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Sports Stars Earned $4.5 Billion In 2021. LeBron James and Naomi Osaka Were Top Athlete Brands

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Sportico has released its annual list of the top-100 highest paid athletes in the world. The list is made up of athletes across 10 sports who earned an estimated $4.5 billion in salary, prize money, and endorsement deals.

Lakers’ star LeBron James topped all male athletes with $127 million earned over the past 12 months. Four-time Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka leads all female athletes with $53.2 million.

International soccer stars Lionel Messi ($122 million) and Cristiano Ronaldo ($115 million) finished second and third.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is the highest-ranking NFL player, coming in at 11th with $73.3 million.

Roger Federer ($85.7 million) and Tiger Woods ($73.5 million) came in at eighth and 10th respectively despite being inactive due to injuries over the last 12 months.

NBA players had the most representation on the top-100 list with 36 players. Stephen Curry ($86.2 million) and Kevin Durant ($85.9 million) were the next highest after James. They finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Osaka finished first among women for the second consecutive year. She and tennis GOAT Serena Williams were the only women to finish in the top-100.

Neither woman played a lot of tennis in the last 12 months, so their earnings came from their myriad of sponsors, proving how marketable they are as lead women.

Making Moves

Osaka is now taking 100 percent control of her very lucrative off-court business. She is no longer represented by IMG and will instead launch her own sports agency, according to Yahoo.

Read full story at Finurah here.

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