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Top Salaries For Top Athletes
One of the world’s highest paid professions is that of professional athletes.

From brand endorsements, to actually getting paid for their abilities as athletes, these guys are bringing home the bacon. With millions of dollars spent on the skilled craftsmen every year, it can actually be interesting to find out who will be earning the most in 2010.10) Dale Earnhardt

He is one of the most popular NASCAR drivers ever to appear in the sport. Despite his relatively poor performance compared to his competitors, Earnhardt has earned twice as much as his closest rivals. Thanks to impressive sponsorship and merchandising deals, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is set to earn $34 million this year.

9) Valentino Rossi

The leading competitor in the thrilling sport called motorcycle racing. With a solid record of wins behind him, there is no surprise Yamaha alone pays him $16 million a year just to ride for them. With all of his endorsement deals included, he earns in excess of $35 million this year.

8) Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao is one of the worlds most well known boxers, with his lethal speed and power helped him win against boxing greats such as Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton. He is tied at $40 million.

7) Phil Mickelson

One of two pro-golfers to appear on this list. With his regular sponsorship deals and regularly won tournaments, he has definitely made himself a household name. He has won countless tournaments, not to mention The Masters twice. He is tied at $40 million.

6) LeBron James

One of the highest paid basketball players in the NBA, with teams vying for him in the upcoming season. While LeBron James may be able to get the highest possible wage under NBA rules, there is a possibility he will go further afield for higher wages. He is also tied at $40 million.

5) David Beckham

The famous footballer from England is set to make $42 million with prestigious deals for companies such as Giorgio Armani and Adidas. Beckham is on contract to Los Angeles Galaxy, but has temporarily been loaned out to AC Milan.

4) Kimi Raikkonen

The highest paid Formula 1 driver in the world has not had the best of luck in recent years. Despite this, he still has lucrative endorsements and a nice wad of cash from Ferrari every year. He is tied at $45 million.

3) Michael Jordan

He might have retired, but his name is still going strong, as his Jordan brand sales are worth a cool $1 billion. With most of the thanks to Nike, Jordan is one of the highest paid athletes in the world. He is tied at $45 million.

2) Kobe Bryant

One of the greatest players in the NBA today. Known as the ‘Black Mamba’ Bryant earns $21 million a year, which is more than doubled by endorsement deals. He is tied at $45 million.

1) Tiger Woods

He might have had some shadows cast on his career in the last few months, but even with a string of affairs, Tiger Woods is still on route to earn $110 million this year. Despite a recurring knee injury, Tiger Woods is set to be the first athlete to earn $1 billion during his career and that is why he tops our list of the highest paid athletes.

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