Top 5 Biggest Earning Athletes in 2022
Today’s athletes sign endorsements and sponsorships for companies, often with a desire to maintain their glamour and status in the sports world.
The highest earning athletes are paid for appearances, memorabilia and licensing fees plus cash returns from businesses they operate. They also make a sizable amount of money from equity stakes they’ve sold.
1. LeBron James
The King of Basketball isn’t just the most famous athlete in the world – he’s also a very generous philanthropist. He has given away millions of dollars to charities including Boys and Girls Clubs, Children’s Defense Fund and OneXOne, among others. He has also created the LeBron James Family Foundation which has opened an elementary school, a housing complex and a retail plaza/community center in Akron, Ohio.
James earned $1 billion in 2022, according to Forbes, making him the second-highest paid player in NBA history behind only Michael Jordan. This is despite his hefty salary of $44.5 million per season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Besides his on-court earnings, which include base salaries and bonuses, James also makes money from endorsements, licensing fees and other business endeavors. He earns $55 million annually from this source of income alone.
On Wednesday, ESPN reported that James and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul have agreed on a two-year contract extension with the Lakers that will make him the highest-paid player in NBA history. The extension, which will pay him an average annual salary of $97.1 million, includes a player option for 2024-25.
This will push his guaranteed earnings to $532 million, placing him above Durant on the list of biggest earning athletes in NBA history. This is the third time James has topped the league’s all-time earnings list, and it puts him firmly in the running for the coveted “GOAT” title.
Whether or not he plays on the court, James’s off-court earnings will continue to rise as his popularity grows. He’s got a lucrative deal with Nike and he has a large portfolio of investments, including stakes in Beats by Dre, Beachbody and the SpringHill Company. He has also starred in movies like Space Jam and is an active philanthropist.
2. Neymar Jr.
Neymar is a Brazilian professional soccer player who plays for Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil National Team. He is considered to be one of the most talented football players in the world, and he has been a household name since he was a child.
He was born on February 5th, 1992, in Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He started playing street and indoor soccer at a young age, and soon, he began to earn global recognition. He joined the youth ranks of Portuguese club Santos at age 11, and he made his debut for the team in 2009.
His talent was quickly recognized by the Brazilian football community, and he quickly developed a style of play that mixed quick speed with dribbling and shooting. His dribbling and vision skills, along with his ability to create chances and feints, helped him become a star at a young age.
A technical leader, a dribbling genius and a unpredictable detonator, Neymar is one of the most talented footballers in the world. He has scored more than 100 goals for three different clubs, and has been a major force in winning multiple championships.
The Brazilian dribbling wizard has been an integral part of Barcelona’s treble-winning campaign in Europe, and is a key player in the Brazil national team. He also captained the national team to its first gold medal win in the 2016 Olympic Games, scoring a game-winning penalty kick.
He is regarded as one of the world’s most talented and popular players. He has won several awards, including South American Footballer of the Year, Brazilian Footballer of the Year and Ligue 1 Player of the Year. He is considered to be a genuine superstar and is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo, a power forward for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, is one of the highest paid athletes in the world. He recently signed a supermax contract extension that will make him the highest-paid player in NBA history. In addition to his earnings from playing basketball, he also earns a lot of money through endorsements and personal sponsors.
As an example, the 27-year-old Greek Freak has a huge endorsement deal with Nike. He has an exclusive shoe deal with the company, as well as a number of other partnerships. He has also been endorsed by Hulu, Tissot, Kronos Foods, and T-Mobile.
Another huge source of income is his film deal with Disney. The Greek Freak is slated to have a movie about his life, called “Rise,” released in June 2022.
In addition to his NBA career, Giannis Antetokounmpo has a charitable foundation that helps kids who need assistance with their sports. He and his brothers established the AntetokounBros Academy to help a number of young children get into basketball.
He also donates money to a Chicago-based NGO that offers after-school education. He also makes regular contributions to the NBA’s COVID pandemic fund.
The Greek Freak has also a strong social media presence. He regularly posts photos and videos of himself, and his fans often comment on them. He also has a Twitter account that receives hundreds of thousands of hits a day.
He is currently ranked sixth on the list of highest-paid athletes in the NBA with total earnings of $335 million, behind LeBron James. This includes a $228,200,420 guaranteed minimum salary and an average annual salary of $45,640,084. Other recent contracts that have made it into the list include Russel Westbrook’s supermax extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017 and Steph Curry’s $201 million contract extension with the Golden State Warriors in 2017.
4. Naomi Osaka
As one of the most popular and successful athletes in the world, Naomi Osaka has amassed a staggering amount of money. Her earnings include prize money, endorsements, investments and smart business ventures.
Osaka has already won four Grand Slams, and she has a lot more to look forward to as her career progresses. She is currently ranked number 2 in the world and will be competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where she hopes to win her first singles title.
Despite her success on the court, Osaka has also become known for her activism and social justice initiatives. She has shown her support for Black Lives Matter and recently wore masks that featured the names of African American victims of police shootings during her matches at the US Open.
Her lucrative endorsement deals with brands like Nike, Yonex, Nissan, All Nippon Airways and Tag Heuer make up a sizable chunk of her income. She also has deals with Mastercard, FTX and Workday — all of which feature on her outfits during competitions.
In addition to her sponsorships, Osaka is a cofounder of skincare brand Kinlo and talent agency Evolve as well as production company Hana Kuma. She’s also an investor in a variety of companies, including Hyperice, Morinaga & Company, Airbnb and GoDaddy.
Osaka’s popularity among Gen Z fans has helped her earn a massive amount of money. She has been able to afford to live a luxury lifestyle, complete with high-end real estate and designer clothes.
She’s also a fan of tech, so she’s invested in a number of startups, including Klutch, SpringHill and Hyperice. She’s even teamed up with Hyperice to promote their Core meditation device, which she uses to help her improve her mental health.
5. Kevin Durant
Durant is one of the biggest names in the NBA and his net worth in 2022 is estimated to be $200 million. He is currently one of the highest paid players in the NBA and has many lucrative endorsement deals which help him earn millions of dollars each year.
He is also a savvy businessman and co-CEO of a company called Thirty Five Ventures which has made more than 40 early-stage investments. Some of these investments have reportedly resulted in a high valuation, including Coinbase and WHOOP.
His earnings are set to continue growing, as he will start a four-year, $196 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets in the next season. He has a huge endorsement deal with Nike and is also an investor in many sports-related companies.
When he plays, Durant is one of the best players in the game and he has won numerous awards throughout his career. He has earned five MVPs and four scoring titles, along with two Finals MVPs.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, he will make $42 million this season from his contract with the Brooklyn Nets and a similar amount from off-court investments. He has a 10-year contract with Nike worth $300 million and has endorsement deals with brands like Gatorade, Sprite, Google, Alaska air group and 2K Sports.
In addition, he has been investing in several tech companies like Postmates and Robinhood through his investment firm Thirty Five Ventures. He is also a philanthropist and donates a large amount of money to various charities each year.
Durant is a talented player who is known for his two-point shooting skills. He is able to shoot over or off the dribble, fade away and even get past over two defenders at an amazing rate. He is also an excellent passer and has a knack for creating great looks for his teammates, which help them score points. He has also been a strong teammate and has helped his team win multiple championships.