Talent and hard work can earn you a lot of money and this happens to be particularly true for athletes who excel in their field. These are some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment as a whole. Here are some of the highest paid athletes.

Kevin Durant – $56.2 Million

Kevin Durant is one of the biggest names in basketball, being one of the best scorers out there. Durant has 27.4 average points per game and is a four-time scoring champion. While he is one of the most valuable players, he caused some controversy early in 2017 when he left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join championship contenders Golden State Warriors. Currently, Durant is still dominating his forward position as he battles the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals to earn what could be his first championship ring.

In 2015, Durant showcased his business skills when he came up with his own underwear line. In launching this, he teamed up with big names including Foot Locker and Neff. Aside from being the most sought after player in the NBA, he has a professional bond with Nike worth $200 million which would span 10 years.

“A man who wins, is a man who thinks he can.” – Roger Federer

Roger Federer – $67.8 Million

It might not be too shocking to have one of the most successful tennis players in history included in a list of the highest paid athletes. Almost every tennis fan would agree that Federer had truly changed how things should be done on the court.

In 2012, he earned his 17th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. Off the court, Federer still earns a lot of cash from high-end endorsements and by simply being present in some events. Some of his endorsements include high profile companies such as Rolex, Nike, and Mercedes-Benz.

LeBron James – $77.2 Million

The next basketball star on this list is the biggest one there is and one of the current contenders for another ring at the 2017 NBA Finals. LeBron James had always been a prominent player since his high school days and went straight to be a number one pick in the NBA. He would immediately gain prominence for his strength, leadership and agility.

Aside from his salary as an NBA superstar, LeBron James earlier signed a lifetime deal with Nike worth half a billion dollars. LeBron also earns from endorsing many other high profile brands and has investments in other industries.

Lionel Messi – $81.4 Million

The current Ballon d’Or winner holds several records for Barcelona and for football. He is one of football’s most valuable players and best scorers on the field. He holds a playing contract full of bonuses for feats that he can effortlessly pull off. This is why he is the second highest paid athlete in the world for now. His main sponsor and outfitter, Adidas, sells a line of shoes and apparel that carries his name.

Cristiano Ronaldo – $88 Million

Cristiano Ronaldo has always been a football superstar. For 2017, he earns the spot as the highest paid athlete for the first time. This three-time FIFA player of the year had a contract with Manchester United with a buyout clause worth $1 billion and has a $50 million a year salary plus bonuses. All these will run until 2018. His confirmation deal with Nike is worth the most in the sport. His talent and good looks has also given him the distinction of being the most popular athlete in social media with a whopping 215 million followers.

Whether its shootings hoops, scoring goals or swinging rackets, being a sports star can surely earn you popularity as well as loads of cash. However, taking a closer look at how dedicated these players are to their craft, it is not quite surprising why big brands would invest in them and make them as rich as they are now. What do you think of this list? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.

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