LeBron James: 2nd Highest Athlete Earner in America Per Sports Illustrated

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 15, 2013

MIAMI, FL - MAY 06:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat poses with the 2013 NBA MVP trophy prior to Game One against the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

You'd have a hard time finding many people who enjoyed a better 2012 than Miami Heat megastar LeBron James.

He set a career-high in field-goal percentage, 53.1, which he broke 12 months later with this season's ridiculous 56.5 percent conversion rate. He led the Heat in scoring (27.1 per game), assists (6.2), steals (1.9) and tied Chris Bosh for the team-high in rebounds (7.9).

For his efforts, he was rewarded with his third MVP award in four seasons, then added some new hardware to his collection with the first NBA championship and Finals MVP of his career. A few months later, he guided Team USA to Olympic Gold in London.

Oh, and he lined himself up to bring home more money ($56.5 million) in 2013 than most people can even dream about.

Incredibly, though, there's still one athlete who's set for an even greater calendar year than King James. Or a more lucrative year, rather.

According to Sports Illustrated's annual "Fortune 50" report identifying the top 50 earners in professional sports, James' 2013 purse nabbed him the second spot on the list.

The top spot belonged to boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather, who's certainly living up to his nickname with at least $90 million headed his way for a pair of pay-per-view bouts.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees ($47.8 million), Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant ($46.8 million) and golfer Tiger Woods ($40.8 million) rounded out the top-five cash grabbers.

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who missed the entire 2012-13 season rehabbing a torn ACL, was the only other hoops star to finish in the top 10. His $33.4 million in salary and endorsements slotted him seventh on the list.