Michael Jordan is the highest-paid athlete of all time

The NBA superstar was named as the highest paid athlete by US based sports news website Sportico

Michael Jordan.
Image: Instagram/Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan has been named the highest-paid athlete of all time according to the latest poll released by US-based sports news website Sportico.

According to the leading sports media powerhouse, the NBA superstar is currently earning $2.62 billion in inflation-adjusted earnings.

Since he was drafted in 1984, the NBA star has earned an estimated 3.3 billion US dollars when adjusted for inflation, more than any other athlete in the history of sports; the tally is US$2.37 billion unadjusted.


In the highest-paid list, Michael Jordan was closely followed by three golfers namely; Tiger Woods ($2.1 billion), Arnold Palmer ($1.5 billion), and Jack Nicklaus ($1.38 billion).

In retrospect maybe I should have been more active in gym class or tried playing more sports in high school, people are out here making crazy money.

Cries in lack of talent.


On top of his massive wealth and the record he currently holds, Jordan is also the only former player to become the majority owner of an NBA franchise, a path that fellow NBA stars Lebron James and Kevin Durant have both voiced they want to follow.

Lebron James was the world’s highest-paid athlete back in 2022 after bringing in a whooping US$127 million, but that list only reflects active athletes. Jordan out-earned all of them with an estimated US$180 million, almost entirely from Nike.

Serena Williams was the only woman to make the cut in the highest-paid athlete's list, coming in at No. 38 with a handsome US 600 million dollars as of 2023.

The recently retired 23-time Grand Slam champion is the WTA’s all-time prize money leader with $95 million but has earned the bulk of her income off the court through dozens of endorsements deals.

However, last year Serena Williams ranked second among the world’s highest-paid female athletes at US$35 million, behind Naomi Osaka ($53 million).

Sportico's earnings estimates are based on conversations with industry insiders, Sportico research, and historical estimates in media outlets, such as Forbes and Sports Illustrated.

Earnings include salaries, bonuses, prize money, purses, endorsements, licensing, royalties, memorabilia, book deals, media, appearances, and golf course design fees. All earnings are pre-tax and before any fees for agents and lawyers.

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