Forbes this week announced the top 10 highest-paid athletes in the past decade: two are from boxing, two from football, two from basketball, two from golf and the rest from tennis and Formula One.
No. 10: Lewis Hamilton, 400 million U.S. dollars, F1, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.
Having pocketed his 83rd race win and sixth world championship this season, Hamilton also received 40 million pounds (about 51.84 million U.S. dollars) from his team. Having been called "the most marketable athlete in the sport (F1)," Hamilton is getting close to Michael Schumacher's records, slowly but surely.
No. 9: Kevin Durant, 425 million U.S. dollars, basketball, Oklahoma City/Golden State Warriors/Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.
The three years in the Golden State Warriors took Durant's career to a new level with two NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP that benefited him a lot financially - and we are not only talking about the 84.84 million U.S. dollars he received in paychecks. According to Forbes, Durant's annual earnings increased by 400 percent in the past decade.
No. 8: Manny Pacquiao, 435 million U.S. dollars, boxing
Unlike other sports, for the world's top boxers, their incomes are counted by games, not seasons. According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, Pacquiao received some 120 million U.S. dollars alone from the Fight of the Century against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2, 2015. Forbes revealed that the Filipino legend's 25 pay-per-view fights resulted in 29 million U.S. dollars of ticket sales and 1.3 billion U.S. dollars of total income.
No. 7: Phil Mickelson, 480 million U.S. dollars, golf
In 2018, Mickelson defeated his lifelong rival Tiger Woods in Capital One's The Match on November 23 to receive nine million U.S. dollars, the biggest paycheck of his career. In 2019, the 48-year-old claimed the 44th PGA Tour title in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
No. 6: Tiger Woods, 615 million U.S. dollars, golf
Though he already said goodbye to his peak a long time ago, Woods managed to win the fifth Masters Tournament championship of his career at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia on April 14. Though he only attended 10 PGA Tour events annually in the 2010s, his endorsement earnings for the decade still beat most athletes.
No. 5: Roger Federer, 640 million U.S. dollars, tennis
In the past year, Federer won four ATP titles, made quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in the U.S. Open, French Open and Wimbledon respectively. And even though he lost to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on the court, thanks to the 10-year, 300-million-U.S.-dollar deal he signed with Uniqlo in 2018, he's still the highest-paid tennis player of the decade.
No. 4: LeBron James, 680 million U.S. dollars, Cleveland Cavaliers/Miami Heat/Los Angeles Lakers, basketball
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.
As one of the greatest NBA players in the 21st century, James made about 270 million U.S. dollars in playing salaries. However, his endorsement deal paychecks almost doubled that number. In 2015, he signed a lifetime contract with Nike which will continue to pay him over one billion until he's 64 years old.
No. 3: Lionel Messi, 750 million U.S. dollars, Barcelona, football
Lionel Messi of Barcelona.
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been the pillar of Barcelona for over a decade and the club did everything they could to make him happy enough to stay in Camp Nou, including making him the highest-paid football player again and again. A simple question, can you remember how many times Barcelona have raised Messi's salary?
No. 2: Cristiano Ronaldo, 800 million U.S. dollars, Real Madrid/Juventus, football
Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus.
As the other one of the unsurpassed pair of the football world in the past decade, Ronaldo was on the losing side most of the time in salary competition, which was also one of the reasons that led to his departure from Real Madrid. Fortunately, his followers on social media offset the loss. Basically, his every Instagram post helps him make more money.
No. 1: Floyd Mayweather Jr., 915 million U.S. dollars, boxing
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather loves showing off his wealth and honestly he has made enough money to do that. In his two fights against Pacquiao and Conor McGregor in 2015 and 2017 respectively, Mayweather made over 500 million U.S. dollars. Soon after he heard about the Forbes' list, he posted on social media: "Congratulations to every athlete on this list!"
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