Top 30 Richest Athletes Of All Time (2021)

Richest Athletes

Most people know that professional athletes tend to make a lot of money. But how much exactly do they make? Do they have any other interests besides sports? You may not be surprised by the size of their salaries, but their outside interests may surprise you. 

Top 30 Richest Athletes In The World

This list will go over the top 30 richest athletes in the world. You should know quite a few of them as they are obviously big names. Here is the list:

30. Kimi Raikkonen – $250 Million

Kimi Raikkonen
Credits: EssentiallySports

Kimi Raikkonen is a Finnish race car driver born in 1979. He began his Formula One career in 2001. Kimi drove for several teams such as Sauber- Petronas, McLaren Mercedes, and in 2007 he became the highest-paid Formula One driver after becoming the driver for Ferrari with an annual salary of $51 million.

In 2007 he also won the Formula One World Drivers Championship for the first time. In 2009 he also competed in the World Rally Championship while he was with Citroen Junior Team. He competed again in both 2010 and 2011. Kimi also competed in NASCAR.

Kimi ended up coming back to Formula One racing and as of 2019 is the driver for Alfa Romeo. His current net worth is $250 million.

29. Grant Hill – $250 Million

Grant Hill
Credits: SportingNews

Grant Hill was a professional American basketball player who was born on October 5, 1972, and retired on June 1, 2013. Grant played basketball while he was attending Duke University and was picked by the Detroit Pistons after his graduation from Duke in 1994.

He also played for the Los Angeles Clippers, The Phoenix Suns, and the Orlando Magic. During his NBA career, Grant earned $140M in salary and approx. another $120 million in endorsements. His current net worth is $250 million. 

28. Gary Player – $250 Million

Gary Player
Credits: NYTimes

Gary Player was born on November 1, 1935, in South Africa and was a professional golfer who has since retired. Player is held by many to be the best if not one of the best golfers ever. He has won 18 championships over the course of his career and earned his spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

Player has designs for over 400 golf courses around the world and has either co-written or authored 36 books on the subject of golf. He has also helped establish educational facilities for underprivileged students. He currently has a net worth of $250 million. 

27. Lewis Hamilton – $285 Million

Lewis Hamilton
Credits: Wikipedia

Lewis Hamilton is a British athlete and professional Formula One racer for Mercedes-AMG Petronas. Many people hold him to be one of the best, if not the best Formula One drivers in the history of Formula One racing.

He currently makes $50 million annually with $40 million of that coming in the form of an annual salary from Mercedes. He currently has a net worth of $285 million.

26. Paul Caddick – $300 Million

Paul Caddick
Credits: Caddick Construction

Paul Caddick is a British rugby player who retired in 1980. He graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a civil engineering degree in 1974 and founded Caddick Group PLC. Caddick became heavily involved with the development of the commercial property.

He was involved in the development of the Wakefield 41 Business Park. Caddick also acquired Leeds CF&A Co Ltd in 1996 which also included Headingly Stadium.

Although his time is primarily spent with his business ventures since retirement, he enjoys sports, especially shooting as well as rugby during his free time. He currently has a net worth of $300 million.

25. George Foreman – $300 Million

George Foreman
Credits: aarp

George Foreman is an American boxer who retired in 1997. The vast majority of his fortune has come due to the sales of a very popular grill. Foreman has won the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship twice and also has an Olympic gold medal.

Foreman won 76 of 81 fights, which paired with grill sales has helped make him one of the most famous if not the most famous American boxer in the world. Forman currently has a net worth of $300 million.

24. Dale Earnhardt Jr – $300 Million

Dale Earnhardt Jr
Credits: USA Today

Dale Earnhardt Jr is an American NASCAR driver as well as an analyst for NBC. He competed in his first NASCAR race in 1988 a down his first in 2000. Dale also competes in the Nationwide Series and won his first Nationwide Series race in 1998.

Dale is one of NASCAR’s most famous drivers have won 60 races and finishing in the top ten over 300 times as well as having achieved pole position a minimum of 25 times. He currently has a net worth of $300 million.

23.The Rock Dwayne Johnson – $320 Million

Rock Dwayne Johnson
Credits: Independent

The Rock is a former American wrestler and current American actor. He was born in California on May 2, 1972. Dwane went to college at the University of Miami in Florida and joined the college football team. Shortly after college, he decided to take up wrestling and began in WWF.

He made his name in World Wrestling Entertainment wrestling from 1996-2004. Johnson later became a famous American movie actor and had his first leading role in the movie The Scorpion King. Johnson currently has a net worth of $320 million.

22. Jack Nicklaus – $320 Million

Jack Nicklaus

Widely considered one of the greatest professional golfers ever. He has 115 wins at the professional level, has 73 PGA wins, 10 Champions Tour wins, as well as having won the Masters 6 times.

Nicklaus in a professional American golfer with a career lasting 25 years and 113 tournament wins. He has also been heavily involved with designing golf courses charity and as an author. He currently has a net worth of $320 million. 

21. Alex Rodriguez – $350 Million

Credits: FoxBusiness

Alex Rodriguez is an American Baseball player. He has since retired from playing on the professional level. He played for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and the New York Yankees.

His very first position in professional baseball was a shortstop in 1994. He received great achievements in his professional career including league MVP. His annual salary is $33 million with a net worth of $350 million.

20. Vinnie Johnson – $400 Million

Richest Athletes - Vinnie Johnson
Credits: CelebrityNews

Vinnie Johnson was a professional basketball player born in New York. He played college basketball for Baylor University. Johnson was picked up by the Seattle SuperSonics who he played from  1979-1981.

After being traded to the Pistons from the SuperSonics, he won two championships. When Johnson retired he had over 11,000 career points. He has a net worth of $400 million. 

19. Shaquille O’ Neal – $400 Million

Shaquille O’ Neal
Credits: Shaquille O’ Neal

Shaq is a former American basketball player. He was picked by the Orlando Magic in 1992 shortly after that he was selected as the Rookie of the Year and was also voted as an All Star-starter. One of Shaq’s most dominant traits is his height.

He stands at over seven feet tall which was used to his advantage over his opponents. Shaq retired after the 2011 season and currently has an annual salary of $60 million and a net worth of $400 million. 

18. Phil Mickelson – $400 Million

Phil Mickelson
Credits: Forbes

Professional American golfer, Phil Mickelson is one of the most successful American golfers. In 1991 Mickelson won his first PGA event. After 13 years of being in the PGA Mickelson won his first major championship.

Mickelson has to undergo surgery twice in 2016 but was able to recover quickly. In 2020 Mickelson played in the Saudi Arabian event and came in third place. He has over 40 wins throughout his career and is well paid for it. His annual salary is $50 million. Phil Mickelson has a net worth of $400 million.

17. Lionel Messi – $400 Million

Richest Athletes - Lionel Messi

When Lionel Messi was 17 years of age he became the youngest person to ever play as well as the score for FC Barcelona.

Messi was the youngest Argentinian ho has ever played in the FIFA World Cup, thus when he scored during the World Cup, he became the youngest Argentinian to score in it as well. He also competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics winning a gold medal.

He set the record as the highest scorer of all time for Barcelona and is also held by many newspapers such as the Marca as the greatest in the world. His current salary is $80 million annually with a net worth of $400 million. 

16. Greg Norman – $400 Million

Greg Norman

Professional Australian golfer Greg Norman is regarded as the top golfer in the world and has officially held that title or been in contention for it for more than 300 weeks and has nearly 90 tournament wins under his belt.

His professional golfing career kicked off in 1976 and it was during that year in which he won the WesLet Lakes Classic. Norman has numerous international wins in various countries such as Scotland, France, and the United Kingdom.

In 1981 Norman was leading in the amount of money won while on the European tour. But golfing is not his only interest. Greg Norman is also a successful businessman and well known for the charity work he does. Norman’s net worth is $400 million. 

15. Roger Federer – $450 Million

Richest Athletes - Roger Federer
Credits: The Guardian

Professional Swiss tennis player Roger Federer was the youngest player to make the ATP’s top 100 list. He has competed in the Olympics making it to the semi-finals.

Federer became the number one ranked tennis player, a title which he held for 237 straight weeks. Roger Federer currently receives an annual salary of $70 million with a net worth of $450 million. 

14. David Beckham – $450 Million

Richest Athletes - David Beckham
Credits: HelloMagazine

David Beckham retired from professional soccer in 2013. Beckham was 17 years old when he debuted for Manchester United. He played for Manchester United for nine seasons winning six titles.

He played for Manchester United until he was traded to Madrid Real in 2003. In 2007 Beckham went to the Los Angeles Galaxy and became the highest-paid Major League Soccer player.

Beckham was also captain of the English national football team. Beckham currently earns an annual salary of $50 million and has a net worth of $450 million. 

13. Eddie Jordan – $465 Million

Eddie Jordan
Credits: EsquireMe

Eddie Johnson is a retired Irish race car driver and businessman. He founded the Jordan Grand Prix and is a BBC analyst on the Formula One sport. Eddie began racing when he was on strike and ended up buying his own kart to race with.

However, he soon quit racing in favor of taking on a management role over other racing teams. Eddie sold his team in 2005 due to both legal as well as financial trouble. His current net worth is valued at $465 million. 

12. LeBron James – $480 Million

LeBron James
Credits: Yahoo Sports

LeBron James is a famous American professional basketball player. LeBron got into basketball at an early age. When he was in elementary school he showed promise on the court and continued to play through high school. 

He became the youngest person to join the USA Today All USA first team and even became the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

LeBron James was selected in 2003 to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron was the youngest person to have been voted as Rookie of the Year and even went on to win bronze for the United States in the 2004 Olympics and gold in the 2008 Olympics. His current salary is $100 million annually. LeBron also has a net worth of $480 million. 

11. Cristiano Ronaldo – $500 million

Richest Athletes - Cristiano Ronaldo
Credits: Yahoo Sports

Cristiano Ronaldo is a professional soccer player from Portugal. There is an active debate as to who is actually the best soccer player, Ronaldo or Messi. His debut was with Sporting Lisbon’s first team who he played for during his first season.

For his second season, he played for Manchester United and later on played for Real Madrid and numerous wins throughout his career. His current salary is $64 million annually. He also has a $500 million net worth.

10. Floyd Mayweather – $560 Million

Richest Athletes - Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather is a famous professional American boxer. Floyd holds a top-five position in the richest athletes in the world with his career earnings having eclipsed $1 billion.

Unlike many other richest athletes who are in the top five for the highest paid, the majority of Mayweather’s net worth actually comes from his fight earnings and not very little from endorsements. There were really two fights which made up the bulk of his earnings.

The first of those fights were in 2015 against Manny Pacquiao from which he earned $250 million. The second fight took place in 2017 when Mayweather went up against Conor McGregor, his earnings from this fight were $300 million. 

9. Roger Staubach – $600 Million

Roger Staubach
Credits: USA Today

Roger Staubach is a former quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Staubach served in the United States Navy. He volunteered to serve in Vietnam for one year. Aside from the time he spent in Vietnam Staubach served the rest of his career with the United States Navy back in the United States.

He also played football while he was in the service. He was selected to play for the Dalla Cowboys in 1964, but this was a selection for future seasons and he did not actually play for the Cowboys until 1969.

Staubach led the Cowboys to their first Superbowl victory in 1972. He spent 11 seasons with the NFL before retiring in 1980. Staubach has a net worth of $600 million. 

8. Michael Schumacher – $600 Million

Richest Athletes - Michael Schumacher
Credits: Essentially Sports

Michael Schumacher was a German racer who competed in Formula One. Although he retired from the sport in 2006. His first Formula One competition was during the Belgian Grand Prix which took place in 1991. He had his first winning season in 1994.

Michael produced a number of success including taking team Scuderia Ferrari S.P.A to the championships and winning. Schumacher came back out of retirement in 2012.

Unfortunately, this was short-lived as he suffered a medical incident in 2013. He has a current listed annual salary of $50 million and a net worth of $600 million. 

7. Magic Johnson – $600 Million

Magic Johnson
Credits: NBA

Magic Johnson was a professional American basketball player who retired after the 1995-1996 basketball season. Magic was picked by the Los Angeles Lakers. From 1980-1988 Magic and the Lakers won five championships.

Magic was even selected as MVP of the finals and MVP in 1987, 1989, and 1990. Magic’s career as a professional basketball player ended in 1991 when he contracted HIV. However, he did return to coach the LA Lakers during their 1993-1994 season.

Initially, the team was performing well with Johnson as their head coach, but after losing five games in a row Johnson decided to resign his position as the head coach of the Lakers once the season ended. Magic Johnson’s net worth is listed at $600 million. 

6. Junior Bridgeman -$600 Million

Junior Bridgeman
Credits: Fortune

Junior Bridgeman was a professional basketball player in the United States until he retired in 1988. Junior played for two different teams over the course of his career. He spent ten years with Milwaukee and the other two years he spent with the Clippers.

He currently holds the record for most games played for Milwaukee which stands at 711. Bridgeman is also a successful businessman. While he was still playing basketball professionally he decided to purchase his first Wendy’s franchise.

At the point of his retirement, Junior owned three different Wendy’s locations. He had founded Bridgeman Food Inc. which grew quickly under his management. He currently has a net worth of $600 million.

5. Tiger Woods – $800 Million

Tiger Woods

Is a professional golfer in the United States. Tiger showed promise in golf at a young age winning many events geared towards young players. Woods was ranked as the best golfer in the world from 1999-2004 and regained that title from 2005-2010 after winning 13 championships.

Woods has been selected as the PGA player of the year more than ten times and was awarded for having the lowest adjusted score nearly 10 times. He was also the youngest person who achieved the Grand Slam and won 18 World golf championships.

Woods’s current annual salary has hovered between $50 million and $60 million on average. Woods also has a net worth of $800 million.

4. Anna Kasprzak – $1 Billion

Richest Athletes - Anna Kasprzak
Credits: Celebrity Net Worth

Anna Kasprzak is a dressage rider who was born in Germany. She competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics and again in 2016 as well as other various European competitions. Anna has earned several bronze medals from her competitions around Europe.

Her father built the ECCO shoe company in 1963. The company grosses over $1.5 billion in revenue on an annual basis. Upon her father’s death in 2004 Anna inherited the majority share in the company. She has a net worth of $1 billion.

3. Ion Tiriac – $1.2 Billion

Ion Tiriac
Credits: Bloomberg

Ian Tiriac is a professional ice hockey/tennis player from Romania. He as a successful tennis player, however, he was much more successful in his business ventures.

And for quite some time he held the number one spot of richest former athletes who played at the professional level. But over recent years his net worth has slipped while Michael Jordan’s net worth continued on an upward trajectory.

During his tennis career, he won several championships and even made it to the Quarter Finals of the French Open in 1968. Ian also played doubles winning over 20 titles. He also competed in several international competitions bringing several gold medals in tennis. Ion Tiriac’s current net worth is currently listed at $1.2 billion. 

2. Vince McMahon – $1.5 Billion

Richest Athletes - Vince McMahon
Credits: eWrestlingNews

Vince McMahon has occasionally dabbled in professional wrestling. However, most of his success comes from the business side.

He is the CEO as well as the majority shareholder of WWE. In his early career, he worked for his father who was the founder of WWE and provided commentary as well as in-ring announcing.

The company continued to grow until the death of his father in 1984 when Vince and his wife obtained control of WWE. Vince grew the company and wrestling into the household name that it is today. Although wrestling was not his primary job, he has competed in several championships. His current net worth sits at $1.5 billion.

1. Michael Jordan – $2.2 Billion

Richest Athletes - Michael Jordan
Credits: Insider

Michael Jordan is perhaps the most famous American basketball player I history. Michael Jordan was picked by the Chicago Bulls in 1984. After signing Jordan on the to the team the Bulls attendance doubled.

His total career earnings from basketball totals $161 million once adjusted for inflation. Jordan makes most of his money from endorsements with his Nike endorsement alone topping $100 million annually after the royalty he earned on Air Jordans jumped from 25 cents per shoe sold to $4 per shoe sold.

He also maintains an ownership stake of 89.5% in the Hornets which were valued between $500 million and $600 million. Jordan has appeared on various TV commercials and even stared in the movie Space Jam. Michael Jordan’s current net worth sits at $2.2 billion. 

Top 30 Richest Athletes in the World (Rankings)

Final Words

Many athletes on this list have major interests outside of sports and it seems to be paying off in spades. It is surprising to find out how many athletes actually go into business.

It can be even more surprising that a number of them make more money off of their business ventures than they do the actual sport. This just goes to show that many of these people have talents outside of sports. Who is your favorite athlete from the list? Comment down below!

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