Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are the Third and Fourth-Highest Paid Athletes in the World

by June 05, 2013

In the sneaker sales wars, LeBron James may outrank Kobe Bryant, but when it comes to overall revenue in the last year, The Black Mamba is tops among NBA players (and third on the world stage, behind golfter Tiger Woods and tennis star Roger Federer.) Per Forbes: “Tiger Woods had a dramatic fall from grace after his 2009 Thanksgiving car crash. He lost five sponsors, $50 million in annual income, his place atop the world golf rankings and his marriage. But with six victories over the last 12 months, Woods is back at No. 1 on the course and on Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid athletes—a spot he occupied every year from 2001 until 2012, when boxer Floyd Mayweather ranked first. Forbes estimates that Woods pulled in $78.1 million over the last year from prize money, endorsements, appearance fees and golf course design work. His resurgence on the links boosted his prize money over the last 12 months to $13.1 million, double his total from the prior year. He now has 78 career wins, only four short of the all-time record held by Sam Snead. […] Kobe Bryant is third with an income of $61.9 million over the past 12 months. He had the highest salary in the NBA for the third straight year during the 2012-13 season. His $27.8 million salary is $7 million higher than any other player. Bryant continues to perform at a ridiculously high level after 17 years in the league. He made the All-NBA first team for the eighth straight year this season and passed Wilt Chamberlain for fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant is still a huge draw, particularly overseas, where he had the NBA’s best-selling jersey during the 2011-12 season. Bryant added Hublot this year to an endorsement roster that includes Nike, Coca-Cola, Turkish Airlines, Lenovo, Panini and Mercedes-Benz. LeBron James had a memorable 2012, winning his first NBA title, third MVP Award and a second Olympic gold medal. He joined an exclusive group of four Hall of Famers with his fourth MVP Award after the 2012-13 season. He is back in the NBA Finals for a third straight year and ranks fourth with earnings of $59.8 million. James is the NBA’s biggest endorsement star, thanks to deals with Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Samsung Electronics and others. His $42 million in endorsement income is tops among active athletes in team sports.”