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The Best of the World's Highest Paid Athletes

Forbes magazine has been publishing lists of the highest-paid athletes since 1990, you can see a summary of the winners from each year and a link to each year's top 10 list here. Below are lists which collate the data from individual years, which is useful as sometimes players rank high in just one year as they get a favorable multi-year contract, or have a significant win and payday in one year, like boxer Floyd Mayweather in 2018.

Collated Lists of the Highest Paid Athletes

Highest Paid Athletes of the Decade (2010-2020) — In the decade from 2010, boxer Floyd Mayweather had the highest total earnings, some big feature fight paydays helping his cause. The football superstars Ronaldo and Messi are next. jordan jumping for joy

Highest Paid Athletes 1990-2010 — We analyzed all of the top 10 highest paid athlete lists from this period to determine which athlete has appeared the most times and how high they appeared on the list. Considering that Michael Jordan has appeared on 17 of these top 10 lists (6 times in top position) and Tiger Woods has appeared on 13 of the lists (top position 9 times), there is no surprise seeing these two battle for the top over this period.

The World's Highest Paid Athletes of All Time (from 2016) — Forbes combined all their data to determine who is the highest paid athlete of all time. This list includes earnings up to and including 2016. On top of this list is basketball player Michael Jordan, who had a long and well paid career and continues to make millions after leaving the game.

The World's Highest Paid Athletes of All Time (from 2017) - This list includes earnings up to and including 2017, and is not too different from the list compiled a year earlier. On top of this list, just as he was the previous year, is basketballer Michael Jordan.

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Lists Extra

Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.

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