List of All-Time Highest Paid Athletes (Sportico)

A new list of athlete earnings has been created by Sportico, collating the career earnings of athletes to rank them by total all-time earnings.



Here is the top-10 of the highest earning sportspeople taken from the list of 25 All-Time Highest Paid Athletes published by Sportico in 2021. While basketballer Michale Jordan tops the list, it is golfers who make up the next three places. Serena Williams was top among female athletes with career earnings of $480 million. Jordan was also on top of a similar list created in 2017.

See other Sportico top-earning lists.

Top-10 Highest Earners of All-Time (2021 List)

Rank Name Sport Nationality Earnings* ($ billion)
1 Michael Jordan Basketball USA 2.62
2 Tiger Woods Golf USA 2.10
3 Arnold Palmer Golf USA 1.50
4 Jack Nicklaus Golf USA 1.38
5 Cristiano Ronaldo Football/Soccer Portugal 1.24
6 Floyd Mayweather Jr Boxing USA 1.10
7 LeBron James Basketball USA 1.17
8 Lionel Messi Football/Soccer Argentina 1.14
9 Michael Schumacher Motorsports Germany 1.13
10 Roger Federer Tennis Switzerland 1.12

Next on the list were: Phil Mickelson: $1.08 billion, David Beckham: $1.05 billion, Kobe Bryant $930 million

* note: Based on career earnings adjusted for inflation, estimated by Sportico.

Michael JordanMichael 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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