Jordan is the highest-paid athlete in history, Ronaldo is 5th, LeBron, Messi, Schumacher, Federer are in the top 10

Sportico's earnings rankings are based on conversations with insiders, its own research, and data from other media, including Forbes. Each athlete's earnings are shaped by salary, prize money, advertising contracts, royalties, licensing fees and so on.

Sportico has included earnings in the playing years and post-career earnings through June 1, 2021. As for golfer Albert Palmer and basketball player Kobe Bryant, their earnings are calculated until death.
The top 25 includes athletes from eight sports, with a combined income of $25.5 billion. The total in the rankings below is adjusted for inflation.

Top 25 highest-paid athletes:

    Michael Jordan (basketball) - $2.62 billion.
    Tiger Woods (golf) - $2.1 billion.
    Arnold Palmer (golf) - $1.5 billion.
    Jack Nicklaus (golf) - $1.38 billion.
    Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer) - 1.24 billion.
    Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (boxing) - 1.2 billion
    LeBron James (basketball) - 1.17 billion.
    Lionel Messi (soccer) - 1.14 billion.
    Michael Schumacher (motor racing) - 1.13 billion.
    Roger Federer (tennis) - 1.12 billion.
    Phil Mickelson (golf) - 1.08 billion.
    David Beckham (soccer) - 1.05 billion.
    Kobe Bryant (basketball) - 930 million.
    Shaquille O'Neal (basketball) - $870 million.
    Greg Norman (golf) - $815 million.
    Mike Tyson (boxing) - $775 million.
    Alex Rodriguez (baseball) - $650 million.
    Manny Pacquiao (boxing) - $630 million
    Kevin Durant (basketball) $625 million.
    Lewis Hamilton (auto racing) $620 million
    Neymar (soccer) - $615 million.
    Jeff Gordon (auto racing) - 595 million.
    Oscar De La Hoya (boxing) - $580 million
    Peyton Manning (soccer) - $570 million.
    Derek Jeter (baseball) - 555 million.

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