NBA star, LeBron James pockets $127 million in salary and endorsements to edge Messi and Ronaldo as highest-paid athlete in 2022


NBA superstar, LeBron James has been revealed as the highest-paid athlete in 2022.


The LA Lakers baller, 37, ranked atop Sportico’s list of the highest-paid athletes for the last 12 months after raking in a reported $127 million in salary and endorsements to edge out international soccer icons Lionel Messi ($122 million) and Cristiano Ronaldo ($115 million).

James earned $41 million in salary from the Lakers while ranking second in the NBA in scoring with 28.5 points a game in 2021-22, but it’s his side hustle that pushed him over the top.


The 18-time NBA All-Star’s Nike contract remains one of the highest-profile deals in sports, but he’s also added a litany of other sponsors, such as Walmart, GMC, AT&T, and PepsiCo, all of which he can endorse to his 200 million social media followers.


There are also the brands he’s personally invested in, like Calm, Ladder/Openfit, and Lobos 1707 tequila.

Finally, there are the businesses that James owns with his partners, such as The SpringHill Company, a seven-year-old media and consulting firm that expects to earn more than $100 million in 2022, according to Sportico.


James also has stakes in Liverpool, of the English Premier League, as well as the Boston Red Sox and their home network, NESN.


NBA players had the highest representation on the top-100 list, including Stephen Curry ($86.2 million) and Kevin ($85.9 million), who were sixth and seventh, respectively.

Sportico’s top-100 list included athletes across 10 sports, who earned an estimated $4.5 billion in salary, winnings, and endorsement deals, which is a 6-percent increase from last year.




Earnings include salary, winnings, and endorsements

  1. LeBron James (basketball): $126.9million
  2. Lionel Messi (soccer): $122million
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer): $115million
  4. Neymar (soccer): $103 million
  5. Canelo Alvarez (boxing): $89 million
  6. Stephen Curry (basketball): $86.2 million
  7. Kevin Durant (basketball): $85.9million
  8. Roger Federer (tennis): $85.7million
  9. James Harden (basketball): $76million
  10. Tiger Woods (golf): $73.5million

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