It's a Guy Thing


A decade’s worth of earnings from some of the world’s highest-paid athletes…

How much can the average guy make in a year? $30, $60, $120k? Hey, I’m sure many people would gladly settle for a sweet 120k annual salary that’ll bring in a smooth $1,2mil over a ten-year period. Any more than that would be a bonus, plus, we all know making more money is always a good thing, right? 

Well, what about those people who are way beyond average? Those who are exceptional. The top of the top, those athletes that just seem to keep coining it year after year. What are their bank accounts looking like after a decade’s worth of earning? We decided to check out the numbers and thanks to the experts over at we were able to bring you a top 10 Countdown of the highest-paid athletes over the last decade.


Lewis Hamilton

$400 million

British-born Hamilton is by far one of the most popular F1 racing drivers on the planet with his name and face being recognized by millions of people – even those who don’t follow the sport. Avid fans of F1 consider the McLaren Mercedes driver to be a racing legend, if not the greatest driver of all time! Hamilton is a six-time F1 World Champion and commands one of the biggest paychecks in the sport – actually, Hamilton has become the highest-paid driver in the history of Formula One according to research. Talk about exceptional. Who wouldn’t love to earn this type of money doing something as awesome as racing F1 cars!?


# Hamilton’s love for racing began early. In 1991, at the age of 6, Hamilton placed 2nd in a national remote control car competition – competing against adults.

# From remote cars to go-karts Hamilton made his way into his first kart at the age of 8. By 1995, at age 10, he won the British Karting Championship and the STP Karting Championship.

# In 1997, At 12, Hamilton entered into the McLaren Mercedes young drivers program and by 13 he became the youngest driver ever to be contracted by a Formula One team.

# At the age of 18 Hamilton won his first serious European series by winning the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship.

# His first season as a Formula One racer came in 2007 after being contracted by McLaren Mercedes.

# Hamilton won his first Formula One Championship in 2008 at age 23, making him the youngest driver to do so. 

# In 2009, Lewis Hamilton was admitted into the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.

# Hamilton has the second most wins of all time in Grand Prix – behind the great Michael Schumacher. And he still has a long career ahead of him so who knows what the final tally will be. 


Kevin Durant

$425 million

Yet another exceptional athlete, Kevin Durant is at the peak of his game. On the court, he is one of the most skillful players and this has earned him a well deserved (and extremely large) paycheck with an estimated annual salary northwards of $26 million. Durant’s annual earnings from his salary and endorsements jumped 400% during the course of the decade and that’s what happens when you’re damn good at what you do. Salute!


# Kevin has won the NBA’s H-O-R-S-E competition twice.

# He is best friends with fellow NBA player Michael Beasley who he grew up with.

# Durant was the leader on the US 2010 FIBA World Championship team leading his team to its first gold medal since 1994.

# He wears the number 35 to honor Charles Craig, one of his AAU coaches, who died at age 35.

# He has long arms and a wingspan of 7 and 1/2 feet!

# When he first entered the NBA he signed a $60 million contract with Nike – turning down a bigger contract from Adidas because he had worn Nikes since he was a kid.



Manny Pacquiao

$435 million

Now here’s a name we didn’t quite expect to see on this list. For those that follow boxing Manny Pacquiao is a star in his own right, but for the rest of the population who don’t follow the sport Pacquiao became increasingly popular due to his match with Floyd Mayweather. Remember? All the hype, all the drama, all the cash Mayweather made! Don’t get it wrong though, Pacquiao knows what he is doing. Pacquiao’s 25 pay-per-view fights have generated 20 million buys and an estimated $1.3 billion in revenue. Talk about serious earning power!


# Pacquiao is the first boxer to win major world titles in four of the weight classes known as glamour division flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight.

# Pacquiao is also a politician who is currently serving as a Senator of the Philippines since 2016.

# Pacquiao has achieved ten world titles and is the first and only eight-division world champion.

# A military man, Pacquiao is serving his duty as a military reservist in the Reserve Force of the Philippine Army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

# ‘Manny’ talents, that’s right, Pacquiao is an actor too having featured in a superhero-comedy film called “Wapakman”.

# Manny Pacquiao became an honorary member of the Boston Celtics and received a replica of a green and white Celtics jersey by the Boston Celtics authority bearing his name and number 1.

# A film called “Pacquiao: The Movie” was released on 21st June 2006 which was based solely upon Manny Pacquiao’s life.

# Manny Pacquiao released his first album called “Laban Nating Lahat Ito” under Star Records in 2006. That album featured a number of hit songs.



Phil Mickelson

$480 million

Mickelson, also known as Lefty, is a professional golfer popularly remembered for recently nabbing the biggest paycheck of his career in 2018 when he defeated his longtime rival Tiger Woods in an exhibition for a $9 million purse. That’s right, nine million dollars. Weird how we average golfers always end up spending money on golf instead of earning money from it. Aside from that sweet win, Mickelson has won 44 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships: three Masters titles, a PGA Championship, and an Open Championship. Mickelson is one of 12 players in the history of golf to win three of the four majors so he’s definitely one of the most skilled and talented golfers in the world!


# Mickelson is second on the PGA Tour’s all-time money list on $89 million. Tiger sits first. 

# Phil is one of only five players to win the US Amateur and NCAA Championship title in the same season.

# The man known as ‘Lefty’ is actually right-handed, and the only thing he does left-handed is play golf.

# Mickelson is an avid pilot following in the footsteps of his father who was a Navy pilot.

# Phil was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.

# Mickelson has had 15 top-10 finishes at the Masters from 26 attempts.

# Phil has won five Major championships, three Masters, one Open and one USPGA Championship.

# Mickelson gave $200 to a spectator after breaking his watch during a tee shot at the 2006 Ford Championship at Doral.



Tiger Woods

$615 million

Depending on how old you are your memories of Tiger Woods could range from scandal to huge victories and PGA success. Tiger Woods is not only one of the best golfers of all time and top of his game but he is also one of the best known and easily recognized athletes in the world. Although Woods averaged only 10 PGA Tour events per year during the 2010s his endorsement earnings for the decade were some of the highest-earning among top athletes earning him a cool sixth place on our countdown.


# Red Tiger. Tiger was famous for wearing red on the final day of tournaments. The saying is that his mom always believed red to be Tiger’s power color, and it seems there may be some truth to it. 

# Over the course of his career, Tiger has won over 80 PGA Tour events, including 15 Majors.

# Woods is also a successful author having written several books with his 2001 book How I Play Golf selling over 1.5 million copies.

# When Tiger turned pro in 1996, he and his father started the Tiger Woods Foundation, which now helps to educate kids all over the world.

# In Stanford Tiger got the nickname “Urkel” because he wore glasses at the time and looked like Steve Urkel from the ’90s sitcom, Family Matters.

# Tiger is Buddhistand he actively practices it, as he often wears a Buddhist bracelet while on the course.

# In 2010, Tiger donated $3 million in aid to Haiti which was hit by a massive earthquake that completely devastated the country. 

# We all know him as Tiger Woods, but his real name is Eldrick Tont Woods. His dad gave him the name Tiger after being stationed in Thailand and becoming good friends with a fellow soldier named Voung Dang Phong, whose nickname was “Tiger.”


Roger Federer

$640 million

From swinging a golf club to swinging a tennis racket, it seems being good at swinging things and hitting balls with a high level of accuracy can pay very, no, extremely well. Federer, 38, is a Swiss professional tennis player who is ranked world No. 4 in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Although he is on the back end of his tennis career his earnings will stay high on the back of a 10-year, $300 million deal with Uniqlo inked in 2018. I think it’s time we hit the local sports store and start practicing our swing. These types of earnings are getting us all optimistic about life!


# Federer started playing tennis at the age of six. As of today, he has won 102 singles titles, second-most in the Open Era, after Jimmy Connors who has won 109 during his career.

# He holds dual citizenship. Along with being a Swiss national, he is also a citizen of South Africa, as his mother hails from the country.

# By age 11, he was among Switzerland’s top junior players.

# Before winning his Wimbledon singles title in 2003, Federer won the boys’ title there in 1998.

# Federer turned professional in 1998 and won his first grand slam title at Wimbledon in 2003.

# Federer won 24 consecutive single professional finals between July 2003 and November 2005.

# By the time Federer was 18 years old, he had gathered $223,859 in career prize money. This was an impressive amount for an 18-year-old amateur player.



LeBron James

$680 million

In this modern-day who hasn’t heard of LeBron James? Like really. The NBA player who works magic with the basketball has also earned quite the name for himself over the years. He is often regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, which has resulted in frequent comparisons to Michael Jordan – but let’s not go down that road. James has made more than twice as much from endorsements during his first 16 years in the NBA, compared to his $270 million in playing salary. Earning big money while playing a game as fun as basketball seems like a dream come true doesn’t it?


# When LeBron was drafted in 2003 first overall, this made him the youngest first overall pick in NBA history at age 18!

# James is the youngest NBA player ever to score 2,000 points in their career, as well as being the youngest NBA player to record a triple-double.

# LeBron has not one but two Olympic gold medals. The first was won in 2008 with the “Redeem Team” that took back the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Beijing and in 2012, the U.S. team defended its title in London.

# LeBron has 10 top-five finishes, tying with NBA legend Michael Jordan. LeBron actually accomplished this feat in 13 years compared to Jordan’s 15 seasons.

# When it comes to putting up points in the playoffs, LeBron has topped the 30-point mark in 12 NBA Finals games.

# LeBron also holds the record for most consecutive points scored for a team in a playoff game. He scored 25 consecutive points against the Detroit Pistons on May 31, 2007.

# LeBron is the second player in history to have won the NBA MVP, Finals MVP, and the Olympic Gold Medal in the same year. The only other player in history is to accomplish this in one year is Michael Jordan.

# In 2009-10, LeBron became the youngest player to score 15,000 points, breaking the record which was held by Kobe Bryant.

# In 2013 James managed to surpass Kobe Bryant as the highest-paid basketball player in the world. He earned a whopping $56.5 million contract.


Lionel Messi

$750 million

Messi is a name we no doubt expected to see on this list. For many years Messi has amazed the world with his raw talent and footwork skills to the point where people who love the sport avidly feel they have to pick a side regarding who’s the better player, Messi or Ronaldo? And yup, Ronaldo features here also – so the debate continues. It’s no secret how much cash footballers (we mean soccer players) can make and over the last decade it’s almost common sense that a legend such as Messi has undoubtedly amassed a fortune. Messi’s 2019 playing salary for Barcelona is the highest of any athlete across all team sports and he currently enjoys the third spot on this countdown.


# Messi made his debut for FC Barcelona on November 16, 2003.

# Lionel has won the European Golden Shoe award in four seasons.

# Messi set the all-time record for most goals scored in a single season for a major European football league with 73 goals.

# He won the Golden Ball award for the best player of the 2014 World Cup.

# Messi is the founder of the Leo Messi Foundation which aims to improve healthcare and education for children.

# Messi holds two passports – Argentina’s and Spain’s. He became a Spanish citizen in September 2005.

# He won an Olympic gold medal, along with the Argentinian football team, at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

# Messi inherited the No. 10 Barca jersey from another great footballer Ronaldinho in the summer of 2008.

# Messi has won six La Ligas, two Copas del Rey, five Supercopa de España, three UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cups.

# He was offered a place in the national team by Spain which he did not accept.

# One of Lionel’s nicknames is “The Flea” due to his speed and agility.

# Messi is the second richest soccer player in the world – the first is Cristiano Ronaldo.

# Messi has been featured on the covers of the Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 video games.

# On March 2013, Lionel Messi donated €600,000 ($812,000) towards the refurbishment of a children’s hospital in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina. 

# Messi is a devout Roman Catholic and he met Pope francis at the Vatican in 2013.



Cristiano Ronaldo

$800 million

The man himself, the one the only, Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s hard to deny the charm of this superbly talented soccer player whose face is recognized and whose skills are idolized the world over. It’s said Ronaldo earns enough to purchase a new Ferrari every day! Ronaldo’s endorsement partners benefit from his massive Instagram and Facebook followings, which both rank as the biggest of any person on the planet. The remarkable thing about Cristiano is his large personality. It’s almost like he was born to be famous. With talent, looks, and skills like Ronaldo’s it was practically inevitable for him to end up as the highest-earning football player in our modern times.  


# For those that didn’t know Cristiano’s full name is Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro.

# Ronaldo was named after Ronald Regan, a former U.S President who was greatly loved by Ronaldo’s father.

# Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 294 league goals in 274 games. He is the second top scorer in the history of the competition.

# Ronaldo has scored 99 doubles throughout his career. 73 with Real Madrid, 25 with Manchester United and one with Sporting Portugal.

# He is the top scorer of the Portugal national team, playing 147 games and scoring 79 goals.

# The top scorer in the history of Real Madrid is Cristiano Ronaldo. 427 goals in 421 matches.

# Cristiano has participated in 13 finals at the club level. In those matches, he has scored 18 goals.

# He is alongside Leo Messi as the players with most Ballon d’Or’s. In total, he has five awards, the last two consecutively.

# In the 2014/15 season, Ronaldo achieved his highest score in a season; a figure of 61 goals.

# A specialist in the aerial game. The striker has scored 107 goals during his professional career with a header.

# He made his professional debut on August 14, 2002 with Sporting Clube de Portugal.

# Ronaldo has gone down in history as the first player to score 100 goals in the Champions League. Currently, he has 115 also counting the qualifying phase. 

# At 17 years old, he made his debut with Portugal’s national team against Kazakhstan.

# Cristiano has scored five goals in two games. One against Granada and another against Espanyol.

# Cristiano and Messi, the two best players of the last decade, have faced each other in 34 games. 



Floyd Mayweather Jr.

$915 million

Amongst all the athletes across the world today none other has captured the minds of ordinary people quite like Floyd Money Mayweather. From being the man who carries a briefcase with a million dollars in cash inside, to being the most hyped and talked about boxer in recent history, Mayweather certainly has all the flamboyant characteristics of a true global phenom. It’s no wonder he makes an easy number one on this list. In fact, we’re humbled to think that anything Mayweather touches turns to gold. He is more than a boxer, he is a boxing revolution showing that true power comes from one’s skill and character. Mayweather pocketed more than $500 million combined for his 2015 and 2017 fights versus Manny Pacquiao and Conor McGregor. And that’s just part of this megastars fabulous money-making career. Now here’s a well-deserved number one. All hail the champ!


# Mayweather remains undefeated during his reign from 1996 to 2015.

# His father and two uncles, Jeff and Roger Mayweather were also boxers – Roger even won two world championships.

# ‘Pretty Boy’ was his nickname back in his amateur boxer because he got significantly less cuts and bruises. 

# He recorded 84 wins to 6 losses back in his amateur days.

# He won the ‘National Golden Gloves Championship’ in 1993, 1994 and 1996.

# Mayweather was the ‘National Police Athletic League Championship’ and United States Champion’ in 1995.

# At only 19 years old, Mayweather won a bronze medal in the featherweight division of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

# He turned professional on October 11, 1996 and won against Roberto Apodaca by knockout.

# He won his first world title in 1998 by winning the ‘WBC Super Featherweight’ championship. He defeated the then world number 1 Genaro Hermandez by technical knockout.

# He won his third world title in the sixth round by technical knockout against Arturo Gatti in Atlanta City.

# Mayweather earned $8 million for winning against Carlos Baldomir on November 4, 2006. He claimed both WBC and IBA welterweight titles.