Who topped ‘Forbes’ list of highest-paid athletes

Who topped 'Forbes' list of highest-paid athletes
Stephen Curry (Photo credit: / Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley)

Despite being the so-called senior citizen of the NBA, LeBron James remains the face of the league as he capped off a historic season averaging 30 points a game and leading in both All-Star Game votes and jersey sales.

But the 37-year-old Los Angeles Lakers superstar came in second in the world in earned income in the fiscal year 2022, according to Forbes‘ list of Top 10 highest-paid athletes.

Forbes reports that soccer legend Lionel Messi, a perennial superstar from the world’s most popular sport, is the No. 1 income earner by hauling in more than $130 million in pre-tax gross earnings over the past year. 

He surpasses James’ earnings of approximately $121.2 million. LBJ earned approximately $41.2 million from the Lakers and more than $80 million for his off-court investments, sponsorships and partnerships. 

The financial magazine, which is considered the bible in the economic sphere, said that King James earned the vast majority of his non-basketball related income from Space Jam: A New Legacy, a remarkable feat since it was resoundingly trashed by movie critics in 2021. He also handsomely profited from his lucrative deal with YouTube, the new home of his popular series “The Shop” after LBJ vacated HBO. 

Two of the other most popular NBA players over the past decade, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, landed in the 5th and 6th spots, respectively. Curry reportedly earned $45.8 million for his court play and $47 million in other ventures. Durant hauled in $42M from the Brooklyn Nets and $50M on his deals with Coinbase, NBA Top Shot, and Weedmaps among other endeavors. 

NFL quarterback Tom Brady was ninth, followed by the man who is predicted to be the face of the NBA moving forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. Nicknamed “The Greek Freak,” Antetokounmpo boasted a $39.9 million annual paycheck and then pocketed $41 million from an aggregation of deals on his downtime. Furthermore, Rise, a biopic on his tumultuous and ultimately triumphant upbringing in Greece, is set to premiere in June 2022 on Disney+.

Check out the complete Top 10 list which, not surprisingly, includes three soccer stars in the top five. Who topped 'Forbes' list of highest-paid athletes

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