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The World's Highest Paid Athletes in 2015

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Make no bones about it: professional athletes, regardless of sport, are among the highest paid individuals in the world.

The athletes who have risen to the top of their sport earn more than the rest. They are the cream of the crop, both in terms of performance and earnings.

Forbes recently published its list of the world's highest paid athletes for 2015. Anybody on this list, ranked from 1 to 100, is earning more than most others in their sport.

The Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes

There are no surprises in the top 10:

  1. Floyd Mayweather: $300 million
  2. Manny Pacquiao: $160 million
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo: $79.6 million
  4. Lionel Messi: $73.8 million
  5. Roger Federer: $67 million
  6. LeBron James: $64.8 million
  7. Kevin Durant: $54.1 million
  8. Phil Mickelson: $50.8 million
  9. Tiger Woods: $50.6 million
  10. Kobe Bryant: $49.5 million

While the names in the top 10 may not be surprising, here are some specific points to roll through your head:

  • None of the top five athletes compete in one of the four major American sports (baseball, basketball, football, hockey).
  • Mayweather is the clear #1, leading Pacquiao, the #2 athlete, by $140 million.
  • In terms of endorsements, Roger Federer is top dog with $58 million in earnings.

Here are some other general observations from the top 100 list:

  • Two women landed on the list. Maria Sharapova at #26 with $29.7 million in earnings, and Serena Williams at #47 with $24.6 million in earnings.
  • At age 45, Phil Mickelson is the oldest athlete on the list.
  • At age 23, Neymar is the youngest athlete on the list (#23 with $31 million in earnings).
  • There are no professional hockey players listed.
  • Jon Lester is the highest paid baseball player, checking in at #19 with $34.1 million in earnings.

When you combine salary/winnings with endorsements, every athlete on the Forbes top 100 list, from Floyd Mayweather (#1) to James Harden (#100), will earn at least $18.8 million in 2015.