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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ranking the 50 highest-earning/paid athletes in the U.S.

Ranking the 50 highest-earning athletes in the U.S.

By Jonah Freedman, SI.com

Five years ago, Sports Illustrated first set out to find the 50 top-earning American athletes (taking into account on- and off-the-field income). We discovered a few basic facts, and as the Fortunate 50 turns five, some things have remained dead-on consistent:
No one can touch Tiger Woods, the runaway No. 1 for the fifth year in a row. Tiger's near $128 million haul is more than double his closest pursuer, Phil Mickelson at $62.4 million. As usual, hoops dominates the 50: More than half this year's list is made up of NBA players. There are 10 baseball players, seven football players, three NASCAR drivers, three golfers and one boxer -- and yet zero women.
Meanwhile, our International 20 list has seen a huge bump in average paycheck, thanks to the weak American dollar: 12 of the athletes earn their bread in foreign currencies from leagues outside the U.S. In the futures department, we tab the likes of Danica Patrick, Chris Paul and Joba Chamberlain to someday soon make the 50 in our Future Fortunates photo gallery.
As always, we limited our estimates to salary, winnings, bonuses, endorsements and appearances. Candidates for the 50 had to be American citizens. For an in-depth analysis of who's on the fifth annual Fortunate 50 and why, click here.

Tiger Woods

Pro Golf
Last Year's Rank: 1$22,902,706
With close to $800 million in total earnings on and off the course over his 13-year career, Tiger should become the first billion-dollar athlete in the next two years -- and he's still only 32. See Tiger's sponsors.
Phil Mickelson

Pro Golf
Last Year's Rank: 3$9,372,685
Lefty's numbers jump thanks to an extra $2 million in FedEx Cup points in '07 and lucrative appearance fees for his first participation on the Asian Tour in Singapore and Shanghai. See Phil's sponsors.
LeBron James

Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 6$12,455,000
King James has earned $167 million during his five seasons in the NBA, and has his eyes on serious entrepreneurship: He counts billionaire Warren Buffett as a role model and friend.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Last Year's Rank: 21$20,000,000
It's been a monster year for Pretty Boy, who made $20 million in purse and pay-per-view shares for his fight with Ricky Hatton and another $20 million for his foray into professional wrestling.
Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 5$19,490,625
How's that for a change of tune? He once criticized his teammates; last month Bryant bought each of them $9,000 Swiss watches as a thank you for helping him win his first MVP award.
Shaquille O'Neal

Phoenix Suns (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 4$20,000,000
Shaq finally unloaded his 2.5-acre Miami estate last fall after having it on the market for more than two years. The buyer? Miami-native (and No. 7) A-Rod, for a reported $27 million.
Alex Rodriguez

New York Yankees (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: 11$29,000,000
Assuming A-Rod plays out his new mammoth 10-year, $275 million deal, he'll have earned $445 million in base salary alone over the course of what would be a 24-year career.
Kevin Garnett

Boston Celtics (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 7$22,000,000
KG is the highest-paid of the Celtics' Big Three; at a total of $56.1 million in salary this season, the trio makes up 74 percent of the Eastern Conference champs' entire payroll in '07-08.
Peyton Manning

Indianapolis Colts (NFL)
Last Year's Rank: 12$17,500,000
Hide the Lombardi Trophy. Football's leading endorser is still king of NFL pitchmen, but little bro Eli -- with whom he now regularly shares screen time in TV ads -- is creeping up fast.
Derek Jeter

New York Yankees (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: 8$22,000,000
The Yankee captain cut a deal with the tax man in February that allowed him to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes on his $13 million Trump World Tower condo.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Auto Racing
Last Year's Rank: 10$5,221,970
Maybe try one meeellion next time? Junior laughed off Eddie Gossage's $100,000 offer to race in the IndyCar series, calling him Dr. Evil: "His first estimate ... was a little underfigured."
Allen Iverson

Denver Nuggets (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 11$20,109,375
The Nuggets are reportedly willing to sign A.I. to a multi-year extension (for less money) if he opts out of the last year of his six-year, $71 million contract -- he'd earn $21.9 million in '08-09.
Kevin Durant

Seattle SuperSonics (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: NR$4,300,000
The 2007-08 Rookie of the Year will have to wait three more seasons for a giant contract, but his $7 million-a-year deal with Nike included a $12 million signing bonus.
Jeff Gordon

Auto Racing
Last Year's Rank: 16$10,926,687
Despite a second-place finish in the NASCAR standings, Gordon collected a career-high in racing money in '07: $7.1 million in track winnings and another $3.3 million from the points fund.
Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL)
Last Year's Rank: NR$22,700,000
It's the gift that keeps on giving. Big Ben rakes in $20.2 million of his $25.2 million signing bonus during calendar-year '08; the rest is due next season, plus a $3 million roster bonus.
Dwyane Wade

Miami Heat (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 40$13,041,250
D-Wade just raised the bar for sons everywhere: For Mother's Day, the Heat star bought his Baptist pastor mom, Jolinda, her very own church on the South Side of Chicago.
Tracy McGrady

Houston Rockets (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 13$19,014,187
T-Mac is reportedly looking to graduate from his 18,000-square foot home in suburban Houston, which boasts seven bedrooms, 8½ bathrooms, an elevator, a boat dock and an indoor court.
Carmelo Anthony

Denver Nuggets (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: NR$13,041,250
Construction got underway last month on the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center practice facility at Syracuse University, thanks to a $3 million donation from its famous namesake alum.
Tim Duncan

San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 18$19,014,187
Duncan reportedly accepted $10 million less than what he was eligible for in his two-year, $40 million extension signed in October so the Spurs would be able to chase free agents.
Manny Ramirez

Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: 20$20,000,000
The World Series champs have a $20 million option on the enigmatic Manny for the '09 season; if they decline it, they'd have to deal with his new agent: infamous hardballer Scott Boras.
Michael Finley

San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 19$21,698,750
The only active player who's still under the same contract from 2005's "amnesty clause," Finley earned $18.6 million this season from the Mavericks in addition to $3.1 million from the Spurs.
Dwight Howard

Orlando Magic (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: NR$6,061,273
Howard makes his debut thanks to a heavy bonus from his multi-year deal with Adidas; his salary jumps to $13 million next season, the first of his five-year, $85 million extension.
Jason Giambi

New York Yankees (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: 19$21,000,000
So was he worth all that dough? Giambi, in the final year of his $120 million deal with the Yanks, has never matched his 2000 AL MVP numbers during his seven seasons in pinstripes.
Jason Kidd

Dallas Mavericks (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 25$19,728,000
Re-acquiring the All-Star point guard gave Mark Cuban the highest payroll in the NBA this past season ($105 million) and puts him on the hook for Kidd's $21.4 million salary next year.
Stephon Marbury

New York Knicks (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 26$19,012,500
The honeymoon between Steph and his hometown team is long over, but he's a huge asset as a tradeable, expiring contract next season, the last of his four-year, $77 million deal.
JaMarcus Russell

Oakland Raiders (NFL)
Last Year's Rank: NR$20,275,000
Besides that fat $19.9 million bonus check he got in March, Russell can earn as much as $30 million more in incentive bonuses over his six-year deal for taking most of the Raiders' snaps.
Jermaine O'Neal

Indiana Pacers (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 27$19,728,000
The Pacers All-Star bought a $3.6 million home just outside Las Vegas so he could be close to the Abunassar Impact Basketball facility, where he's been rehabbing his injured left knee.
Torii Hunter

Los Angeles Angels (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: NR$18,500,000
Hunter rejected offers from the White Sox, Rangers and Royals last November in favor of the Angels' monstrous proposal, the most lucrative he received: five years for $90 million.
Baron Davis

Golden State Warriors (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 32$16,440,000
A budding independent-film producer, Davis reportedly may opt out of the final year of his six-year, $84 million deal to become a free agent; he'd be leaving $17.8 million on the table.
Jimmie Johnson

Auto Racing
Last Year's Rank: 31$15,663,920
The back-to-back Nextel Cup champion collected a points-fund award of $7.3 million on top of his '07 on-track winnings; he's earned nearly $60 million during his eight-year NASCAR career.
Steve Francis

Houston Rockets (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 46$16,800,000
The man they once called "The Franchise" will earn a total of $31 million from the Blazers, who bought out the rest of his contract last July; he has a two-year, $6 million deal with the Rockets.
Vince Carter

New Jersey Nets (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 23$13,000,000
Vinsanity donated $2.5 million to his high school in Daytona Beach, Fla., which went toward a new athletic center. Recently unveiled out front was, of course, a life-size statue of the star.
Tom Brady

New England Patriots (NFL)
Last Year's Rank: 47$8,000,000
Live under Brady's roof, just don't expect him to be there for the Super Bowl party: Pats QB sold two of the units in his Boston brownstone condo building he bought for $6.2 million in '06.
Paul Pierce

Boston Celtics (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 37$16,360,095
Pierce's reign as the Celtics' highest-paid player lasted exactly two seasons, but he'll start outearning Kevin Garnett in '09-10 by $3.4 million, when he's set to make $19.8 million.
Larry Fitzgerald

Arizona Cardinals (NFL)
Last Year's Rank: NR$17,100,000
Of the wideout's new four-year, $40 million deal signed in March, $30 million is guaranteed, including the $15 million signing bonus and a $5 million option bonus payable in '09.
Shawn Marion

Miami Heat (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 42$16,440,000
One and done? The Matrix has a player option for next season, the final year of his contract. If he declines the $17.2 million salary, he's free to close the book on his 16 games with Miami.
Todd Helton

Colorado Rockies (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: 35$16,600,000
Currently in the fifth year of his nine-year, $121 million deal, the first baseman's '08 salary is more than $7 million higher than his next closest teammate, '07 NLCS MVP Matt Holliday.
Ray Allen

Boston Celtics (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 43$16,000,000
Once upon a time, Allen was part of another "Big Three" in Milwaukee, along with Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell. All three combined earned a paltry $24.2 million in '01-02.
Rashard Lewis

Orlando Magic (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: NR$15,600,000
Lewis joins the 50 this year thanks to the sign-and-trade deal he inked with Seattle last summer before the Sonics shipped him to Orlando: a six-year contract worth $118 million.
Antawn Jamison

Washington Wizards (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 45$16,360,095
Falling dominoes in D.C.? Jamison is officially a free agent now that his six-year, $80 million contract is up. Teammate Gilbert Arenas says he'll opt out if the Wiz don't re-sign his pal.
Albert Pujols

St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: 44$13,000,000
The Cards' four starting infielders, Pujols, Adam Kennedy, César Izturis and Troy Glaus will cost the team about $32 million in '08 -- or around one-third of St. Louis' entire payroll.
Carlos Delgado

New York Mets (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: 48$16,000,000
The Marlins are reportedly paying $4 million of Delgado's salary this year as part of the '05 trade that sent him to the Mets -- more than any current Florida player earns.
Andy Pettitte

New York Yankees (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: 38$16,000,000
Five years ago, Pettitte was part of a five-man Yankee rotation earning a combined $45 million. Now, he and Mike Mussina (at $11 million) are the only ones making more than $4 million.
Jared Allen

Minnesota Vikings (NFL)
Last Year's Rank: NR$16,250,069
The talented defensive end's off-the-field troubles didn't scare off the Vikings, who signed Allen to a six-year, $72 million deal, including a $15.5 million up-front signing bonus.
Ben Wallace

Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 36$15,500,000
The Cavs shot-blocker's new sneaker, which was released last November, is manufactured by Stephon Marbury's discount "Starbury" brand -- the "Big Ben" retails for $15.
Jason Schmidt

Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: 41$16,000,000
Schmidt, Rafael Furcal and Andruw Jones -- the Dodgers' three highest-paid players at a combined $43 million in '08 -- have each spent at least two weeks on the DL this season.
Elton Brand

Los Angeles Clippers (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: NR$15,344,000
Rescue Dawn, the $10 million indie film starring Christian Bale that Brand co-produced, couldn't break even in theaters -- but is a cult hit on video. It's made around $20 million in DVD sales.
Amaré Stoudemire

Phoenix Suns (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 50$13,260,000
From one Valley of the Sun celeb to another: Amaré bought Cardinals QB Matt Leinart's home for $1.9 million last November, to add to his three other Phoenix-area properties.
Jim Furyk

Pro Golf
Last Year's Rank: NR$4,754,046
Furyk becomes the first golfer to break the Tiger-Phil duopoly on the 50 thanks to endorsement deals that include Marquis Jet, Johnny Walker Collection and electric-utility company Exelon.
Eli Manning

New York Giants (NFL)
Last Year's Rank: NR$8,450,000
The Fortunate 50's Mr. Irrelevant? Hardly. After his Super Bowl XLII MVP performance, Eli's handlers say he has opportunities on the table to more than double his endorsement portfolio.

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