Aside from their contracts/deals with their respective teams/clubs, professional athletes often have other ways to earn money. Some make great investments. Others have lucrative sponsorships from various organizations. Many earn millions from avenues that don't involve playing their sports.
A recent list from an article by Kurt Badenhausen revealed which athletes have made the most money over the course of their careers. Joe Pompliano shared the first 10 of the list on Twitter. There are two basketball players Michael Jordan is at the top, both in the Inflation Adjusted Earnings section and in the Non-Inflation Adjusted Earnings section tallying over $2 billion dollars in each category. LeBron James came in at No. 7, tallying slightly over $1 billion in each earnings category.
Other athletes on the list include soccer legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, coming in at No. 5 and No. 8 respectively. The three slots after Jordan's No. 1 are taken up by three golfers, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Floyd Mayweather is a well-known boxer with a stellar career, and he unsurprisingly is featured as well. The rest of the list is rounded out by Michael Schumacher (racing) and Roger Federer (tennis).
It's certainly wild to think about the crazy amount of money that these athletes earned. They are all certainly skilled at their sports, and sports are amazing entertainment and a huge industry. It makes sense that they are all highly compensated but the exact amounts are staggering.
While basketball isn't the biggest world in the sport, Michael Jordan being on the top of the list and LeBron James being No. 7 only shows how popular it is. Under Adam Silver's tenure as commissioner, the NBA has become a truly global league. Hopefully, the NBA continues to expand its reach internationally, and there's no question that there's a lot of growth potential for the league.