The top 10 richest athletes in the world; Lewis Hamilton didn’t even make the cut!

Published on May 12, 2022 at 4:46 PM (UTC+4)
by Patrick Jackson

Last updated on May 18, 2022 at 5:21 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Kate Bain

The top 10 richest athletes in the world; Lewis Hamilton didn’t even make the cut!

Lewis Hamilton cashed $54 million last year, but it was nowhere near enough to crack the top 10 richest athletes in the world.

Hamilton was the top paid Formula 1 driver, but his bank balance puts him at 19th on the rich list.

We all know the best athletes in the world earn top dollar for their talents, but Sportico has done the digging to find out just who is the richest.

Let’s take a look.

10. Tiger Woods – $73.5 million

Tiger Woods’ golf ranking tanked to number 973 in the world. But he is still the sport’s top earner.

Woods has been cashing big checks from his endorsement deals to the tune of $65 million.

He makes cash from 2K Sports, Bridgestone, Rolex, TaylorMade, and Nike.


9. James Harden – $76 million

NBA is big business. You’ll see what we mean when you keep scrolling through this list.

The first mega-star basketballer we see is known as The Beard. Not the most creative nickname for James Harden to be honest.

Harden is earning checks from Adidas and Beats, and also owns a stake in the baseball franchise Houston Dynamo.

He’s not just a gun on the court, the Philadelphia 76ers star also invested in sports drink company BodyArmor which Coca-Cola bought for $8 billion. Harden pocketed $20 million from that. He uses that cash on the finer things in life like his Rolls Royce Wraith.

8. Roger Federer – $85.7 million

The tennis ace had a rough year on the court after a third knee surgery.

But Federer’s off-court investments made him $85 million.

There’s a huge deal with Japanese brand Uni Qlo, and Federer also owns a stake in Swiss shoe company On Running.

The brand is worth $7.3 billion.

Federer also has deals with Mercedes-Benz.

7. Kevin Durant – $85.9 million

Durant’s year was headlined by on-court drama with his Brooklyn Nets teammates, but the NBA superstar crushed it with his investments.

Through his business Thirty Five Ventures, which has 32 employees, he put cash into more than 80 companies.

He’s also making waves in the world of entertainment.

He’s a producer on the brilliant Apple TV series Ballers.

6. Stephen Curry – $86.2 million

Stephen Curry is his own brand.

The best shooter in NBA history hosts TV show Holey Moley.

He has a sub-brand with Under Armour that sells his shoes and clothing lines.

He has a multimedia company too.

Oh, and did we mention he’s pretty good at basketball?

Curry was the first NBA player in history to sign a second $200-million plus contract.

5. Canelo Álvarez – $89 million

The Mexican boxer copped just his second career loss days ago in a massive controversy. But Canelo Álvarez has been raking it in from the wins he has had.

Earning more than any other boxer, a massive $84 million of his earnings came from wins.

Just $5 million came from his endorsements with Under Armour and beer company Tecate – far less in endorsements than anyone else in the top five.

4. Neymar – $103 million

The first athlete to crack into the hundreds of millions is Paris Saint-Germain winger Neymar.

He earns most of the cash from his record-breaking salary with the French club.

The Brazilian has a $14.7 million deal with Puma too.

He likes his cars too. Neymar has an Aston Martin Vulcan. That’s a $2.3 million car (and a lot more with the custom stuff he’s got on it).

3. Cristiano Ronaldo – $115 million

Ronaldo is a legend.

Although he took a hefty pay cut to return to his former club of Manchester United, he still earns $470,000 per week.

He also has a $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike, along with fronting his own successful CR7 brand that sells fragrances, underwear, and eyewear.

His watch collection is insane, check Ronaldo’s $10 million watch collection here.

2. Lionel Messi – $122 million

The Argentine hero is the reigning Ballon d’Or winner – the prize for best footballer in the world.

He cashes in a mega salary just like teammate Neymar, he has some huge endorsements with Adidas, Gatorade, and Pepsi too.

So what can you buy with that sort of money?

How about a $36 million Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti.

1. LeBron James – $126.9 million

All hail the King.

LeBron James has certainly earned his crown, topping the list of the highest-paid athletes in 2022 and taking the title from boxer Conor McGregor.

The MMA maniac fell to number 22. At least McGregor still has a pretty cool Lamborghini boat – check it out here.

But back to King James, who had a rubbish year with the ageing Los Angeles Lakers.

James played like a GOAT, but his team didn’t even make the playoffs.

So why was his year so full of cash?

James starred in Space Jam: A New Legacy. Plus he signed a $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike.

Yes, billion.

Where do F1 drivers rank for 2022?

None other than seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton topped the earnings for all Formula 1 drivers, bringing home $54 million which was good for 19th place.

Most of that came from earnings, despite a second-place finish to Max Verstappen in 2021, although he’s clearly seen in endorsements for the likes of IWC, Monster Energy, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Where are the women?

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams were the highest paid female athletes.
IMAGE: Instagram

The first thing that stood out to me when looking through sport’s highest-paid athletes was the fact no women made it to the top 10.

In fact, only two even made the top 100 – Naomi Osaka at number 20 with $53.2 million, and Serena Williams at just number 52 with $35.3 million.

Osaka banked big from the BodyArmor sale, along with other endorsements including her position as CEO of skincare brand KINLO; Williams’ earnings mostly came through her venture capital firm Serena Ventures.

With just two women ranking in the top 100 – and both from the same sport – it only goes to further highlight the gender gap for earnings and endorsements.

Where did Tom Brady rank?

The notably now-unretired Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady ranked at number 16 with $58.4 million – an eight-spot drop due to the nature of NFL signing bonuses.

However, expect to see the 44-year-old NFL legend climb his way back up the ladder next year – he just signed a gigantic $375 million deal to become an analyst for Fox Sports when he actually retires for good.



Patrick Jackson

A car zealot from a young age, Patrick has put his childhood spent obsessing over motoring magazines and TV shows to good use over the past six years as a journalist. Fuelled by premium octane coffee, he’s contributed to Finder, DriveTribe, WhichCar, Vehicle History and Drive Section.