10. Kobe Bryant (basketball)
Salary/Earnings: $23,5 million
Endorsements: $26 million
Entering his 20th season, the most of any player in history has spent playing for one franchise, Kobe Bryant is looking to end his career on a high note. In 2015, the five time NBA champion and a two times NBA Finals MVP surpassed his idol Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list and moved into third place behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
Bryant, a Philadelphia native, but a purple and gold Laker legend through and through, is hoping he can write a little bit more history before hanging up the sneakers for good. Bryant’s injury woes in recent years have seen him fall from one of the top three players in the game to a living and still actively playing legend, that just can’t carry his team on his own any more.
The Lakers lost their winning ways after a long time owner Dr Jerry Buss passed away in 2013. His son Jim Buss took over the team, but hasn’t managed to put together a winning team since.
Bryant’s input was appreciated, however with his career inevitably coming to a conclusion, Jim Buss made a myriad of confusing and contradicting moves which saw the Lakers fall from grace and out of the playoff contention.
Bryant, being the ultimate competitor with a fierce attitude and a merciless approach to the game, will do everything in his power to get the Purple and Gold back into postseason, and maybe, just maybe, break a few personal scoring records in the process.
9. Tiger Woods (golf)
Salary/Earnings: $0,6 million
Endorsements: $50 million
Another fading golf superstar, Tiger Woods, has made the Forbes top 10 highest paid athletes list, without netting even a single million from his golf tournament earnings ($0,6 million). However, his commercial deals are very healthy, and his brand untarnished, as he netted an impressive $50 million from endorsements alone.
Woods, once a dominant force in the world of golf, spent 264 weeks from August 1999 to September 2004 and another 281 weeks from June 2005 to October 2010 as the world number one. His highly publicized divorce due to extramarital indiscretions in 2010 somehow contributed to the seemingly permanent loss of his golf form, and the subsequent fall of his ranking. However, Woods’ phenomena does not seem to fade, despite his ranking sliding uncontrollably. He is still the biggest draw in the history of golf, and deservedly so, considering how prolific his game was for more than a decade. In total, Woods’ net worth is estimated at around $600 million.
8. Phil Mickelson (golf)
Salary/Earnings: $2,8 million
Endorsements: $48 million
Despite slowly fading in terms of golfing prowess, Mickelson continues to bring home the dough, thanks to appearances and endorsement deals. The five-time Major champion who last won The Open Championship in 2013, has enjoyed moderate success in the past few years on the golf courts.
Mickelson, now 45, struggled in 2014 and missed the cut at the Masters for the first time since 1997. Mickelson is slowly leaving the golf scene, far from his once top class editions, Mickelson now mostly earns his income from endorsements.
7. Kevin Durant (basketball)
Salary/Earnings: $19,1 million
Endorsements: $35 million
Already regarded as one of the premier marksmen in NBA history, the prolific shooter Kevin Durant has only one thing on his mind – the NBA title. After missing a large part of the last season due to injuries, Durant is ready to tag along with his atomic superstar sidekick Russell Westbrook and finally win one.
Durant is one of those players you can count on to put the ball in the hoop when necessary, and now for the first time, both himself and the newly emerged MVP-esque Westbrook will join forces and try to get out of the highly competitive Western Conference.
Kevin Durant is still the leader of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Westbrook accepts that, which makes them a premier threat for any opponent, and one of the league favorites to be last standing men when all is said and done. Maybe this is their year. After all, Durant said it two years ago, he’s tired of being second. Now, after winning his regular season MVP in 2013/2014, it’s high time for an NBA finals appearance.