In a year filled with major sporting events, including the Australian Open, Winter Olympics, and FIFA World Cup, athletes from around the world have earned millions of dollars through their performances and endorsement deals.
Four Black athletes have made it onto the list of the world’s ten highest-paid athletes in 2022, breaking the record set in 2021 when three Black athletes made the list.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant earned a total of $121.2 million and $92.1 million, respectively, in 2022. Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo (who is still in his 20s) earned $92.8 million and $80.9 million, respectively. These four athletes join the ranks of previous top earners such as Lewis Hamilton, who did not make the list this year.
This year’s top 10 highest-paid athletes earned a total of $992 million, which represents a six-percent decline from 2021, when they earned $1.052 billion. The drop is not due to any pay cuts or economic downturns, but rather the absence of Conor McGregor, who earned an estimated $180 million in 2021 but did not make the top 10 in 2022 with an income of $43 million.
LeBron James, who did not make the playoffs this year, has had a successful year off the court. In addition to starring in Space Jam: A New Legacy, he recently moved his talk show, The Shop, to YouTube. According to Forbes, he has an estimated net worth of $850 million after selling a minority stake in his production company, SpringHill. He has also recently invested in Tonal, a home gym company, and StatusPRO, a sports technology startup.
Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors guard, signed a four-year, $215-million contract extension in August and will earn approximately $48 million on the court next season, rising to nearly $60 million in 2025-26. Curry’s endorsement deals with FTX and Unanimous Media, a production company that signed a development deal with Comcast NBCUniversal in September, are in addition to his salary.
The Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has a contract with Nike worth about $28 million per year, ranking second among active players only to LeBron James’ $32-million deal. Recently, he added endorsement agreements with Weedmaps, NBA Top Shot, and Coinbase. Durant’s income was negatively impacted by the pandemic despite his endorsement deals because he missed the entire 2020-21 season due to an Achilles tendon rupture.
The only person in the top 10 who is still in their 20s is Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who earned $80.9 million in 2022. In December 2020, he agreed to a five-year, $228.2-million contract extension with the Bucks. He also has endorsement contracts with Nike, 2K Sports, and Kraken.
These four Black athletes have made a significant impact in their respective sports and have used their platform to secure lucrative endorsement deals, making them some of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
Their achievements serve as an inspiration to aspiring athletes and demonstrate the potential for success in the world of sports. Their inclusion in the top 10 highest-paid athletes list is a testament to their hard work and dedication to their craft, and it is a momentous achievement for both them and the Black community.