Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods Tops List of Highest-Paid Athletes of All Time

Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods Tops List of Highest-Paid Athletes of All Time

Michael Jordan Tiger Woods
(Image: File)

Arguably one of the greatest competitors to play any sport has also come out on top as the highest-paid athlete of all time.

NBA Hall of Famer and six-time champion Michael Jordan, according to a just-released list by Sportico, is the highest-paid athlete of all time. With inflation-adjusted career earnings of $2.62 billion, he tops the list. Professional golfer Tiger Woods is the only other person who comes in over the $2 billion mark with career earnings listed at $2.1 billion.

Amazingly, the bulk of Jordan’s career earnings have come from business deals and endorsements. The contracts he signed with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards account for a feeble 6% of the $2.62 billion. His earnings are based on salaries, endorsements, licensing, and memorabilia payments since he debuted in the NBA in 1984. Although retired for nearly 20 years, Jordan still garners sponsorships as he has ongoing endorsements with Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, and Upper Deck.

Included on the list of “Top 25 Highest-Paid Athletes of All-Time” are Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Tyson, Kevin Durant, Lewis Hamilton, and Derek Jeter.

In the list of “The Top 10 Highest-Paid Athletes of All-Time” (Non-Inflation Adjusted), 4 out of the top 5 are Black athletes. Jordan, Woods, Mayweather, and James.

Rank Athlete Country Sport Turned Pro Inflation-Adjusted Earnings Non-Inflation Adjusted Earnings
1 Michael Jordan 🏀 1984 $2.62B $2.05B
2 Tiger Woods 🏌️‍♂️ 1996 $2.1B $1.66B
3 Arnold Palmer 🏌️‍♂️ 1954 $1.5B $885M
4 Jack Nicklaus 🏌️‍♂️ 1961 $1.38B $830M
5 Cristiano Ronaldo 2002 $1.24B $1.12B
6 Floyd Mayweather 🥊 1996 $1.2B $1.08B
7 LeBron James 🏀 2003 $1.17B $1.05B
8 Lionel Messi 2004 $1.14B $1.05B
9 Michael Schumacher 🏎 1991 $1.13B $780M
10 Roger Federer 🎾 1998 $1.12B $1B
11 Phil Mickelson 🏌️‍♂️ 1992 $1.08B $885M
12 David Beckham 1992 $1.05B $880M
13 Kobe Bryant 🏀 1996 $930M $750M
14 Shaquille O’Neal 🏀 1992 $870M $645M
15 Greg Norman 🏌️‍♂️ 1976 $815M $555M
16 Mike Tyson 🥊 1985 $775M $445M
17 Alex Rodriguez 1993 $650M $515M
18 Manny Pacquiao 🥊 1995 $630M $550M
19 Kevin Durant 🏀 2007 $625M $580M
20 Lewis Hamilton 🏎 2007 $620M $560M
21 Neymar 2009 $615M $580M
22 Jeff Gordon 🏎 1990 $595M $450M
23 Oscar de la Hoya 🥊 1992 $580M $405M
24 Peyton Manning 🏈 1998 $570M $460M
25 Derek Jeter 1992 $555M $435M
(1) Michael Jordan
(2) Tiger Woods
(3) Cristiano Ronaldo
(4) Floyd Mayweather
(T-5) LeBron James
(T-5) Lionel Messi
(7) Roger Federer
(T-8) Arnold Palmer
(T-8) Phil Mickelson
(10) David Beckham