The highest-paid athletes of all time have played many sports, with basketball, golf, boxing, and soccer being the highest-earning sports. According to Forbes, at the top of the list is none other than six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan, with a net worth of $1.85 billion. Beneath Jordan are a trio of American gold legends; Arnold Palmer ($1.4 billion), Jack Nicklaus ($1.2 billion), and Tiger Woods ($1.7 billion). Have you ever wondered how much all your favorite athletes are worth and who is the richest of them all?
Top 20 richest athletes of all time
we have compiled a list of the twenty richest athletes in the world, with net worth estimates.
20. Phil Mickelson ($400 million)
Phil Mickelson, popularly known as Lefty, is an American professional golfer. He has won 45 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships, two PGA championships, and three master’s titles. Mickelson was one of Tiger Woods’s main rivals during the 1990s. The fifty-two-year-old has achieved a net worth of $400 million during his career through various endorsement deals with Barclays and Workday. Finally, after winning the 2021 PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson became the oldest major championship winner in PGA history.
19. Evander Holyfield ($475 million)
Evander Holyfield is a retired American professional boxer who competed from 1984 to 2011. In the late 1980s, he reigned as the undisputed boxing champion at cruiserweight. Evander’s highest salary is $34 million for his fight against Mike Tyson. However, the match ended abruptly when Mike was disqualified for biting off a piece of Evander’s ear. Nicknamed “The Real Deal,” Holyfield is the only boxer to win the undisputed championship in two weight classes and is the only four-time heavyweight world champion.
18. Kevin Garnett ($480 million)
According to Wikipedia, Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American former professional basketball player who played for 21 seasons in the NBA. He was popularly known as “Big Ticket” for his emphatic athleticism and slam dunks. Garnett is considered one of the best basketball forwards in the National Basketball Association. However, Kevin earned his $480 million net worth during his twenty-two-year professional career playing for the Celtics, Timberwolves, and Nets.
17. Derek Jeter ($490 million)
Derek Sanderson Jeter is an American former professional baseball player and baseball executive. He spent twenty years playing for the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball (MLB). Jeter is a five-time Gold Glove Award winner between 2004 and 2006, 2009 and 2010. Also, in 2022, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 99% of the position. He was also a co-owner of the Miami Marlins in the MLB.
16. Manny Pacquiao ($510 million)
Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, better known as Manny Pacquiao, is a Filipino former professional boxer and politician. Pacquiao is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, being the only eight-division world champion and winning twelve major world titles. He earned the biggest career earnings from him in his 2015 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, where he pocketed around $125 million. In 2010, Pacquiao entered politics and was elected representative of Sarangani. Pacquiao previously served as a Senator of the Philippines from 2016 to 2022.
15. Jeff Gordon ($525 million)
Jeff Michael Gordon is an American former professional stock car racing driver and Vice President of Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon set the current record by winning 93 races during his NASCAR career. He participated in stock car racing from 1993 to 2015, driving the No.24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series. Jeff Gordon is considered one of NASCAR’s most influential stock car drivers.
14. Oscar De La Hoya ($520 million)
Oscar De La Hoya is an American former professional boxer who played the sport from 1992 to 2008. De La Hoya was dubbed “The Golden Boy of Boxing” by the media after representing the state at the 1992 Summer Olympics. his biggest earnings came in 2007 when he fought Floyd Mayweather, pocketing $52 million. Oscar De La Hoya is the 29th greatest American boxer of all time. In 2002, Oscar founded Golden Boy Promotions, a compact sports promotion company. This made him the first Mexican American to own a national boxing promotion company.
13. Alex Rodriguez ($575 million)
Alexander Emmanuel Rodríguez, known as “A-Rod”, is an American former professional baseball shortstop and third baseman. He played twenty-two seasons in Major League Baseball for the Seattle Mariners from 1994 to 2000, the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003, and the New York Yankees from 2004 to 2016. However, Rodríguez is a 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner. , 2009 World Series Champion, 2-time Gold Glove Award winner, and 1996 MLB Wrestling Champion. Since his retirement, he has been working as a CNBC reality show host and as an analyst for Fox Sports. According to Wealthy Gorilla, Alex Rodriguez is believed to be in a relationship with American celebrity Jennifer Lopez.
12. Lionel Messi ($600 million)
Lionel Andrés Messi, also known as Leo Messi, is an Argentine professional footballer who currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, a Ligue 1 club. Messi is often considered the best football player in the world and one of the greatest. He won seven Ballon d’Or awards, five FIFA Player of the Year awards, and six European Golden Shoes. Lionel Messi had played for Barcelona since he was 13 years old. He became a professional footballer and won ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles, and seven Copa del Rey titles. Messi has increased his net worth through various top-tier endorsement deals, such as with Adidas. However, the Argentine also holds the national record for appearances and is the country’s all-time leading goalscorer.
11. Roger Federer ($675 million)
Roger Federer is a Swiss tennis player ranked #1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Federer has won 103 ATP singles titles, placing him second to tennis legend Jimmy Connors. He is also an 8-time Wimbledon men’s singles title winner, a 20-time Grand Slam title winner, and a 13-time winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. In addition to his successful tennis career, Roger is an active philanthropist and has played a key role in the creation of the Laver Cup team competition. Furthermore, he is also the founder of the Roger Federer Foundation, which aims to help poor children in South Africa.
10. Mike Tyson ($700 million)
Michael Gerard Tyson, known as “Iron Mike”, “The Baddest Man on the Planet” and “Kid Dynamite”, is an American former professional boxer who was involved in the sport from 1985 to 2005. Mike Tyson is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in the world. From 1987 to 1990, he reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, winning his first nineteen professional bouts by knockout. He holds the world record for the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title and the first heavyweight boxer to win the WBC, IBF, and WBA titles simultaneously. Finally, at age 51, Mike Tyson reinvented himself as an actor, forming business partnerships around motorcycles, gyms, and gaming.
9. Greg Norman ($705 million)
Gregory John Norman, nicknamed “The Great White Shark,” is an Australian former professional golfer who was ranked No. 1 in the 1980s and 1990s. He has won 20 PGA Tour tournaments and 89 professional tournaments during his professional golfing career. In addition, Norman has received several awards, including; the 1995 PGA Tour Player of the Year, the 2008 Old Tom Morris Award, and the 2008 Charlie Bartlett Award. According to Celebrity Networth, Greg Norman is the current CEO and Chairman of the Greg Norman Company, a global company dealing with real estate, interior design, clothing, and wine production.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo ($725 million)
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer who currently plays as a striker for Manchester United in the Premier League and is the captain of the Portugal national team. The 37-year-old is steadily climbing the charts as the highest-paid athlete in the world, earning $93 million in the last two years. Ronaldo is considered one of the best players, having won five Ballon d’Or awards, four European Golden Shoes, and five UEFA Champions Leagues. The Portuguese international has the most appearances, goals, and assists in the Champions League. However, Ronaldo has increased his net worth through various endorsement deals; Nike headphones, Saccor Brothers Suits, Tag Heuer, and Monster.
7. LeBron James ($730 million)
LeBron Raymone James, nicknamed “King James”, is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. He is considered one of the best basketball players and is often compared to Michael Jordan. James has won four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, two Olympic Gold Medals, four NBA Championships, four NBA Finals MVP Awards, and three All-Star MVP Awards. LeBron holds the record for most points scored in the NBA playoffs and ranks second in the world for most career points from him. He has increased his net worth by associating himself with big companies, such as Coca-Cola, Kia Motor, Nike, and Beats by Dre. However, in 2022, LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to score 10,000 or more points. assists and rebounds in his career.
6. Floyd Mayweather ($785 million)
Floyd Joy Mayweather, nicknamed “Pretty Boy” and “Money”, is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1996 to 2017. He retired from the sport with an undefeated record and won fifteen major world championships. Floyd earned around $200 million plus endorsement deals for his fight against UFC superstar Conor McGregor. However, the 45-year-old owns a team in the NASCAR Cup Series called The Money Team Racing. According to Pledge Sports, Floyd Mayweather is the richest boxer in history.
5. David Beckham ($800 million)
David Robert Joseph Beckham is an English former professional footballer best known for his spectacular free kicks, passing, and crossing ability. Beckham is considered one of the most recognized and great midfielders in football. He is the first English soccer player to win league titles in four countries including; Spain, France, England, and the United States. His professional career began with Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup twice, the 1999 UEFA Championships League, and the English Premier League six times. However, David Beckham is co-owner and current chairman of Salford City and Inter Miami CF.
4. Jack Nicklaus ($1.2 billion)
Jack William Nicklaus, known as “The Golden Bear”, is an American former professional golfer and golf course designer. Nicklaus is considered one of the greatest golfers of all time, winning 117 professional golf tournaments throughout his career. However, Jack Nicklaus is currently the CEO and founder of Nicklaus Design, one of the largest golf course design and construction companies in the world.
3. Arnold Palmer ($1.4 billion)
Arnold Daniel Palmer, or “The King”, is an American professional golfer and one of the greatest and most charismatic golfers. He is a two-time winner of the PGA Player of the Year Award. He is also a four-time winner of the Vardon Trophy Award and the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award. However, according to Men’s Journal, Palmer passed away on September 25, 2016, while awaiting heart surgery at the Pittsburg Medical Center.
2. Tiger Woods ($1.7 billion)
Eldrick Tont Wood, or Tiger Woods, is an American professional golfer who is ranked second in the major men’s championships. He is one of the greatest golfers of all time, he has won fifteen major professional golf championships. He is an eleven-time PGA Player of the Year Award winner, a nine-time Vardon Trophy winner, and a two-time FedEx Cup Champion. However, in November 2021, Tiger Woods indicated that his career as a full-time golfer was over. However, he continues to play on occasion.
1. Michael Jordan ($1.85 billion)
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a professional basketball player and the richest athlete. He played for fifteen seasons in the National Basketball Association, winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. Also, Michael Jordan is the most awarded player in NBA history. Michael Jordan is currently the president and owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. The same goes for the 23XI Racing Team in the NASCAR Cup Series.