Sports Illustrated recently released its 'Fortunate 50' list, a ranking of the top 50 highest earners in pro sports in the U.S.
As noted in the report, NBA players have always been well represented in this ranking. However, due to the truncated season and the new CBA, salaries were slashed, putting downward pressure on the ranking en masse. Even so, two new NBA players were welcomed into this elite list (Derrick Rose & Chris Paul).
The overall ranking reveals several intriguing aspects as well. For the first time since the ranking began, the #1 man was not Tiger Woods, but a boxer who had a grand total of 2 paydays in the past year and currently resides in prison. Meanwhile, #2 (Phil Mickelson) has won a single tournament in the last year and no major since 2010 (The Masters), and #3, Woods, well, you know...
Kobe still proves to be a huge endorsement earner, which speaks loudly of his international appeal even as his career winds down. Lebron will likely pass him next season and forever, but at least that makes sense; he's the best player on the best team. Durant climbs rapidly due to his expanding endorsements, and he'll likely be joined by his All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook in a year or two. Lastly, Rashard Lewis...way to hang in there on this list, my man.
|Name||Overall Rank||2011 Rank||Salary ($M)||Endorsements ($M)||Total Compensation ($M)|
Sources: Salaries, winnings and bonus figures from players' associations, tour records, agents and news reports. Endorsement estimates from Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, other sports-marketing executives and analysts, and agents, 2011 calendar year amounts used.
The data above was compiled by Fortune Magazine, which is owned by Time Inc., the parent company that also owns Sports Illustrated.
Previously, we had reported on Forbes Magazine's player ranking, which differs slightly from Fortune's. You can find that ranking HERE.