Michael Jordan is the highest paid athlete in all-time career earnings. Forbes magazine has reported the NBA star’s all-time career earnings till 2017 at $1.85 billion. The 14-time major champion golfer, whose career since 2014 has been plagued with controversies and injuries, is the second in the list, featuring world’s top 25 athletes in career earnings.
The top five include Jordan, three golfers, and Michael Schumacher.
1. MICHAEL JORDAN
Jordan still maintains his longtime endorsement relationships with Gatorade, Hanes, Nike and Upper Deck, but the investment that made him a billionaire was the $175 million fire-sale price he got the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) for in 2010. Jordan bumped his Hornets stake to 90% in 2013, and the team is now worth $780 million, writes Forbes’ staffer Kurt Badenhausen.
2. TIGER WOODS
The 14-time major winner has played only 18 official PGA Tour events since the start of 2014 because of injuries. Sponsors still see value in partnering with Woods, with TaylorMade, Bridgestone and Monster Energy the most recent additions to his endorsement portfolio. Woods’ revenues were though severely affected in the wake of his car accident in 2009 and the following acknowledgment by Woods of marital infidelity. Some of his sponsors, including Gatorade, had cut ties with the golfer in 2009 and 2010.
3. ARNOLD PALMER
Palmer’s estate has still banked $40 million during the last 12 months even after his death in September 2016. More than 400 stores sell Arnold Palmer-branded apparel in Asia, with plans to move into new markets like Thailand and Vietnam. His estate has agreements with 39 licensees. The partnership between IMG founder Mark McCormack and his first client, Palmer, revolutionized sports marketing.
4. JACK NICKLAUS
Nicklaus with $1.2 billion carrier earnings is yet another golfer among the top five. Jack Nicklaus golf course design company is responsible for 410 courses in 41 countries, with the 18-time major winner involved in three-quarters of the projects. In addition to course design, the Nicklaus business empire includes real estate, wine, ice cream, drinkware, golf academies, lemonade and more.
5. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER
The all-time great Formula 1 champion driver has been in comatose ever since the 2013 skiing accident in Alps. The 47-year-old has dominated the F1 sport while racking up seven titles and is one of the only six athletes to top the FORBES highest-paid athletes list since 1990.
The top 25 list includes, the golfers, NBA stars, football icons with Andre Agassi in the last position being the second tennis icon after Roger Federer (at 15).