Sports, to this day it remains one of the highest paying occupations in the world. Those who partake and are talented and lucky enough to ascend the upper echelons of their preferred sport are made into demi-gods. The prestige, the money, and the power is an aphrodisiac. Don’t believe me? Look at their significant others. Of course not all manner of sport is created equal. For instance, you cannot compare the status of a famous English Premier League football player to that of a high ranking field hockey player. You may as well then compare the salaries of a brick layer and a civil engineer. There are really just a handful of sports out there that bring in ridiculous amounts of moolah. In fact, if one were to look at something as small as the top 20 of highest paid sport participants, it will quickly become evident that no more than 5 sports account for the ones that pay salaries comparable to those of high-powered Hollywood actors.
I was never good at sports as a lad. I was often chosen last, my years in karate were hot and cold, and my season spent playing hockey is remembered by me alone. If only I’d been born a natural sportsman and pushed myself to excel, maybe I too would be commanding a ridiculous salary, have my face on a chocolate bar and be waking up next to a wife off whose bottom I could bounce quarters. My hang-ups aside, let us now all look on in absolute envy at some of the highest paid sports people who don’t just command salaries that could see you or I through to the end our days, but are also still wet behind the ears!
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Jordan Spieth, 24
Golf, I tell you, if there’s one sport you cannot go wrong with, it’s this one. Golf’s hall of fame has had, and continues to have, seriously high earners. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t follow golf but I do respect the skill required to play it. It is not an easy sport, and mastery takes true refinement. I would also like to think that Golf is one of those equal opportunity sports in terms of the genetic lottery. By this I mean that in order to be good at it, you don’t have to have the best physique out there, nor do you need to have a natural inclination to sport. Golf is one of those sports that with real dedication, can be learned and even mastered. At 24 years of age, Jordan Spieth rakes in $41.2 million, 30 of which is the result of 10 endorsement partners.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, 23
With a name like that it would be hard to ask “Is he from Greece?” At 23 years of age, Giannis is raking in $35.5 million annually with the help of major endorsement deals with Nike and Kronos Foods, to name but two. At a towering 2.11 m and 101 kg, the basketball maestro would be formidable regardless of what he was doing! This man must have some serious pull with the ladies, but I digress! His annual NBA salary is just under $3 million, which speaks volumes about products and endorsements deals he has under his belt.
Anthony Davis, 25
This youngster’s basketball career is working out quite nicely! He’s 25 years old and thus far he’s creaming a cool $34.9 million. The New Orleans Pelicans forward has Nike paying the bills and things are only looking up. Thanks to an exquisite performance on the court, Davis, encompassing an impressive physique of 115kg and 2.08 m in height, will max his salary when the NBA offers him a super-max contract in 2019. It’s a 5-year deal that would commence in 2020 and when all’s said and done, will leave Davis with an outstanding $230 million!
Paul Pogba, 25
Manchester United, is there a better club in the Premier League? Don’t answer that. Paul Pogba, at the mere age of 25, has already been transferred for €105 million. That’s the fourth most expensive transfer in Association Football. The transfer happened in 2016 and it was from Juventus, where Ronaldo now resides, to Man United. Currently his annual earnings are sitting at $29.5 million. His five year contract yields $20 million each year, bonus included, and Adidas picks up the rest. Nice, hey!?
Justin Thomas, 25
Golf got this party started and it’s going to end it too. This time the kid reaping the profits is Justin Thomas. Annual earnings you ask? Twenty six big ones. In the last year and a half he’s raked in $21 million in prize money, and with that a $10 million bonus for coming up tops in the FedEx Cup. Additional disposable income has been provided, compliments of Woodford, Footjoy, NetJets, and some other corporate big names I am completely unaware of.
I’m envious but I don’t discount the hard work, the blood, the sweat and maybe even the tears that have brought these people to the pinnacle of their sporting abilities. They’re young and if they play their cards right, I’m looking at you Tiger Woods, then they can enjoy a long, enjoyable and profitable career.