Being involved in sports at a professional level is incredibly difficult.
Anybody that tells you otherwise obviously has no idea about what it truly takes to be a pro athlete, and what you have to put your body through.
The rewards, however, are well worth it in many people’s eyes, which is why we’re looking at 20 of the richest athletes in the world, past and present, in today’s article.
Being a pro athlete pays very handsomely, and when you discover just how much money some of the athletes on our list today have earned, you’ll wish you’d paid more attention in Phys Ed at school.
From boxers and MMA fighters to soccer players and golfers, if you are athletically gifted, mentally gifted, and are willing to dedicate your entire life to your sport, the rewards are plentiful.
Here’s a look at 20 of the richest athletes in the world, both past, and present.
20 The Richest Athletes In The World And Their
Neymar is a Brazilian football/soccer sensation who in 2013 was named the most marketable athlete in the world.
Neymar Jnr shone in Barcelona from 2013 – 2017, and he currently plays for PSG, where he looks every bit as great as he once did.
This Brazilian international is very popular with sponsors and is currently estimated to be worth $185 Million.
19. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
You just know that you are talking about some serious money when the ‘poorest’ entrant on your list has a net worth of a mere $320 Million.
Okay, yes, we know we’re talking about athletes and technically pro wrestling is scripted, but that doesn’t take away from the athleticism required to perform in the squared circle.
The Rock has made the bulk of his money from movies, but he got his foot in the door thanks to his pro wrestling career, and occasionally he does head back to the WWE and it is likely he will wrestle for them again so we’re including him on our list today.
The 6 foot 4, 265-pound man-mountain is making that green from the WWE, from Hollywood, social media, as well as endorsements from companies such as Under Armour.
18. Vinnie Johnson
The next entry on our list is the formidable Vinnie Johnson.
Vinnie is a former pro basketball player now enjoying retirement, who, in his prime, looked unstoppable.
Vinnie won two titles whilst playing for the Detroit Pistons in the NBA, and his iconic number 15 jersey has now been retired by the team.
Vinnie has a net worth of a staggering $400 Million.
17. Phil Mickelson
Ah, ‘The Mick’.
It’s impossible not to like this humble and hugely gifted golfer who just seems to defy Father Time as he seems to get better with age.
Phil Mickelson is one of the best pro golfers on the planet.
Hailing from the US and having represented Team USA and captained them in the Ryder Cup on more than one occasion, Phil is a very gifted golfer who has been in the game for decades.
He’s won five Majors and 42 events on the PGA Tour, which has helped him gain a net worth of $400 Million.
16. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi, is either the best soccer player in the world or the second-best soccer player in the world, depending on whom you ask.
Either way, this Barcelona legend has accomplished more in his career than even the most talented soccer players could ever dream of.
The Argentine international has won countless trophies during his career, including La-Liga Titles, Champions League Titles, Balloon D’Ors, Player of the Year, Golden Boots, and much more besides.
Leo Messi, who is still dominating at Barcelona FC in Spain’s La Liga, is currently worth $400 Million.
15. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal, or Shaq, as he is better known, is a giant of a man with a giant personality to match.
Shaq is now retired from the NBA, though he played basketball there for 19 seasons and enjoyed great success as a result.
Because of his larger-than-life personality, this 7-foot 1 former pro has also appeared in numerous TV shows and movies in very small roles, as well as appearing in the WWE a few times as well.
He is currently an NBA sports analyst and is also worth $400 Million, making him one of the richest NBA players.
14. Roger Federer
Next up we not only have our first tennis player to make the list, but also the first athlete to top a net worth of $400 Million.
Roger Federer is, without a doubt, one of the best tennis players to ever live.
He has won countless Grand Slams, including Wimbledon on multiple occasions, along with the French, US, and Australian Open many times.
As of last July alone, his career earnings stood at $124 Million, and that isn’t counting the numerous sponsorships and endorsements he enjoys.
Roger Federer is currently estimated to be worth $450 Million.
13. David Beckham
Next up on our list of the world’s richest athletes, we have David Beckham.
Old Golden Balls himself is a legend in the world of soccer, and he has enjoyed success wherever he has played, other than, ironically, his home country.
He won titles with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and LA Galaxy and is renowned for his crossing and free kicks.
In fact, many believe that he was the best free-kick taker to ever grace the beautiful game, and they’re probably right.
Because of his talent and marketability, David Beckham is currently worth $450 Million.
12. Cristiano Ronaldo
Depending on whom you speak to, Cristiano Ronaldo is either the best soccer player in the world or the second-best soccer player in the world.
Cristiano Ronaldo, despite being, on paper, at an age where most players are thinking of calling it quits, is arguably in the best shape of his life and looks fitter, stronger, and faster than ever.
Ronaldo has enjoyed success at Man Utd, Real Madrid, and now Juventus.
He has scored hundreds of goals, won numerous titles, been named Player of the Year several times, has won Golden Boots and Balloon D’Ors, and is still considered the number 1 or number 2 player in the world, depending on whom you ask.
He is currently worth $460 Million, which is why he can afford to drive a car worth over $3.6 Million.
11. Eddie Jordan
Eddie Jordan is a former racing driver hailing from Ireland, whom many consider being one of the all-time greats.
Not only did he enjoy great success on the track, but he also enjoyed enormous success off the track, as he is a musician, businessman, TV personality, and motorsport team boss.
As a result of his smart business acumen, Eddie Jordan is currently valued at $475 Million.
10. LeBron James
LeBron James is another of the all-time great basketball players to make our richest athletes list today.
He has won four NBA titles and is considered to be a true legend of the LA Lakers.
Lebron is one of the most marketable basketball players, and athletes for that matter, in the entire world which is why he is currently worth so much money.
Lebron has helped make the sports brand Nike an absolute fortune, and in return, he was lucky enough to sign a $1 Billion lifetime contract.
As a result of this, along with many other endorsements and business deals, he is currently worth $480 Million.
9. Floyd Mayweather Jr
Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather is, pound-for-pound, one of the greatest boxers to ever live.
In fact, many consider him to be the G.O.A.T.
Floyd is currently retired from boxing, with a record of 50-0.
He has enjoyed great success in and out of the ring, and his hugely hyped 2017 boxing match against MMA fighter Conor McGregor earned the pair of them a small fortune.
Floyd’s net worth is currently around the $565 Million marks, give or take a few million.
8. Roger Staubach
Roger Staubach is a former NFL player who played for the Dallas Cowboys for the entirety of his career, playing for them for 11 seasons, beginning 1969.
Roger was a very marketable talent and was with the team for five Super Bowls, four of which he was actually the starting quarterback.
His net worth is currently around $600 Million.
7. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is a former pro basketball player from the US’s NBA.
He played for the LA Lakers for 13 seasons and was able to win countless titles and awards, which is why he is now in the NBA’s hall of fame.
He is still involved with his beloved Lakers, as he is the president of basketball operations for them, which has helped him establish a net worth of around $600 Million.
6. Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher is a former F1 driver who many consider being one of the best in the business.
Schumacher hails from Germany and is the only F1 driver to win seven F1 titles, 4 of which he won consecutively.
Sadly, he was involved in a skiing accident back in 2013 which left him with severe injuries to the brain.
He is currently making good progress in his road to recovery and experts are optimistic he will continue to improve.
Schumacher is currently worth $600 Million.
5. Junior Bridgeman
Junior Bridgeman is a former NBA pro basketball player who, despite not being considered one of the all-time greats, was able to prove that consistency could make all the difference.
He actually holds the Milwaukee franchise record for total games played, coming in at 711, despite only starting in 105 of these games.
Junior left the NBA in the 80s and purchased a Wendy’s franchise, which he gradually expanded.
Today, he owns 120 Chilli’s franchises and 160 Wendy’s franchises, which generates over $500 Million alone.
Junior’s net worth is estimated to be around $600 Million.
4. Ion Tiriac
Ion Tiriac is a Romanian former pro tennis player from the 70s and 80s.
Okay, he won’t be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play, but he still enjoyed good success at an elite level.
He is best known as a doubles player, where he won numerous titles and was in the top 20 doubles players rankings.
When he retired, he became a coach and coached a certain Boris Becker, who went on to become the number 1 player in the world.
This helped Ion to become one of the richest names in tennis, as he is currently worth a staggering $1.2 Billion.
3. Tiger Woods
Once the poster boy of golf, Tiger Woods could do no wrong and was the most marketable athlete in the world.
He won many majors and tournaments and was the highest-paid athlete in the world at one point.
Unfortunately, due to questionable life choices he made, he fell out of favor with the media, his sponsors, and even his fans, and his golfing suffered.
Tiger, however, was able to put his past behind him, get back in shape, improve his golf, and over the last couple of years, despite being much older, he looks to have gone back in time nearly two decades as he has performed like the Tiger of old.
Thanks to lucrative endorsements and prize money, Tiger is currently estimated to be worth $800 Million.
2. Michael Jordan
We’ve seen a lot of pro basketball players on this list today, but none are more iconic than Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan played the majority of his career for the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards.
He played for 15 seasons and won numerous accolades during that particular period of time. Many consider him to be the greatest basketball player to ever live.
Jordan also appeared in movies such as Space Jam, alongside Bugs Bunny, and is responsible for the Iconic Air Jordan range of athletic apparel from Nike.
This is why he is currently worth $2.2 Billion.
1. Vince McMahon
Okay, technically Vince isn’t an active wrestler, but he has wrestled multiple times, and he also until recently, owned the XFL for the second time, so he’s going on our richest athletes list.
Vince is a billionaire that helped put pro wrestling on the map, thanks in part to Wrestlemania and the success of the then WWF during the Monday Night Wars thanks to the Attitude Era.
Vince is currently worth $2.2 Billion and is still as involved with the WWE as he was decades ago.