These athletes may have all played different sports, from basketball to golf. But they have at least one thing in common: all of them made bank. Here's a ranking of the sports icons who earned the most.
40. Evander Holyfield: $1M
This former professional boxer received millions of dollars during his successful time in the ring. But unfortunately, due to his financial issues, Evan Holyfield lost a large chunk of his earnings. Today, he is said to have roughly one million dollars in the bank, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
But before Holyfield was in debt, he was walking home with the big bucks. During his now-infamous fight with Mike Tyson, where his ear was bitten off, he received roughly $34 million, making it the biggest payday he ever had. But we're not sure if it was worth losing a body part…
39. Mike Tyson: $10M
At one point during his intense career, Mike Tyson wasn't just arguably the most well-known professional boxer but was also the highest-paid one. Yet today, the retired athlete is said to have a net worth of roughly $10 million dollars, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Despite walking home with around $430 million thanks to his powerful abilities in the ring and his various endorsements, Tyson quickly ran through his money, and in 2003 he officially declared bankruptcy. “I had everything, and now I’m $60 million in debt,” he once confessed in his podcast Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson.
38. Kevin Garnett: $120M
Kevin Garnett has broken records with the amount of zero's that have been placed on his paychecks. The former professional basketball star broke an NBA record when his salary reached $334 million over the course of his 22-year long career, based on Forbes reports.
The once youngest person to ever be drafted into the NBA at just 19 years old has been valued to have nearly $120 million in the bank by Celebrity Net Worth. This doesn't come as a surprise knowing how successful he was. Garnett helped the Celtics win the championship during his very first year playing with them.
37. Andrew Agassi: $145M
Andrew Agassi is arguably among the best-known male tennis players. After all, he is one out of two of the only male athletes in the sport to ever be given a Career Golden Slam. And at one point, the retired athlete was ranked as the number one player in the field.
It seems like all of his hard work over the years paid off (literally) because today, Agassi is valued to be worth roughly $145 million dollars, according to Celebrity Net Worth. This makes him one of the highest-earning athletes around. And back in 2006, when he retired, he was the second-highest-paid tennis player.
36. Derek Jeter: $200M
With a hefty salary of $30 million, it makes sense why Derek Jeter made his way onto the list of the highest-earning athletes. His time in baseball has been well worth it because today, Jeter sits atop $200 million dollars, according to records from Celebrity Net Worth.
While a big chunk of that is thanks to his regular salary throwing around a ball, he has received at least $150 million from just his endorsements. "There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do – and I believe that," Jeter credited his success to his diligence.
35. Oscar De La Hoya: $200M
Former professional boxer Oscar De La Hoya's successful career has him valued at $200 million dollars - as estimated by Celebrity Net Worth. From being nicknamed The Golden Boy to being the youngest boxer to walk home with 5 world titles at 28, he quickly became one of the greats in the industry.
Back in the day, he was even the highest pay-per-view earner, according to sportskeeda, who claimed he earned nearly $700 million just from those bonuses. In 2009, he officially retired but not before walking away with one of the highest paychecks of $35 million after fighting Manny Pacquiao in 2008.
34. Jeff Gordon: $200M
Racecar driver, Jeff Gordon, has made the big bucks during his career, landing him a spot on the list of highest-paid athletes. Based on reports from Celebrity Net Worth, each year, he receives roughly $20-30 million from both endorsements and also his regular salary!
After all the years he spent cruising behind the wheel, fans would assume that he has more than just $200 million in the bank. Well, as it turns out, based on the above website, Gordon made a total of $520 million race car driving, but thanks to his divorce settlement with ex-wife Brooke Gordon, that amount dropped.
33. Manny Pacquiao: $220M
Manny Pacquiao has been referred to as one of the best "pound for pound" boxers of all time. This may be because the professional athlete was the only boxer to be an eight-division world champion. But that's not all: Pacquiao has also taken home the championship in 5 different weight classes. Talk about impressive!
According to Celebrity Net Worth, the boxer is one of the highest-paid athletes, with a net worth of $220 million. His biggest payday was from the highly anticipated match against Floyd Mayweather in 2015. With the pay-per-view bonus earning along with his ensured paycheck, he walked away with $130 million just that night.
32. Tom Brady: $250M
As the only football player to ever take home 7 Superbowl wins, it only makes sense that Tom Brady is bringing in the big bucks. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the Buccaneers quarterback secured a whopping $250 million with his playing contracts, endorsements, and business endeavors over the years.
But despite the many zeros that probably appear on his checks, Brady is in the sports industry for more than just the income flow. "I really do just want to win, and that has and will continue to be the reason that motivates me and is the biggest factor in my decision-making process," he confessed.
31. Serena Williams: $250M
Arguably one of the greatest female tennis players to ever play the sport is Serena Williams. Since the young age of 14, the athlete has been perfecting her skills, and it seems like it was all worth it because today, her average salary reaches upwards of $30-40 million dollars per year.
Back in 2019, her bank account balance went up by $35 million, and only 15 of that was from her playing the actual game, the rest of the $25 million was from endorsements! Thanks to her high earnings, Williams is sitting on $250 million, as reported by Celebrity Net Worth.
30. Grant Hill: $250M
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Grant Hill earned $140 million just in salary during his eighteen years with the NBA. Add another roughly $120 million in endorsements, and we've got ourselves a hefty amount.
Hill became a total superstar on the court when he played college ball for Duke. The athlete then went on to join the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Clippers. Thanks to all of those checks and continued business ventures, Celebrity Net Worth puts his value at roughly $250 million.
29. Peyton Manning: $250M
Various sources report that before retirement, Manning raked in upwards of $40 million a year thanks to his NFL salary and countless endorsement deals. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that his total career earnings while with the pros came in at a little under $600 million.
Not too shabby! Since leaving the NFL, Peyton has continued partnerships with companies from Sony to DirecTV and even owns twenty-one Papa John's pizza franchises. According to Celebrity Net Worth, all of that business has secured him a net worth of roughly $250 million.
28. Gary Player: $250M
By the time Gary was 30 years old, he had a US Open win under his belt and had completed the Grand Slam, AKA winning four championships all in one year. Player is considered by some to be one of the best golfers in history. Today, he boasts a net worth of $250 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.
This former golf star's key to success? Facing hardships. "Adversity makes you a champion," Gary said. "Adversity makes your marriage better. Adversity makes you a better businessman, a better father, a better mother. We got to be thankful for adversity."
27. Fernando Alonso: $260M
Up next is Fernando Alonso. This man with a need for speed has raced for Alpine, Renault, McLaren, and more in Formula One. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the 40-year-old makes about $40 million a year once his salary and endorsements are added up.
All that moolah - and his $260 million net worth, as reported by Celebrity Net Worth - earns him a spot on this list of highest-paid athletes. Alonso has also done some good with his money: he was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2005 and has his own foundation.
26. Lewis Hamilton: $285M
Hamilton is another speedy driver with plenty in the bank. The British racer is viewed by some as the best in his field - and he's got the salary to prove it. Sites report that Lewis makes about $40 million a year thanks to his contract with Formula One team Mercedes-AMG Petronas.
The athlete makes an estimated $10 million more annually in endorsements. Not bad for a 36-year-old. Thanks to years and years of championships and success, Lewis now sits on an estimated net worth of $285 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth's estimations.
25. Hakeem Olajuwon: $300M
It's hardly surprising to see this money-maker on a list of wealthy athletes. Hakeem led the Houston Rockets to NBA championships two years in a row and played for the Olympic US team in 1996, just to name a few of his accomplishments. According to reports, Olajuwon made $110 million in salary alone during his time with the pros.
Today, Celebrity Net Worth puts his value at about $300 million. The '90s basketball icon has managed to maintain - and grow - his wealth thanks to twenty years of successful real estate purchases. Hakeem initially used his basketball earnings to kick off buying houses.
24. George Foreman: $300M
This World Boxing Hall of Famer has a hefty net worth of about $300 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. And while he made some millions as a boxer, the majority of George's wealth has come from the famous Foreman Grill. Reports estimate the athlete has made over $200 million from the product.
After a lifetime of victories and successful ventures, Foreman had no issue picking his most memorable moment: winning an Olympic gold medal in the 1968 Olympics. "Let me tell you, there has been nothing that comes close to the feeling I had as a 19-year-old boy who's never had a dream come true," George shared. "That was spectacular."
23. Dale Earnhardt Jr: $300M
For this man, racing is in the genes. His maternal grandpa, Robert Gee Sr., built NASCAR cars. And Dale's father, Earnhardt Sr., was a top-notch racer with 76 Nascar Cup Series wins and 21 Nascar Xfinity Series wins. Being a champ is just part of Dale's DNA.
Earnhardt Jr. is semi-retired, competing only part-time in the Xfinity Series. But he continues raking in the big bucks as a media personality, NASCAR team owner, and Nascar analyst for NBC. Celebrity Net Worth calculates his value as about $300 million.
22. Alex Rodriguez: $350M
Before Rodriguez made headlines for his relationship - and breakup - with Jennifer Lopez, he was known for his talent and scandal as a Yankees player. Alex earned hundreds of millions in the MLB and continued making bank post-retirement thanks to his successful investment company.
Rodriguez's motivation to continue working hard after 22 seasons in the MLB? "It was fear," he admitted. "For me, it was simple; it was fear. I did not want to be another unfortunate negative statistic of athletes and entertainers that get into financial issues once they retire."
21. Vinnie Johnson: $400M
Vinnie Johnson wowed basketball lovers with his talent on the court. But the real magic happened post-retirement when Vinnie turned a few million he had left from his NBA career into a multi-million dollar empire called Piston Group. The automobile supplier was an instant success.
Piston Group became a supplier for the likes of General Motors and Ford, and Johnson's net worth quickly skyrocketed. Today, Celebrity Net Worth values him at around $400 million, making Vinnie one of the most successful athletes-turned-entrepreneur.
20. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: $400M
There was a time when The Rock only had seven dollars to his name. "I had been sulking on the sofa just watching trashy TV," he recalled. "I decided there and then that, even if it wasn't in football, the world was still going to hear from me. That's pretty much where my wrestling career started."
And it's been up, up, and away ever since. Johnson became a WWF champion thanks to his villainous character, The Rock. And after a 2000's SNL hosting gig, Dwayne's acting career took off. Today, all of his accomplishments culminate in a net worth of $400 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
19. Shaquille O'Neal: $400M
It's far from shocking to see this name on a list of rich athletes. During his time in the NBA, Shaquille made nearly $300 million in salary and another $200 million in endorsements, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Today, he sits on about $400 million.
"To achieve greatness means to maximize your potential at the highest possible level and the highest possible rate," O'Neal said. "I don't really consider myself the best, but the fact that people consider me the best I take as a great honor and as testament to the hard work and what I was able to achieve."
18. Phil Mickelson: $400M
According to Celebrity Net Worth, this golf player's career earnings reach over $800 million, making him one of the highest-paid athletes. The San-Diego-born star now boasts a net worth of roughly $400 million, as per the site. And it's all from the love for the game.
"I just love this game of golf, and I love what I do, and I love the challenge of competing against such great players," Mickelson said after winning the PGA Championship at age 50 in 2021. "This might be my last win, but I also might go on a bit of a run."
17. Jack Nicklaus: $400M
With eighteen major championships under his belt, Jack Nicklaus lands a comfortable spot on this list. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the golfer has a net worth of $400 million and made over - wait for it - a billion dollars during his golfing career. But Jack admits he's far from perfect.
"Sometimes, I'm an ogre. I can be short. I'll walk into the office some days, and I've gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, and everybody knows it," Niklaus revealed. "I'm a perfectionist. I like to be organized, and I like to get everything done today."
16. Greg Norman: $400M
Taking the next spot on this list of wealthy athletes is another talented golf star. The Australian athlete has ninety tournament wins on his record and has been ranked the number one golfer worldwide. His net worth is now $400 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
His trick to golfing success? Keeping in touch with the "little man." "I always had a little man in my head," Greg shared. "And I'd walk around, saying, 'Hey little man, are you ready to go? Are you falling asleep? You ready to play?' It's important to have those kinds of conversations during your game."
15. Floyd Mayweather: $450M
Floyd Mayweather might just be the richest boxer of all time. With a salary of up to $300 million per fight and more than a billion earnings in total, it's not hard to see why. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Floyd is valued at $450 million. And it's no secret he wants to be remembered as the "best ever."
"Ali said he was the greatest of all time, but I say I'm the best ever," Floyd explained. "You know, everybody had a slogan, and once you beat people over the head with it so much, then that's what you'll eventually be called once you retire from the sport."
14. David Beckham: $450M
Bend it like Beckham, and you might just end up with a couple hundred million in the bank. During his time on the field, David became one of the highest-earning players. Celebrity Net Worth puts his current worth at around $450 million. "I'm proud of the fact that I've come so far," the soccer star shared.
"I could easily have gone in the other direction," he continued. "There were certain moments, like the sending-off in '98 or kicking out at someone to reacting in a certain way, when I could have gone off the rails. Those things could have affected me in a way that I might not have had the career that I had."
13. LeBron James: $500M
It's hard to imagine today's NBA without the impact of the one-and-only LeBron James. According to Celebrity Net Worth, this basketball icon has a net worth of roughly $500 million. But no matter how much money he has, the Spac Jam: A New Legacy star wants to stay humble.
"I've set myself up for life, and we learn more and more how to make sure we're set for the rest of our lives," James shared. "I never worry that everything could wash away now. I stay humble because tomorrow isn't promised, and you never know what may happen."
12. Cristiano Ronaldo: $500M
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most famous faces in the soccer world today. So it should come as no surprise that his salary and net worth are in the high millions. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the athlete earns about $120 million a year and has a whopping net worth of $500 million.
Years (and many dollars) after starting his athletic career, Cristiano still loves soccer as much as ever. "I'm still happy and enjoying football," he shared. "It doesn't matter how many things I won in my career. I win everything, but I'm still motivated. I'm in a new chapter of my life, even with my age, and this is why I am here - to try to win."
11. Roger Federer: $550M
Taking the next spot on this ranking of rich athletes is tennis star, Roger Federer. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he made around $70 million a year in salary alone and now sits on a net worth of $550 million. But even Federer sometimes loses - and when he does, the athlete makes sure not to get too upset about it.
"I've always said that criticism can be used as fuel," he explained. "Whatever works for you, you need to do it. But I'm not like that. For me, just being on the court is enough. And let's say I lose in the finals, I still get together with my team and my friends, and I'm like, 'That was a good week.'"
10. Kobe Bryant: $600M
Before Kobe Bryant's untimely passing, he became one of the highest-paid athletes of all time, as reported by Forbes. According to the publication, the sports icon made around $800 million throughout his career. And Celebrity Net Worth put his net worth at $600 million.
Before his passing, Kobe had kicked off his post-NBA career: overseeing a story-telling production company, Granity, and a training center, Mamba Sports Academy. "You got to do what you love to do," Bryant said at the time. "I love telling stories. I love inspiring kids or providing them with tools that are going to help them."
9. Roger Staubach: $600M
Thanks to his spectacular playing throughout his eleven seasons with the team, Roger Staubach became a Dallas Cowboys icon. And after retiring from the NFL, he started his own real estate business. Today, Celebrity Net Worth values him at a whopping $600 million.
"[Building a business] had some similarities with football because you are always on edge in football and getting ready for the next game," Roger commented. "In business, [the game] kind of keeps going on and on and on. If I didn't have the excitement of building a business, I think I would have missed football even more."
8. Michael Schumacher: $600M
"100% perfection, to reach 100%, that's my target, I am just that kind of person," Michael Schumacher once said. And all of that hard work paid off, both in fame and in the moolah. Celebrity Net Worth reports that the racer is one of a few athletes who made over $1 billion during his career.
Schumacher earned around $80-$100 million annually at the height of his racing life, and a whopping $10 million of that sum came from wearing a Shell hat during appearances. Today, Celebrity Net Worth estimates Michael's net worth to be about $50 million.
7. Magic Johnson: $600M
Up next is Magic, who Celebrity Net Worth calculates sits on a net worth of about $600 million. Johnson was one of the early NBA stars who carved a place for themselves as a businessman and change-maker post NBA, leading the way for others to do the same.
"It was just a natural for me to go back in the community that I grew up in to bring about change, to build businesses, to create jobs for people," he explained. "What was missing right in the Black community was really quality product services and goods."
6. Lionel Messi: $600M
It's hardly surprising to find this soccer legend on our list of wealthy athletes. Per Celebrity Net Worth, Messi has an annual salary of roughly $75 million and current net worth of $600 million. The Argentinian player has been unstoppable since hitting the field as a child.
"I'm happy with everything that has been happening," Messi said. "But, I do have to admit that sometimes I would like to be able to go out unnoticed and enjoy family time without being recognized. I'm not complaining, though, as it's always nice to receive a compliment or a smile or to be asked for a photo."
5. Junior Bridgeman: $600M
Bridgeman is another figure that trailed a path for athletes with business aspirations post-NBA. After leaving the pros, Junior invested in Wendy's food chain franchise and has built a fortune since. And According to Junior, the secret to success is not such a secret.
"The secret was something you knew all along... you had to be committed to what you're going to do, you had to be willing to put in the hard work, and you had to be willing to pick yourself up when things didn't go as you thought and to keep going," he explained. All of that commitment led to Bridgeman's $600 million net worth, as listed by Celebrity Net Worth.
4. Arnold Palmer: $700M
The bank accounts just keep getting bigger and bigger. According to Celebrity Net Worth, this late golfer made over $1.3 billion from endorsements and entrepreneurial ventures during his career. At the time of his passing, Arnold Palmer had a net worth of $700 million.
"I've been very fortunate. The best thing is that I had a father and a mother that made life real for me and gave me the opportunity that I had. My father was a golf professional, so in itself, that was great. Then I was very fortunate to marry a woman who was very considerate."
3. Tiger Woods: $800M
This next athlete has a net worth of $800 million and an average annual salary of $50 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. And while he might not be able to keep on playing - and earning - as he used to because of his car accident, Woods isn't too worried.
"I don't have to compete and play against the best players in the world to have a great life," Woods explained. "I can still participate in the game of golf. I can still - if my leg gets okay - I can still click off a tournament here or there. But as far as climbing... all the way to the top, I don't think that's a realistic expectation of me."
2. Ion Tiriac: $1.2 B
There was a time when Ion Tiriac was considered the richest athlete in the world. But, at the time of this article's writing, someone else takes that spot. Yet we'd say a $1.2 billion net worth, as estimated by Celebrity Net Worth, is still not a bad place to be.
The Romanian former athlete gained popularity as a professional tennis player and led a successful career in business afterward. Tiriac started managing other players and even founded his own bank in Romania, among other commercial and retail ventures.
1. Michael Jordan: $2.2B
"It's not fair, you know, but it's a standard of measurement. When I came in, [it was] Dr. J. It's just a standard of measurement to compare to. But there's never going to be another Michael Jordan," said the man, the myth, the legend himself, Michael Jordan.
This superstar takes the number one spot on our list. And with a net worth of $2.2 billion, as reported by Celebrity Net Worth, we're going to bet his place on this ranking is pretty secure. According to the site, Jordan was the first athlete in history to make more than $30 million a year in salary. He's since turned that into billions.