1. MICHAEL JORDAN
Career earnings: $1.7 billion (2016 dollars)
The NBA’s greatest player made $93 million in salary over 15 seasons playing for the Bulls and Wizards, but he now banks more than $100 million annually from Nike alone. The Jordan brand generated $2.8 billion in revenue for Nike in its most recent fiscal year.
2. TIGER WOODS
Career earnings: $1.65 billion
Woods returned to the course this month after a 15-month recovery from back surgery and remains the biggest draw in the sport. His annual endorsement income is off more than 50% from its peak, but the 14-time Majors winnerstill earned $45 million off the course in the 12 months ending in June.
3. ARNOLD PALMER
Career earnings: $1.35 billion
Palmer died in September due to complications from heart problems. He still earned $40 million annually in the past years of his life thanks to a bevy of endorsement and licensing partners and 500 Arnold Palmer-branded stores in Asia selling footwear and apparel.
4. JACK NICKLAUS
Career earnings: $1.15 billion
Nicklaus’ eponymous golf course design firm has designed more than 400 courses in 41 countries and 39 states. Jack is directly responsible for 298 of those courses. The firm currently has 57 course projects under development in 19 countries.
5. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER
Career earnings: $1 billion
The seven-time F1 champion is one of the only six athletes to top Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid athletes over the past quarter century, finishing on top in 1999 and 2000. Schumacher’s annual earnings peaked a few years later at $80 million in the midst of five straight titles for Ferrari.
6. KOBE BRYANT
Career earnings: $770 million
Bryant hung up his high tops this year as the highest-paid athlete in the history of team sports. His Los Angeles Lakers salary was tops in the NBA the final six seasons of his career.
7. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
Career earnings: $765 million
The man then call “Money” has been involved in the three biggest bouts from a financial perspective in the history of the sport (Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao). Mayweather’s fight with Pacquiao generated $600 million in revenue and earned the undefeated Mayweather $240 million.
8. PHIL MICKELSON
Career earnings: $760 million
Mickelson has been second biggest moneymaker in golf annually for the past decade-plus before finally topping Tiger Woods in the most recent year. Lefty is beloved by fans and his endorsement partners like Callaway, Barclays, KPMG and Rolex. The avid pilot owns a $60 million Gulfstream V.
9. DAVID BECKHAM
Career earnings: $730 million
Beckham’s biggest earnings years have come in retirement. He banked $75 million in his first full year off the pitch (2014) thanks largely to two blockbuster new deals. He partnered with Diageo to launch a new single grain Scotch whiskey, Haig Club, and reached a pact with Global Brands Group to create Beckham-branded consumer products to sell globally.
10. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
Career earnings: $700 million
Only Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant earned more on the court than Shaq’s $292 million (not inflation adjusted) during his 19-year career.O’Neal sold a stake in the business of Shaq last year to Authentic Brands Group. ABG got the rights to roughly half of O’Neal’s future licensing and endorsement revenue in return for a lump sum payment.