In order to be a successful athlete, you must love the game you are playing. If you love it enough, work hard, and train for long hours, you have the ability to become one of the greats. And along with that comes a nice paycheck as well. Who are the athletes that stand out in the crowd as far as money and success? Here is a list of the top 10 highest paid athletes In 2018 according to Forbes. How much would you enjoy getting paid like these athletes do? If money is the key to happiness, these guys must be on cloud 9.
10. Stephen Curry – Basketball Player
This two-time MVP is one of the world’s most marketable athletes. Curry signed the first $200 million contract in 2017 and has had the league’s top salary in the past two seasons. Along with his company SC30 and production company, Unanimous Media, he also has two recent sponsorships from Palm and Rakuten.
His base salary from the Golden State Warriors is $37.8 million with over $42 million coming from sponsorships and endorsements.
9. Aaron Rodgers – Football Player
The fastest-ever quarterback to reach 300 passing touchdowns, Aaron Rodgers did it in 144 games, placing him in 10th all-time with a total of 338. Rodgers is a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time MVP, who also has the highest passer rating in NFL History. Last August, he signed a four year contract worth $134 million.
In 2019, his salary will be $20 million, with the addition of bonuses, winnings, and sponsorships bringing it up to over $89 million. He also launched a $50 million venture and growth stage fund with Roth Capital and bought a minority ownership take in the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
8. Russell Wilson – Football Player
Russell Wilson was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies back in 2010 led the Seattle Seahawks to the team’s first and only Super Bowl championship in the 2013-14 season. In April of 2019, the six-time Pro Bowler signed a four-year extension with the Seahawks worth $140 million, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL.
Wilson is also the CEO of the brand management firm, West2East Empire, which has two other production companies brand from it. He is also an investor in the Portland Diamond Project which aims to bring an MLB team to Oregon.
His salary and winnings from the Seahawks totals more than $80 million per year, with another $9 million from endorsements.
7. Kevin Durant – Basketball Player
Kevin Durant is a professional basketball player that hasn’t had the best luck in contracts, with his last one with the Warriors paying $30 million in 2018-19. He recently left the Warriors to sign a four-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets worth up to $164 million. He has won NBA Rookie of the Year award along with four NBA scoring titles.
He brings in $65.4 million a year, with $30.4 million being salary. Many of his endorsements include Nike, Alaska Air Group, and Google. From his endorsements, Durant brings in a total of $35 million.
6. LeBron James – Basketball Player
He won his first NBA title, a second Olympic Gold, and his third league MVP Award in 2012. He is part of the NBA Hall of Fame after winning the fourth MVP Award for the 2012-13 seasons. Couple all of that with his four-year $153 million contract with the LA Lakers, he has a total yearly income of $89 million a year and $36 million from his salary.
Many of his endorsements include Nike, RIMOWA, Beats by Dre, and KIA Motors, and from all his endorsements, he brings in $53 million. It’s no wonder he is dubbed King James.
5. Roger Federer – Tennis Player
Federer has ten sponsors that pay him over $86 million yearly and contributse to his $93.4 million dollar yearly income. His sponsors include Mercedes Benz, Rolex, and Credit Suisse. In 2018, Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo locked him up with a 10-year $300 million deal.
He has the most tennis records for singles, Grand Slam wins, and the most career prize money earned which comes in at a total of $124 million dollars. Although his salary is only $7.4 million, he definitely knows how to bring it in through endorsements.
4. Lionel Messi – Soccer Player
Lionel Messi is currently the famous forward for Barcelona’s soccer team. He is the only athlete in soccer history to win the FIFA World Player of the Year five times. His total yearly income is totaled at $127 million, with his salary being a total of $92 million. Through his lifelong endorsement with Adidas, along with other sponsors, he brings in $35 million. His great athletic ability and famous name is what makes this man very successful.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo – Soccer Player
Ronaldo is the man who broke Messi’s consecutive streak. He won the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2013 after being runner up to Messi the year before. He now has a salary that is set at $65 million after moving to Italian club Joventus in July of 2018. He has endorsements with Nike and his own shirt and underwear line with CR7, and because of those endorsements, he makes a total of $109 million.
2. Neymar – Soccer Player
The second most popular athlete on social media and a trending meme for a time, Neymar was known for his excessive falling and rolling during his games.
Currently on a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain until June 2022, he left Barcelona in 2017. Neymar’s annual salary totals to about $75 million. He is invested in many endorsement deals, including companies such as Nike, Red Bull, EA Sports, Mastercard, Gaga Milano, Gillette, Beats by Dre and DAZN.
With all of these endorsements, Neymar earns approximately $30 million, which then brings his total income to $105 million.
1. Canelo Alvarez – Boxer
The Mexican professional boxer saw the first U.S. match that wasn’t involving Mayweather or Pacquiao to register mroe than one million buys since 2002. In 2018, the streaming service DAZN put up $365 million to lock up the next 11 fights making Alvarez boxing’s biggest pay-per-view star. He took home about $50 million from his first two fights on DAZN, but is projected to earn at least $35 million perfight in the future.
The first two fights between Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, in which Alvarez narrowly won the second, generated more than one million PPV buys each. Fans are pleading for a third showdown between the two top-tier boxers.
What would you do if you could be playing a game that you love and making millions per year to do it? It is all a part of the game and along with these major dollars per year, you have your name out there and are big in media attention. The world knows your name and everyone knows your story, whether you want them to or not. However, It is not necessarily a bad trade off. Loving your job is important, so that you wake up and want to go to work everyday. What better way to make a living than to play the games that you love to play. It is apparently the key to a successful bank account and it adds you to the top 10 highest paid athletes of 2019 list.