Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Forbes: Michael Jordan is highest-paid athlete of all-time

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan


More than a decade after his final retirement, Michael Jordan reportedly still makes more in endorsements than any active NBA player.

That has given Jordan a high-level earning longevity usually seen by only golfers.

It has also put Jordan above Tigers Woods on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes of all-time.


Our earnings estimates cover salaries, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and licensing, as well as fees from books, golf course design and appearances through the end of May 2016 (the cutoff for Forbes most recent Celebrity 100 list). We do not include investment income or deduct for taxes or agents’ fees. We exclude the sale of businesses such as in the case of Roger Staubach, who sold his real estate business in 2008 for $640 million, although Staubach only owned 12% of the company when it was sold. We back-filled years where we did not publish earnings figures, such as prior to 1990 for Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

We adjusted all figures for inflation to 2016 dollars.

Kobe Bryant (sixth), Shaquille O’Neal (10th) and LeBron James 13th) also made the rankings.

Here’s the top 20, with NBA players in orange: