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These (Sport) Players Are The Top Earners

If you love sports, you might fantasize about becoming a top-earning player while lying in bed at night. However, many people don’t actually know how much sports players earn. You know their names, player stats, and maybe even their background information, but you might not know just how much their salaries are. 


Top Earning Sports Players

The top players make millions of dollars a year, so it’s no wonder you might dream about being one of them. Unfortunately, it’s not easy. The top-earning sports stars spend most of their time training and exercising, and eating healthily, which may not sound fun to most of us. However, their hard work pays off because being the best at what you do comes with a hefty paycheck. Wondering how much your favorite players make? You’ve come to the right place. Check out these top earners in sports. 

DeAndre Hopkins (NFL): $38 million 

DeAndre Hopkins is only 30 years old but earned around $38 million last year as a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. He was originally drafted by Houston, Texas, for his pro career, spending seven years there before becoming a Cardinal. 

Phil Mickelson (PGA): $41 million 

Golfers earn a great living just like NBA and NFL stars, so it’s time to start practicing your golf swing. Phil Mickelson is a well-known golfer known as “Lefty.” He became a professional golfer almost thirty years ago and is one of the wealthiest players in the sport. Believe it or not, only $1 million of Mickelson’s earnings came from playing golf in 2021. The remaining $40 million came from endorsements. 

Serena Williams (WTA): $41.5 million 

Serena Williams is a household name known for her skills in playing tennis. She is regarded as one of the best female tennis players of all time and earned over $1.5 million playing the sport last year. However, the rest of her earnings came from off the court, making her one of the top highest-paid American sports players in America. 

Myles Garret (NFL): $43 million 

Miles Garret is a defensive end for the Cleveland Browns, which he’s played for since 2017. At only 26 years old, he’s one of the top earners of 2021, with only $500,000 of his total earnings coming from off-field activities and endorsements.


Dustin Johnson (PGA): $44.5 million 

Just because they don’t have to engage in high-intensity fitness training doesn’t mean golfers can’t earn millions of dollars in their careers. Dustin Johnson is another golfer who is a top earner. In 2017, Johnson was the number one golfer with one of the longest streaks golf has ever had. He was in first place from 2017 to 2021, spending more than 130 as golf’s number one player. Johnson made $44.5 million last year, with only about half being earnings from actually playing. 

Ronnie Stanley (NFL): $47.5 million 

At only 27 years old, Ronnie Stanley is one of the highest-earning sports players and is regarded as one of the best players in the NFL. Stanley has spent the past six years of his career as an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, and most of his earnings come from playing football rather than off-field earnings.

David Bakhtiari (NFL): $48.5 million 

Even people who don’t watch sports know the Green Bay Packers. David Bakhtiari has been an offensive tackle for the Packers for almost ten years, bringing in over $48 million last year alone. He only earned around $500,000 from sponsorships and other off-field earnings. 

Patrick Mahomes (NFL): $54.5 million

Patrick Mahomes is another household name, and he was recently named the 2019-2020 season’s MVP and best offensive player. A quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs since 2017, he made over $22 million of his earnings off the field. 

Tiger Woods (PGA): $60 million 

Tiger Woods is perhaps the most famous golfer in the world and one of the all-time greats. At only 46 years old, he’s had a respectable career and continues to play well. He’s currently ranked second in major championships but tied for first on the PGA Tour. Last year alone, Woods made $60 million, with only $200,000 coming from playing golf. 

Stephen Curry (NBA): $74.5 million

A famous basketball player, Stephen Curry, plays for the Golden State Warriors. At just 33 years old, he’s a famous point guard and recognized for his shooting talents. Last year, he was paid over $70 million, with more than half coming from earnings off the court. 

Kevin Durant (NBA): $75 million 

Kevin Durant only made slightly more than Stephen Curry last year, but he’s another well-known basketball player. Durant plays for the Brooklyn Nets, previously playing for the Golden State Warriors and Seattle SuperSonics. At only 33 years old, he’s done well for himself, with $44 million of his earnings coming from activities off the court.

Tom Brady (NFL): $76 million 

Tom Brady recently announced his retirement, only to come out of retirement to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd NFL season. He’s the oldest player on the team. After spending twenty years with the New England Patriots, Brady became a Buccaneer in 2020. Brady is known as one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, which is why he’s paid so well. Making around $45 million from playing football, he also earned another $31 million from sponsorships.

LeBron James (NBA): $96.5 million 

If you don’t already know, LeBron James plays for the Los Angeles Lakers as a small forward. He’s one of the most commercialized players in the history of the sport because he’s regarded as one of the best. Many fans believe James is the greatest player of all time since he has won four NBA championships with three different teams, including the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Heat. He has been named MVP for all of those championships and has earned over $96 million. 

Dak Prescott (NFL): $107.5

Dak Prescott recently signed a four-year contract for $160 million, which includes $126 million guaranteed and totals around $42 million per year. As a well-known football player for the Dallas Cowboys, Prescott is only 28 years old and the top-earning quarterback. Most of his earnings come from playing, but he received around $10 million from off-the-field activities last year.

Final Thoughts

Professional athletes earn millions of dollars every year, but they have to earn it. From early morning training to late-night exercises, none of these top earners could be considered lazy. When these players retire, they don’t have to work, but many do, following their other passions to help them earn more money even after retirement. 


Ashley Nielsen

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music. 


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