The 20 Highest Paid Sports Stars in the World

By Bluei Fausto

Could there be a better “goal” other than becoming one of the top sports stars in the world? Surely, almost everyone has fantasized about becoming part of the list of the biggest names in the sports industry.

From physical stamina to superior abilities and overwhelming net worth, the top sports icons seem to have nearly everything in life.

Wondering who could these sports personalities be? Here are the top 20 highest paid sports stars in the world, as listed by Forbes. Get to know each of them:

20. James Harden


2019 Pay: $47.7 M

Houston Rockets point guard and 2018 NBA MVP James Harden takes the 20th spot in the list of the highest-paid sports stars in the world. According to Forbes, the seven-time All-Star has an athlete earning of $47.7 million in 2019.

@jharden13 /, @jharden13 /

Today, much of his net worth can be attributed to his role in basketball as well as his endorsements and partnerships with leading apparel brands, such as Adidas and BodyArmor.

19. Phil Mickelson


2019 Pay: $48.4 M

Following NBA superstar James Harden is none other than American professional golfer Phil Mickelson. Mickelson has won more than 40 PGA tournaments and has become one of the 12 players in the history of golf to win three of the four majors.

Golf Week, Calloway Golf

Today, Forbes estimates his 2019 earnings to be a solid $48.4 million.

18. Mike Trout


2019 Pay: $50.6 M

Taking the 18th spot is the center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout. Serving as an eight-time MLB All-Star and having received the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2014 and 2016, Trout now stands as one of the most iconic names in the history of baseball.

Drink Body Armor, Wikipedia

Today, Trout is believed to have earned a total of $50.6 million for 2019.

17. Novak Djokovic


2019 Pay: $50.6 M

Standing next to Mike Trout is the Serbian professional tennis player Novak Djokovic. To date, Djokovic is one of the most probable candidates to become the second player to ever hold all four Slam crowns at the same time, following Rod Laver. His 15 career Slam titles also make him the third behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

@djokernole /, @djokernole /

Forbes estimated his earnings to be the same as Mike Trout, which is $50.6 million.

16. Russell Westbrook


2019 Pay: $53.7 M

Landing on our 16th spot is the eight-time NBA All-Star and 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook. According to Forbes, his earnings for 2019 totaled up to $53.7 million.

@russwest44 /, @russwest44 /

Westbrook has been known to be the first and only player in basketball history to average a triple-double in three straight seasons.

15. Khalil Mack


2019 Pay: $55 M

Chicago Bears’ outside linebacker Khalil Mack serves as our 15th top paid athlete for 2019. Mack has served as a four-time Pro Bowler and former Defensive Player of the Year. 

@fiftydeuce /, @fiftydeuce /

Aside from his role in football, Mack has also managed to secure deals with Nike, New Era, Mack Trucks, and Panini.

Forbes estimates his earnings to be a whopping $55 million.

14. Anthony Joshua


2019 Pay: $55 M

2016 to 2019 heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua now stands as the 14th highest-paid sports personality in the world. 

@anthonyjoshua /, @anthonyjoshua /

Joshua serves as the second British boxer to win both a gold medal at the Olympics and a world title by a major professional sanctioning body, following James DeGale.

To date, he was regarded by BoxRec as the world’s third-best active heavyweight and the fourth by The Ring magazine.

13. Lewis Hamilton


2019 Pay: $55 M

British racing driver Lewis Hamilton is the 13th highest-paid athlete of 2019. He is the third racer in history to become a five-time Formula One World Champion. In 2018, Hamilton partnered with Tommy Hilfiger to sponsor its clothing products.

@lewishamilton /, @lewishamilton /

Today, his earnings are said to be $55 million.

12. Ben Roethlisberger


2019 Pay: $55.5 M

American football quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger is reported to have earned $55.5 million for 2019. 

Behind the Steel Curtain | © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports, Hollywood Life

“Big Ben”, as he was called, was regarded to be the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history. He now stands as the 12th highest-paid athlete by Forbes.

11. Tiger Woods


2019 Pay: $63.9 M

Standing one rank higher than Big Ben is none other than everyone’s all-time favorite golfer, Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods. According to Forbes, Woods has earned a staggering $1.4 billion from sponsors since he became pro in 1996. Today, he is 4 titles away from surpassing Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18.

@tigerwoods /, @tigerwoods /

His $63.9 million earnings ranked 11th in Forbes’ 2019 world’s highest-paid athletes’ earnings list.

10. Kevin Durant


2019 Pay: $65.4 M

Small forward of Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant holds 10th place among the highest-paid athletes for 2019. As a professional basketball player, Durant has already bagged a broad range of titles, including one NBA Most Valuable Player Award, two NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Awards, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, two Olympic gold medals, and many more. 

Sporting News | Matthew Stockman/Getty Images, Mercury News | © Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

Today, his earnings are estimated to be around $64.4 million.

9. Stephen Curry


2019 Pay: $79.8 M

Golden State Warriors’ point guard Stephen Curry holds the 9th rank in the world’s highest-paid athletes’ earnings. Curry has been a six-time NBA All-Star, was named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice, and won three NBA championships.

@stephencurry30 /, @stephencurry30 /

His athlete earning is said to be a whopping $79.8 million, as reported by Forbes.

8. LeBron James


2019 Pay: $89 M

Ranking one level higher than Stephen Curry is none other than Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James. Among his most notable credentials include three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals. 

@kingjames /, @kingjames /

He is currently the holder of NBA’s top endorsement portfolio and the owner of the production company SpringHill Entertainment and the media company Uninterrupted.

His earnings are recorded to be $89 million.

7. Aaron Rodgers


2019 Pay: $89.3 M

This American football quarterback is the 7th athlete on our list with a solid $89.3 million athlete earning. Rodgers stands as a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time MVP winner. His career passer rating is also considered the highest in all of NFL history.

Watch Fantom, Business Insider | © Stacy Revere/Getty

6. Russell Wilson


2019 Pay: $89.5 M

American football quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson is the 6th to have the highest earnings as an athlete for 2019. 

Pro Football Rumors, CBN

To date, Wilson remains to be the NFL quarterback to have the most number of wins in seven seasons. 

Earlier this year, he signed a four-year contract extension with the Seahawks worth $140 million, granting him the title as NFL’s highest-paid player. His 2019 earnings are said to be $89.5 million.

5. Roger Federer


2019 Pay: $93.4 M

Recognized to be “the greatest men’s tennis player of all time” by Forbes, Roger Federer stands as the 5th athlete to earn the highest in 2019. 

@rogerfederer /, @rogerfederer /

Federer is a 13-time receiver of the Sportsmanship Award, a five-time ITF World Champion, and another five-time Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. He is also the first and only to have won the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award four times.

4. Canelo Alvarez


2019 Pay: $94 M

Standing before Roger Federer is none other than Mexican professional boxer Canelo Alvarez. He had served as a former WBC and WBA Super Welterweight World Champion. Today, Alvarez stands as the reigning WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight Champion.

@canelo /, @canelo /

His 2019 earning is estimated to be roughly $94 million, earning him the 4th spot among the world’s highest-paid athletes.

3. Neymar


2019 Pay: $105 M

Brazilian professional footballer Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as Neymar, is now the third highest-paid athlete, according to Forbes. 

@neymarjr /, @neymarjr /

Neymar was twice named the South American Footballer of the Year and came third for the FIFA Ballon d’Or. His 2019 earnings are said to be about $105 million.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo


2019 Pay: $109 M

Portuguese professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is the second among all athletes to have earned the highest for 2019. He is a five-time FIFA’s Player of the Year and is the all-time leading goal scorer in the UEFA Champions League.

@cristiano /, @cristiano /

He is also said to be the most followed athlete on social media with nearly 400 million total followers.

His earnings are said to be $109 million.

1. Lionel Messi


2019 Pay: $127 M

You bet it. No one deserves to be on the top of the list other than Argentine professional footballer Lionel Messi. Ever since his debut in 2003, Messi has played 687 matches, scored 603 goals, and won 33 club titles.

Brittanica, Biography

He is now a five-time FIFA’s Player of the Year and a six-time European Golden Shoe for top scorer on the continent.

With an overwhelming $127 million in earnings, Messi now stands on top of all athletes in the world.



No one carries pride, prestige, and honor better than the top athletes in the sports field. From basketball to football, golf, boxing, tennis, soccer, and many more, there will always be a bunch of athletes who are keen on taking their sports into the next level.

@canelo /, @rogerfederer /

Which among these athletes do you admire the most?

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