Athletes raking in the bucks
It’s good to be on Team Nike.
The four men at the top of Forbes’ annual list of highest-paid athletes – Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James – are all endorsers for the Oregon-based sports apparel company.
Woods regained the top spot in the rankings with total earnings of $78.1 million in the past 12 months, while Federer finished with $71.5 million. They were followed by Bryant at $62 million and James at $60 million.
Some other interesting details from the top 100: * Federer makes more in endorsements – $65 million – than James does overall. * Aaron Rodgers ($43 million) and Drew Brees ($40 million) had the highest winnings/salary. * Floyd Mayweather ranks No. 14 with total earnings of $34 million despite having $0 in endorsements. * Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni ranks higher than Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Durant and Rory McIlroy, among others. * Maria Sharapova (No. 22) is the highest-ranked woman. She makes more in endorsements ($23 million) than Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Alex Rodriguez and Tony Romo combined. * Fellow tennis players Serena Williams (No. 68) and Li Na (No. 85) are the only other women on the list. * The biggest surprise in the top 40: Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who ranks No. 38 with $24.9 million (almost all of which came via his 2012 tender salary and the $15 million signing bonus on his new contract). * Usain Bolt only made $200,000 in winnings last year. He brought in 120 times more than that ($24 million) via endorsements. * Gilbert Arenas hasn’t played in the NBA in over 13 months. That didn’t stop him from making $21.5 million last year, good for No. 56 on the Forbes list. * David Beckham was the highest-paid hair-gel wearer, narrowly beating out Cristiano Ronaldo, $47 million to $44 million. (USATODAY)