2020 Top 5 Highest-Paid Black Athletes In The World

by Duke Magazine

The sports world is a multibillion-dollar enterprise that is annually attracting huge TV contracts, as well as, sponsorships, partnerships and endorsement deals from brands looking to sell their products or services to the billions of fans.

Cashing in from this very lucrative venture are the superstar athletes. Athletes from 21 countries and 10 sports made the final cut this year, as do two women, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, the first time more than one woman has made the ranks since 2016 when Williams appeared with Maria Sharapova.

The 100 highest-paid athletes earned a combined $3.6 billion this year, which is 9% below 2019 and the first decline since 2016, when boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao toppled the results with a $400 million payout from their May 2015 “Fight of the Century” pay-per-view bout.

Here are five Black athletes pulling financial waves in their respective fields of sport.

Image credit: skysports.com

LeBron James

The four-time NBA MVP, who joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 under a four-year $153 million contract, is number five on the 2020 world highest-paid athletes ranking.

He earns $88.2m. He has the NBA’s top endorsement portfolio, as well as his own production company (SpringHill Entertainment) and media company (Uninterrupted).

James and his partners own 19 Blaze Pizza franchises in Chicago and South Florida. He is also an investor and paid endorser for the company.

Image credit: essentiallysports.com

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry is 6th on the list with a $74.4m earnings. The two-time MVP signed the NBA’s first $200 million contract in 2017; he’s had the league’s top salary the past three seasons.

The enthusiastic golfer signed an endorsement deal with Callaway in 2019 that included a seven-figure donation to launch a golf program at Howard University.

Image credit: brotherlygame.com

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is number seven on the list of 2020 world highest-paid athletes with a $63.9M earnings. Durant joined the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 under a four-year, $164 million contract.

The 10-time All-Star banks $35 million from sponsors. He has investments in more than 40 companies, including Postmates and investing app Acorns.

Durant’s YouTube channel has 800,000 subscribers, while his media company has deals with ESPN, Apple, Showtime and Fox.

Image credit: Getty Images

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods ranks 8th on the list with a $62.3M earnings. Since he turned become a professional golfer in 1996, Woods has earned $1.5 billion from endorsements, appearances and course design fees.

The rights to the first-ever memoir authored by Woods, “BACK” was acquired by HarperCollins in 2019. TaylorMade and Woods released their first co-created set of irons in 2019. It is the first signature club for Woods.

His latest project, Payne’s Valley, is set to open in 2020 in Missouri and will be the first public golf course he designed.

Image credit: Forbes

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook is a two-time scoring champion, and in 2017 won the league’s MVP; he’s the only player to average a triple-double in three straight seasons. He is ranked 12th on the 2020 World’s Highest-Paid Athletes with a $56m.

In 2017, Westbrook signed a five-year extension with the Thunder worth $207 million, the league’s biggest-ever contract in terms of total value, according to Forbes.

The Olympic gold medalist owns five-car dealerships in the Los Angeles area that add millions of dollars to his bank account.

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