Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James Headline SI's Top 50 Earners in Sports List
Not only are Floyd Mayweather and LeBron James considered to be the best in their respective sports, but they are also the richest athletes in the United States, according to Sports Illustrated's "Fortunate 50" profile.
SI's Daniel Roberts reports that Mayweather stands to make $90 million this year based solely on two fights. He already beat Robert Guerrero soundly in his first fight in 2013 and he is scheduled to fight again in September against an opponent that has yet to be determined.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James won his fourth MVP award this season and seems poised to win a second consecutive NBA title as well. James "only" makes $17.5 million in base salary this season, but thanks to $39 million in endorsements, King James checks in at a distant No. 2 on the list with more than $56.5 million coming in this year.
Also, James is the first team-sport player to land in the top two on the "Fortunate 50" list since former Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal in 2004, per SI's Twitter account.
Here is the full, 50-athlete list including 2013 earnings as well as their rankings from the previous year, courtesy of Sports Illustrated:
|2013 Ranking||Athlete||Sport||Team||2013 Earnings||2012 Ranking|
|Floyd Mayweather||Boxing||N/A||$90 mil||1|
|2||LeBron James||NBA||Miami Heat||$56.545 mil||5|
|3||Drew Brees||NFL||New Orleans Saints||$47.8 mil||NR|
|4||Kobe Bryant||NBA||Los Angeles Lakers||$46.85 mil||4|
|6||Phil Mickelson||Golf||N/A||$39.528 mil||2|
|7||Derrick Rose||NBA||Chicago Bulls||$33.403 mil||19|
|8||Peyton Manning||NFL||Denver Broncos||$31 mil||7|
|9||Alex Rodriguez||MLB||New York Yankees||$29.9 mil||6|
|10||Zack Greinke||MLB||Los Angeles Dodgers||$29.02 mil||NR|
|11||Dwyane Wade||NBA||Miami Heat||$28.682 mil||16|
|12||Kevin Durant||NBA||Oklahoma City Thunder||$27.67 mil||11|
|13||Johan Santana||MLB||New York Mets||$26.3 mil||NR|
|14||Felix Hernandez||MLB||Seattle Mariners||$25.6 mil||NR|
|15||Vincent Jackson||NFL||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$25.36 mil||NR|
|16||Carmelo Anthony||NBA||New York Knicks||$25.3 mil||15|
|17||Cliff Lee||MLB||Philadelphia Phillies||$25.28 mil||T-29|
|18||Mario Williams||NFL||Buffalo Bills||$25.15 mil||13|
|19||Derek Jeter||MLB||New York Yankees||$25.1 mil||9|
|20||Joe Mauer||MLB||Minnesota Twins||$25 mil||12|
|21||Carl Nicks||NFL||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$24.285 mil||NR|
|22||CC Sabathia||MLB||New York Yankees||$24 mil||20|
|23||Prince Fielder||MLB||Detroit Tigers||$23.5 mil||22|
|24||Amar'e Stoudemire||NBA||New York Knicks||$23.45 mil||24|
|25||Ryan Howard||MLB||Philadelphia Phillies||$23.2 mil||32|
|26||Tim Lincecum||MLB||San Francisco Giants||$23 mil||NR|
|27||Matt Schaub||NFL||Houston Texans||$22.78 mil||NR|
|28||Mark Teixeira||MLB||New York Yankees||$22.725 mil||21|
|29||Calvin Johnson||NFL||Detroit Lions||$22.6 mil||NR|
|30||Matt Kemp||MLB||Los Angeles Dodgers||$22.4 mil||NR|
|31||Dwight Howard||NBA||Los Angeles Lakers||$21.936 mil||NR|
|32||Vernon Wells||MLB||New York Yankees||$21.6 mil||17|
|33||Chris Paul||NBA||Los Angeles Clippers||$21.58 mil||40|
|34||Adrian Gonzalez||MLB||Los Angeles Dodgers||$21.35 mil||25|
|35||Dirk Nowitzki||NBA||Dallas Mavericks||$21.307 mil||NR|
|36||Miguel Cabrera||MLB||Detroit Tigers||$21.2 mil||NR|
|37||Pau Gasol||NBA||Los Angeles Lakers||$21.1 mil||NR|
|38||Justin Verlander||MLB||Detroit Tigers||$20.6 mil||28|
|39||Roy Halladay||MLB||Philadelphia Phillies||$20.21 mil||35|
|40||Matt Cain||MLB||San Francisco Giants||$20.1 mil||NR|
|41||Barry Zito||MLB||San Francisco Giants||$20.08 mil||NR|
|42||Carl Crawford||MLB||Los Angeles Dodgers||$20.075 mil||T-36|
|43||Joe Johnson||NBA||Brooklyn Nets||$19.953 mil||NR|
|44||Cole Hamels||MLB||Philadelphia Phillies||$19.9 mil||NR|
|45||Joey Votto||MLB||Cincinnati Reds||$19.25 mil||NR|
|46||Albert Pujols||MLB||Los Angeles Angels||$19 mil||T-36|
|47||Chris Bosh||NBA||Miami Heat||$18.545 mil||48|
|48||Eli Manning||NFL||New York Giants||$18.5 mil||31|
|49||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||NASCAR||N/A||$18,416,567||8|
|50||Alfonso Soriano||MLB||Chicago Cubs||$18.2 mil||NR|
Rounding out the top five are New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant and legendary golfer Tiger Woods.
Who most deserves to be the highest-paid athlete in sports?
According to Roberts, Woods had been No. 1 in the "Fortunate 50" every year from 2004 until 2012 when Mayweather assumed the top spot. Woods is back in familiar territory thanks to an incredibly strong 2013 season thus far.
Being highly paid doesn't always guarantee success on the field of play, as some of the athletes on the list have proven, but there is no question that Mayweather and James are deserving of their No. 1 and No. 2 positions, respectively.
Whether or not athletes make more money than they deserve is an entirely different conversation. Nevertheless, in comparison to their counterparts in every other sport, Floyd and LeBron are simply a cut above the rest in terms of both skill and wealth.
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