Opinion Corner: Some fun with the Forbes listTiger Woods ($60 million). LeBron James ($53 million). Kobe Bryant ($52.3 million). Those numbers sound about right for what top athletes should earn in a year. They’re known everywhere and are great at what they do. It’d be hard to argue they don’t deserve it.
By: Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun
Tiger Woods ($60 million). LeBron James ($53 million). Kobe Bryant ($52.3 million).
Those numbers sound about right for what top athletes should earn in a year. They’re known everywhere and are great at what they do. It’d be hard to argue they don’t deserve it.
All three are in the top six on Forbes annual list of richest athletes, which was unveiled Tuesday.
It’s a fascinating list.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather, currently serving a three-month stretch in a Las Vegas jail for domestic abuse, topped the chart at a whopping $85 million. Mayweather had just two fights the last year, so it’s almost certain all of his money came from those matches. I can’t imagine many Fortune 500 companies are knocking down Mayweather’s door to be their next celebrity endorser after he was convicted of roughing up the mother of his three kids in September of 2010.
Still, with the millions of people willing to cough up $49.99, or whatever it is for one of his fights, clearly he’s a money-maker.
The top 10 includes two boxers (Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao), two golfers (Woods, Mickelson), Kobe and LeBron, a pair of soccer greats (David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo) and Peyton Manning, who did not take a snap in 2011, but still raked in $42.4 million. Despite not playing last season, not many would view Manning as overpaid, yet there are others on the list that must cringe when it becomes known to the world exactly how much they make.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had not won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in nearly 1,500 days until Sunday, yet still hauled in $28.2 in 2011. That’s a lot of Wranglers.
Joe Mauer’s $184-million contract will cripple the Twins for a decade, but it works out quite nicely for him. Despite missing half the team’s games last season he still made $27 million between his limited baseball duties and pitchman status for Gatorade, Head & Shoulders and others. Although I will concede his hair does look great.
Cubs fans are counting the strikeouts until Alfonso Soriano’s massive eight-year, $136-million albatross comes off the books after the 2014 season. In the meantime, he collected a cool $18.3 million last season.
Rashard Lewis has generally been considered the most overpaid player in the NBA for about five years now. Unless you follow the NBA closely you’ve probably never heard of him, but he doesn’t care what any of us think and laughs heartily no doubt on the 1st and 15th when he collects his $17.5 million.
I said the day the San Francisco Giants signed guitar-picking and soft-tossing left-handed pitcher Barry Zito for $126-million over seven years in December of 2006 that Johan Santana’s days as a Minnesota Twin were numbered. Santana was 10-times the pitcher Zito ever was and two years later Santana was shipped to the Big Apple for a bag of nothing. Santana, by the way, made $23.8 million in 2011 while not pitching a single inning for the Mets.
Forbes lists the 100-highest paid athletes and a quick bit of arithmetic totals it out to around $2.5 billion. They keep telling us the economy continues to sputter, but clearly pro sports are doing just fine.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org