The best of the bests in sports have always been both a role-model and inspiration to all. We admire their dedication and their discipline to their sports. Being at the top of their game, these athletes have built up sizeable wealth from prize monies and endorsements.
10. Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz is a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. He was selected the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft after fellow quarterback Jared Goff.
Having played for four professional seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Wentz was signed to a contract extension in June 2019 worth $128 million over four years. The deal included a $16.4 million sign-on bonus and an option bonus of $30 million payable in March 2020.
Born December 30, 1992, this young quarterback stands at 1.96 m in height and weighs 237 pounds. A graduate of North Dakota State University, Wentz played five college seasons before joining NLF. He holds Eagles single-season franchise records for passing yards, completions, and touchdowns.
In addition to his $128 million contract, he has strong endorsement contracts with Nike, NRG, Bobcat, Amazon, Sanford Health, Bose, Scheels and BlackRidge Bank.
With a personal worth of $45 million, Carson Wentz is among the richest athletes in the world.
9. Kirk Cousins
In 2018, Kirk Daniel Cousins signed to a three-year fully guaranteed $84 million contract as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. The contract made him at the time the highest-paid player on a per-year basis in the history of NFL.
In 2020, Cousins signed a two-year $66 million contract extension that included a $30 million sign-on bonus. Cousins plays quarterback for the Vikings but previous to Vikings, he was signed to the Washington Redskins.
Cousins holds a number of Redskins records, including three of the four highest single-season passing yards total in franchise history.
Born August 19, 1988, Cousins went to Michigan State where he played four seasons of college football before turning professional in the 2012 NFL draft.
Cousins is estimated to have built a net-worth of $70 million and is just a smidgen ahead of fellow quarterback, Wentz.
8. Stephen Curry
Named twice as NBA Most Valuable Player and winning three NBA Championships with the Golden State Warriors, Wardell Stephen Curry II is the son of a former NBA player, Wardell Stephen Dell Curry, and older brother of current NBA player Seth. Curry played college basketball for the Davidson Wildcats of the Davidson College in North Carolina.
Signed on NBA’s first $200 million contract in 2017, Curry has the distinction of having the league’s top salary for the last three seasons.
Curry owns an investment management company SC30 which manages his investments, brand partnerships, and philanthropic ventures. He also owns a production company called Unanimous Media that has a deal with Sony Pictures.
With $130 million to his name, Stephen Curry is reportedly the fifth wealthiest athlete in the world. He was born March 14, 1988.
7. Kevin Durant
An NBA player, Kevin Wayne Durant was selected as the second overall pick by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2007 NBA draft.
He played a total of nine seasons with the franchise (which became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008) before signing with Golden State Warriors in 2016.
Born September 29, 1988, Durant was a sought-after high school prospect regarded as the second-best player in his high school class. Standing at 2.06 meters already during the 2006-2007 college season, Durant played for the University of Texas.
In 2019, Durant signed a four-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets valued at $164 million. In addition to the contract, Durant has also made approximately $35 million from sponsors and he has reportedly also invested in some 40 businesses, including the investing app Acorns. His personal fortune is estimated to be $175 million, making him the fourth richest athlete in the world.
Durant also owns his own media company that has deals with ESPN, Apple, Showtime, and Fox and has over 800,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel.
Signed to Paris Saint-Germain until June 2022, Neymar is on contract for $350 million. He transferred from Barcelona to PSG and is the world’s most expensive transfer at the time at $263 million.
This Brazilian soccer player is the second most popular athlete on social media with over 240 million followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
He has an endorsement portfolio worth some $25 million with Nike’s Jordan Brand and in March 2020, Nike’s film unit released a movie about Neymar’s life.
Neymar first came to prominence at Santos Futebol Clube of the city of Santos in Brazil. He won for the club two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil, and the 2011 Copa Libertadores. After Neymar was named the South American Footballer of the Year in 2011 and 2012, he relocated to Europe to join Barcelona.
Born February 5, 1992, Neymar has the honor of being the fourth wealthiest athlete in the worth with a staggering total wealth of $225 million.
5. Lionel Messi
With a record of six Ballon d’Or awards, and a record of six European Golden Shoes, Lionel Messi is often considered the best player in the world and one of the greatest players of all time.
Currently playing for Barcelona on a contract through 2020-2021, Messi is reported paid $80 million annually, and he also has a life-long endorsement contract with Adidas worth about $30 million. This Argentinian born superstar soccer player launched his own clothing line and retail outlet called The Messi Store in 2019 in Barcelona.
In February 2020, he was awarded the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, becoming the first-ever footballer and the first team sport athlete to win the award. The award is equivalent to the Oscars of the sports world.
Born June 24, 1987, in Argentina, Lionel Messi has built himself an estimated net worth of $400 million, which places him third place in the world’s richest athletes.
4. Roger Federer
Roger Federer is widely regarded as the world’s greatest tennis player of all time. In 2018, he briefly regained the number one spot in world tennis rankings, being the oldest male tennis player to be so ranked.
This Swiss-born player has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in history for a male player and he had held the world no. 1 spot in the Association of Tennis Professionals rankings for a record total of 310 weeks was the year-end number 1 five times, including more consecutive times.
In tennis, the prize monies are not equivalent to contracts in soccer, the NBA, or NFL. However, endorsements are outsized when compared to the other athletic sports. Federer’s endorsement contracts are reportedly worth over $100 million.
Roger Federer was born August 8, 1981 in Basel, Switzerland and over the course of his world-famous career has amassed a personal fortune of over $450 million, making him the world’s richest athlete.
3. LeBron James
LeBron James has always been in the public eye since he played college basketball. LeBron played for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School where he was marked as a future NBA superstar. He first joined Cleveland in 2003 as the first overall draft pick and was named the 2003-2004 NBA Rookie of the Year. James left Cleveland in 2010 and signed with Miami as a free agent which move he announced in an ESPN special titled The Decision which remains one of the most controversial free-agent decisions in American sports history.
Named four times as NBA’s MVP, James joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 on a $153 million contract. He has also one of the top NBA endorsement portfolio worth over $60 million, and he also owns his own production company, SpringHill Entertainment, and media company, Uninterrupted.
Born December 30, 1984, LeBron James has a personal war chest of some $500 million.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays forward for Serie A club Juventus and is captain of the Portugal national team. Ronaldo has five Ballon d’Or to his name and is considered the best player in the world. He holds the record for the most goals at 130 and has assisted in 40 in the history of the UEFA Champions League.
Ronaldo joined Juventus in 2018 after nine years with Real Madrid. In joining Juventus, he took a pay cut with his four-year contract of $64 million per year. Apparently, within 24 hours of the news that Ronaldo had joined Juventus, Juventus had sold over half a million Ronaldo jerseys, raking in revenues of over $60 million.
Cristiano Ronaldo also has a solid book of endorsement deals worth circa. $45 million. He was born February 5, 1985 and lives in Turin, Italy.
Notwithstanding the pay cut that he took, Ronaldo has accumulated a total wealth of approximately $500 million and is the world’s second-wealthiest athlete.
1. Tiger Woods
Set to be included in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2021, this world-famous golfer is tied for first in PGA Tour Wins and is second in men’s major championships.
Tiger Woods was born December 30, 1975 and turned professional in 1996 at the age of 20. Within a few months, by April 1997m he had won three PGA Tour events on top of winning his first major in the 1997 Masters which he won by 12 strokes!
Woods was ranked the top golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004 and from June 2005 to October 2010. From 2010, onwards, he took a hiatus owing to injuries and personal issues, and his world rankings fell to number 58 in November 2011.
In 2018, Woods made a comeback and clinched his first PGA Tour win in five years and added a fifth green jacket at the 2019 Masters.
Since 1996 when he first turned professional, Tiger Woods has reportedly made more than $1.5 billion from endorsements, appearances, and course design-fees. He is estimated to command a personal fortune of $800 million.