The crown title of Richest Athlete in the World still belongs to Michael Jordan with US$2,2 billion in career earnings. With salaries, prize money, and endorsement earnings rising higher and higher each year, elite athletes are making more money than ever before. However, as you’ll notice from the contenders below, to truly break the inside the top 10 richest athletes list requires becoming an internationally recognised phenom with celebrity status.
1. Michael Jordan — net worth: US$2,2 billion
Michael Jordan is the world’s richest athlete, and is also considered the greatest player of all time in the NBA. He won six championships with the Chicago Bulls and earned US$90 million in total salary during his career in the NBA. The majority of his wealth (US$1,7 billion) was made from sponsorship deals from companies like Nike, Hanes, and Gatorate, and also from corporate partners and investments. Michael Jordan is now retired, and part owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
2. Ion Tiriac — net worth:
Many millennials have never heard of Ion Tiriac, but he’s a billionaire worth US$1,2 billion and one of the most successful athletes of all time. Ion is a double threat. While his main sport was tennis, he played for Romania in the 1964 Winter Olympics.
He retired in the 1970’s, coached top players for a while, then began his business and investment ventures. Today he runs Tiriac Group, which does business and invests in various different sectors like real estate and financial services.
3. Tiger Woods — net worth: US$800 million
Ever since turning pro in 1996, Tiger Woods has been dominating the PGA tour. Today, he is considered the greatest golfer in history with US$120 million in career earnings. He is the only golfer ever to crack the US$100 million earnings mark. Tiger Woods received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019, was named Sports Illustrated Sports Person of the year in 2000 and 1996, won 82 PGA Tours and made 20 recorded hole in ones.
When you total all of his golf related earnings (such as endorsements, appearance fees, course design fees, etc) he’s earned US$1,5 billion from the game of golf.
4. Magic Johnson — net worth: US$600 million
Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. is considered one of the greatest basketball players to ever live. He played 13 years for the Los Angeles Lakers and retired in 1996 after discovering he had HIV.
Magic Johnson earned US$25 million in salary from his career in the NBA. Most of his wealth came from entrepreneurship and investments after he retired from basketball.
5. Michael Schumacher — net worth: US$600 million
Michael Schumacher is considered to be the most successful Formula 1 racer in history with 7 world championships, and is one of the highest paid athletes of all time. He’s earned an estimated $1 billion from his career. At the peak of his career, he was estimated to be making US$80 to US$100 million per year from driving, and US$50 million per year from endorsements. — Wires.