World’s highest paid athlete: Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James net worth

FLOYD Mayweather reclaimed his place at the top of Forbes’ annual ranking of the 100 highest-paid athletes in a year a Kiwi giant put Aussies to shame.

AFPAFPJune 6, 20188:42pm

(L-R) The three highest paid athletes of 2018: Floyd Mayweather; Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi; and Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo.Source:AFP

BOXER Floyd Mayweather reclaimed his place at the top of Forbes’ annual ranking of the 100 highest-paid athletes but no woman featured on the list for the first time.

Forbes reported that Mayweather, 41, topped sports highest-earners after banking $361 million dollars from his cross-combat superfight against mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor in August 2017.

With an additional $13 million in endorsements, Mayweather earned a total of $375 million between June 1 2017 and June 1 2018, comfortably eclipsing the second-placed figure on the list, football star Lionel Messi, who made $146 million.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (R) earned over a third of a billion dollars in his fight against Conor McGregor (L).

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (R) earned over a third of a billion dollars in his fight against Conor McGregor (L).Source:Getty Images

However, female athletes notably failed to break into the top 100 for the first time since Forbes began publishing its ranking.

Tennis star Serena Williams, who last year was the only woman to feature on the list at 51st place with earnings of $36 million, dropped out of the rankings after taking a break from the sport due to the birth of her daughter.

Former welterweight king Mayweather, who came out of retirement to face McGregor in Las Vegas, topped the rankings for the fourth time in seven years.

McGregor meanwhile vaulted up the rankings to fourth spot, thanks to his $112 million cut of the Mayweather purse.

A further $18 million in endorsements took the Irish fighter’s earnings to $130 million, just behind Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who was third with earnings of $142 million.

(L-R) Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian striker Neymar.

(L-R) Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian striker Neymar.Source:AFP

Brazilian footballer Neymar was fifth on the list with $118 million in earnings, his salary boosted by his record-breaking transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain last year.

NBA icon LeBron James was the highest-paid basketball player to feature on the list, coming in at sixth with total earnings of $112 million, just ahead of men’s tennis king Roger Federer, who earned $102 million.

Swiss ace Federer remains the most attractive athlete for sponsors, with endorsement deals accounting for $85 million of his earnings.

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry was the only other NBA player to feature in the top 10, with earnings of $101 million.

(L-R) LeBron James and Stephen Curry were the two highest paid basketball players in 2018.

(L-R) LeBron James and Stephen Curry were the two highest paid basketball players in 2018.Source:AFP

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is the highest earning NFL player, coming in at ninth with $88 million. Ryan’s earnings were swollen by a $59 million dollar signing bonus after he agreed a new contract earlier this year.

Another NFL quarterback, the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford rounded out the top 10 with $78.5 million.

Elsewhere, Britain’s Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is the highest paid figure from motorsport to feature, coming in at 12th with $67 million.

India's Virat Kohli is the only cricketer to make the list.

India’s Virat Kohli is the only cricketer to make the list.Source:AFP

Tiger Woods, who has not won a tournament for five years and who has barely played over the previous three seasons, remains the highest earning golfer with $57 million, with $55 million of it coming through endorsements.

New Zealand giant Steven Adams raked in $31 million which was enough to see him reach 86th place on the list.

No Australian athletes made the top 100 this year. Virat Kohli ($31.5 million) is the only cricketer to make the list this year thanks largely earning an incredible $26.3 million in endorsements alone.

Steven Adams earned $31 million playing in the NBA for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Steven Adams earned $31 million playing in the NBA for the Oklahoma City Thunder.Source:AFP


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Forbes: The World’s Ten Highest-Paid Athletes 2018

Rank Name Pay Sport
1 Floyd Mayweather $375 million Boxing
2 Lionel Messi $146 million Football
3 Cristiano Ronaldo $142 million Football
4 Conor McGregor $130 million MMA
5 Neymar $118 million Football
6 LeBron James $112 million Basketball
7 Roger Federer $102 million Tennis
8 Stephen Curry $101 million Basketball
9 Matt Ryan $88 million NFL
10 Matthew Stafford $78.5 million NFL


There are 22 different countries represented in the top 100. Americans dominate the action with 66 athletes thanks to the sky-high salaries in the major U.S. sports leagues. The U.K. has five athletes, led by F1’s Lewis Hamilton in 12th. The Dominican Republic and Spain have three athletes each, while Argentina, Brazil, France, Japan and Venezuela all have two.


The top 100 earned $1.15 billion from endorsements, memorabilia and appearance fees, down 1% from last year. Nike, including ones signed to its Jordan Brand, has the most athletes under contract once again with 54 of the top 100, up from 48 in 2017.


The average age of the top 100 is static from last year at 31. Three athletes in their 40s made the cut, with golfers Phil Mickelson, who turns 48 this month, and Woods, 42, the old men of the list (Mayweather who turned 41 in February is the other 40-something).

Giannis Antetokounmpo turned 23 in December and is the youngest by more than a year.


Mayweather is the highest-ranked athlete this year who was not among the top 100 in 2017. The top-ranked, first-timer athlete this year is Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr ($55 million). He ranks 19th after signing a $164 million contract extension with the silver-and-black last year.

Fellow quarterback Andrew Luck was the highest-ranked player from 2017 to drop off this year’s list. Luck was sixth overall in 2017, thanks to a $161 million contract extension, including a $42 million signing bonus.

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  • April 6th 2018
  • 5 months ago
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    Originally published as World’s highest paid athletes revealed


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