Today Forbes posted a list of the highest-paid athletes over the past year (combining salary, winnings, and endorsements). Link here. You may be surprised. Let's break it down by sport (I only did the top 26 and I left out football and baseball because I'm lazy and I hate football):
1. Floyd Mayweather - $85 million in winnings, $0 in endorsements
2. Manny Pacquiao - $56 million in winnings, $6 million in endorsements
24. Wladimir Klitschko - $24 million in winnings, $4 million in endorsements
Well, there's surprise number one for me. I had no idea boxers made this much money. Floyd only fought twice! I'm also surprised that Money doesn't have a single endorsement. Like, nobody could find a product that they wanted the best boxer of our time to endorse? Even the big stupid Russian supplemented his winnings with some ad money. Nike? PowerBar? J. Crew?
3. Tiger Woods - $4.4 million in winnings, $55 million in endorsements
7. Phil Mickelson - $4.8 million in winnings, $43 million in endorsements
I thought Tiger's sponsors all dropped him when the whole Thanksgiving scandal thing happened? I mean $55 million isn't a bad payday for having once been the most intimidating golfer ever. Why does Nike still pay him so much money? Throw 10% of that money at Pat Cantlay and give the rest to Mayweather. Tiger is now just an above-average golfer. He's no more intimidating that Luke Donald or Lee Westwood. But he's still more intimidating than Ian Poulter.
4. LeBron James - $13 million in salary, $40 million in endorsements
6. Kobe Bryant - $20.3 million in salary, $32 million in endorsements
I don't care what anybody has to say about LeBron or Kobe. There is no way that Kobe is worth 156% as much as LeBron per year. If you want to get into the legacy/what he's done for the Lakers/he's their whole team, that's fine. Kobe is worth more. But LeBron James brings more value to the basketball court than Kobe Bryant. It's science.
5. Roger Federer - $7.7 million in winnings, $45 million in endorsements
16. Rafael Nadal - $8.2 million in winnings, $25 million in endorsements
26. Maria Sharapova - $5.9 million in winnings, $22 million in endorsements
I think whoever is in charge of sponsoring tennis players has it all backwards. The smokeshow blonde should get the largest chunk of the pie. Then the devastatingly handsome Spaniard. Then the almost-washed-up Switzerlander (Switz? Swit?). Side note: Maria Sharapova made $6 million this year by playing women's tennis? Sign me up! I'll be the Juwanna Man of tennis. Except I can't play tennis.
8. David Beckham - $9 million in salary, $37 million in endorsements
9. Cristiano Ronaldo - $20.5 million in salary, $22 million in endorsements
11. Lionel Messi - $20 million in salary, $19 million in endorsements
Let's be honest. Beckham's salary is basically an endorsement from the LA Galaxy/the MLS. No way anybody that plays soccer in America deserves $9 million to play soccer. In America. Also, it's fitting that Ronaldo makes slightly more than Messi. Not accurate, but fitting; Ronaldo gets all the publicity and Messi just puts his head down and goes to work. But let's be honest. Cristiano should be making three times the endorsement money. At least.