Grand Slam in 2017, making it his record breaking 18th Grand Slam title. His nearest rival Rafael Nadal is four Slams behind him in the list. Roger Federer makes as much money off the court as he makes on it. With earnings of $67.8 million, Roger Federer has still more gas left in the tank as he gears up for the French Open Grand Slam in May 2017.
3. Lebron James: $77.2 million
The first player to get a lifetime contract from Nike, Lebron James is No. 3 on this list with earnings of $77.2 million. However, the sales of his signature shoes saw a dip in the sales figures in 2015. If the sales pick up, the contract with Nike could cross the $ 1 billion mark easily. Lebron James is fully set to star in the sequel to the Michael Jordan movie, Space Jam.
2. Lionel Messi: $81.4 million
Soccer is the most popular team sport in the world. The FIFA World Cup Finals has the second highest viewership record worldwide after the Olympics. Hence, it is proper that the top two players in this list should belong to this wonderful sport. Lionel Messi is literally likened to God in his home country, Argentina. One of the most skillful players ever to don the Barcelona’s colors, Lionel Messi earns in the range of $81.4 million last year. He has been in the news for the wrong reasons as well because of a tax evasion fraud case against him. If the conviction is confirmed, he may have to undergo a 21-month jail term.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo: $88 million
One of the greatest soccer players in the history of the sport, Cristiano Ronaldo occupies the top spot in this list with earnings of $88 million. The Real Madrid and Portugal star is a three-time FIFA player of the year. One of the most famous endorsers of Nike, his contract with Real Madrid itself is worth more than $50 million. He is the most popular soccer player on the social network with a record 215 million followers.
You have just seen the top ten highest paid athletes in the world last year. If the same trend continues, you might not witness any major changes next year as well. The earnings of the sports persons are a testimony of the popularity of their sport as well. Each of the players on this list is an ambassador of his particular sport.