Most people get into sports at a young age because their parents enroll them in something they think they would enjoy.
Be it football, soccer, baseball, karate, gymnastics, or any other modern sport. The ones who are good are able to continue playing their hobby in middle and high school which is a great way to represent your school when you face off against other teams. But the luckiest and most dedicated of athletes are able to continue on after school and play their respective sports on a professional level.
four NBA Finals MVP Awards, The Richest Athletes in the World – 2022 List
Who are the highest-paid athletes of 2022? Let’s find out.
10. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is the captain of the Argentina National Football Team; he also plays as a forward for the Paris Saint-Germain Football Team. Considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, he has won numerous awards including six European Golden Shoes and seven Ballon d’Or Awards. Not only that but he was also named to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020.
The third of four children, he grew up in a football-loving family in Central Argentina, where he developed a passion for the sport at a young age. At the age of six, he joined the Rosario club and played for Newell’s Old Boys, whom he had always been a fan of. He and his family later relocated to Barcelona, where he enrolled in the Royal Spanish Football Federation. At one point, he even received an offer to join the Arsenal Football Club.
It wasn’t until 2003, however, that he made his first team debut in a match against Futebol Clube do Porto. He was 16 years old at the time. A year later, he joined Barcelona and made his competitive debut and by the time he was 22, he had won his first Ballon d’Or, and in 2008, he won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
As of 2022, he earns $41 million USD per season.
9. LeBron James
LeBron James is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Also known as “King James”, he has won numerous awards including four NBA Championships, four NBA Finals MVP Awards, two Olympic Gold Medals, and four NBA MVP Awards. Not only that, but he has also participated in ten NBA Finals, including eight consecutive games from 2011 to 2018.
Introduced to the sport by a local coach, he joined the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars at the age of nine, where he played with his friends Willie McGee, Dry Joyce III, and Sian Cotton. He later joined the varsity basketball team at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. By the time he was in his junior year, he was called “the best high school basketball player” by Slam Magazine.
In 2003, he was picked first by the Cleveland Cavaliers during the NBA draft. During their first regular season game, he scored a total of 25 points, which set a new NBA record. He later received an NBA Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season.
Since then, he has won two NBA championships and has participated in three Olympic games, two of which ended up in gold medals. Not only that, but he also won a gold medal at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is a professional football player who plays as a forward for Manchester United. Not only that, but he’s also the captain of the Portugal National Team. Throughout his career, he has won four European Golden Shoes, the most by a European athlete, five Ballon d’Or Awards, seven league titles, and 32 trophies.
Born and raised in Madeira, he began his senior career with the Lisbon-based club, Sporting CP. He later signed with Manchester United at the age of eighteen. Shortly afterward, he won a FA Cup during his first season. By the time he was 23, he had won his first Ballon d’Or Award.
In 2009, he signed for Real Madrid in a transfer worth £80 million. He would go on to win numerous trophies including two Copa del Rey, two La Liga titles, and four Champions Leagues. Not only that, but he also became the all-time top goal scorer of the club.
Since then, he has earned more than 180 caps, making him the most-capped player in Portugal. He has also played in and scored at over 10 tournaments including the Euro 2004, where he scored his first international goal. For his achievements, he received the Golden Boot in 2020.
Neymar is a professional football player who plays for the Brazil National Team and the Paris Saint-Germain Club. Not only is he a prolific goalscorer, but he’s also a versatile player, being able to play as a winger, second striker, central striker, or attacking midfielder. As of 2022, he has scored over 100 goals for three different clubs, making him one of only three footballers to have achieved this.
Born in Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, he made his professional debut at the age of 17 as a member of Santos, whom he won two consecutive Campeonato Paulista championships with. He later transferred to PSG in 2017 for €222 million, making him the most expensive player in football history.
In 2015 and 2017, he finished third for the FIFA Ballon d’Or. He has also received a FIFA Puskas Award and has been named the UEFA Team of the Year twice. And in 2016, he was named the fourth-most famous athlete in the world by ESPN. Not only that, but Time Magazine also included him in their “100 most influential people in the world” list.
He has appeared in a number of films as well including Neymar Jr. and the Line of Kings, Money Heist, and Neymar: The Perfect Chaos.
6. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is an NBA star who plays for the Golden State Warriors. The son of former NBA player Dell Curry, he’s credited with popularizing the three-point shot and has been named the Most Valuable Player by the NBA twice. Not only that, but he has also won four NBA championships, an NBA All-Star Game MVP Award, and an NBA Finals MVP Award.
After graduating from high school, he joined the Davidson Wildcats, with whom he set a new all-time scoring record. He also set a new NCAA record during his sophomore year and was named conference player of the year twice.
During the 2009 NBA Draft, he was selected by the Golden State Warriors as the seventh pick. He went on to appear in 80 games during the 2009-2010 season and averaged 17.5 points in 36 minutes. He later signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension with the team in 2012.
The following season, he set a new NBA record for three-pointers made. He and his teammate Play Thompson also earned the nickname “Splash Brothers” for their incredible shooting abilities.
5. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is a professional basketball player who plays for the Brooklyn Nets. After playing one season of college basketball, he was chosen second by the Seattle SuperSonics during the 2007 NBA Draft. He went on to play for the team for nine seasons before transferring to the Golden State Warriors in 2016.
Since then, he has won two Olympic Gold medals and has been named to ten All-NBA teams. Not only that, but he has also won two NBA championships, two NBA All-Star Game MVP Awards, two Finals MVP Awards, and four NBA scoring titles, among several other awards. Due to an Achilles injury, which he sustained during the 2019 finals, however, he sat out the entire 2019-2020 season. He later returned to the court for the 2020-2021 season.
As of 2022, he is one of the highest-earning basketball players worldwide, due in part to endorsement deals with Nike and Footlocker.
Outside of basketball, he also enjoys writing and photography. In 2012, he also made his acting debut in the film Thunderstruck.
4. Roger Federer
Roger Federer is a Swiss professional tennis player. Throughout his career, he has won 103 Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) singles titles, including 20 Grand Slam titles, six year-end championships, and eight men’s singles Wimbledon titles. He also became the oldest ATP world number one in 2018; he was 36 years old at the time.
The youngest of two siblings, he played his first junior match at the age of 14 in Switzerland. He eventually made his ATP debut at the 1998 Swiss Open Gstaad. While he lost in the first round, he went on to win against Guillaume Raoux in Toulouse.
It wasn’t until the 2001 Wimbledon Championships, however, that he became known internationally. Not long afterward, he won his first Grand Slam singles title after beating Mark Philippoussis and Andy Roddick.
He also represented Switzerland at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he won a gold medal in doubles, and at the 2012 London Olympics, where he won a silver medal in the singles event.
One of the highest-paid athletes in the world, he’s said to have earned $100 million in endorsement income alone in 2020.
3. Canelo Álvarez
Canelo Alvarez is a professional boxer from Mexico. An excellent counterpuncher, he has won several world championships in four weight classes from light heavyweight to light middleweight. Not only that, but he’s also the first and only boxer to have become an undisputed champion in the super middleweight class.
Born on July 18, 1990, he began boxing at the age of 13 after watching his older brother’s boxing debut. By 2004, he had won a silver medal at the Junior Mexican Championships. After winning the Junior Nationals twice, he made his professional debut in 2005.
Outside of boxing, he enjoys playing golf. He’s also a boxing promoter in Mexico and launched his own company called Canelo Promotions in 2010, with whom he shares with his trainers, Eddy and Chepo Reynoso.
2. Tom Brady
Tom Brady is an NFL quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he holds nearly every record including touchdown passes, games started, passing yards, and completions. Not only that, but at age 44, he’s also the oldest quarterback to have been selected to the Pro Bowl.
The youngest of four siblings, he developed a passion for the sport after attending football camp as a child. He eventually attended Junipero Serra High School, where he played football, baseball, and basketball. By the time he was in his senior year, he was striving to be noticed by college coaches. He even created tapes and sent them to colleges he considered attending.
He eventually went to the University of Michigan, where he played college football from 1995 to 1999. Despite his achievements, however, it wasn’t until the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft that he was selected by the New England Patriots. Since then, he has led the team to 17 division titles, nine Super Bowl appearances, 13 AFC Championship Games, and six Super Bowl Titles.
More recently in 2020, he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with whom he won the Super Bowl LV.
Outside of football, he has appeared on a number of TV shows including The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Entourage. He even hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2005. And in 2016, he launched his own website called, TB12Sports, which features information about his training regimen and includes an online store that sells various equipment, merchandise, and snacks.
Last year, he also co-founded a sports-based NFL platform called Autograph, with Richard Rosenblatt.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Greek-Nigerian NBA player that plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. Born and raised in Athens, he began playing basketball for various youth teams as a teen. He later played for the Filathlitikos club’s senior team before participating in the 2013 NBA Draft, where he was chosen 15th overall by the Bucks. Not long afterward, he received the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 2017.
One of the most decorated players in basketball, he has won two consecutive NBA MVP Awards (LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only other players to have won two MVPs before turning 26), two NBA All-Star Awards, a Best Male Athlete ESPY Award, and an NBA Finals MVP Award, among several others awards. Not only that but he was also given the “NBA Defensive Player of the Year” title in 2020.
And last year, he led the Bucks to their first NBA championships since the early 70s. That same year, he was honored as one of the greatest NBA players of all time.
Known for his size, speed, ball-handling skills, and strength, he’s one of the NBA’s most devastating slashers and scorers. On top of that, he’s recognized as an elite defensive player (he’s a proficient shot-blocker and is capable of guarding all five positions).