Everyone knows the biggest names in sports and that they’re making millions in salary and endorsement deals. The annual haul for guys like Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Tony Romo, and Thierry Henry are fairly well publicized. Here’s a look at some overpaid athletes who might make more money than you realize, but for whatever reasons don’t make quite as big a splash in the headlines.
Career earnings: $14,030,373
Professional female golfer Cristie Kerr, originally from Miami, Florida but currently living in Scottsdale, Arizona, ranks fourth on the all-time LPGA list after a 16-year career that started in 1996. She’s tallied 14 LPGA wins, including the U.S. Women’s Open in 2007 and the LPGA Championship in 2010.
Career earnings: $20,517,390
This popular, now retired, tennis star has a surprising amount of career tennis earnings, considering he won only a single Grand Slam tournament, the 2003 U.S. Open. In fact, Roddick retired in 10th place on the all-time ATP money list, making his career winnings all the more impressive.
Career earnings: $31,797,536
Sports fans that don’t follow professional golf may have a hard time placing the name of Kenny Perry, but with nearly $32 million in career earnings it’s clear he was doing all the right things throughout his golf career. Ranked 10th on the all-time PGA money list, Perry never won a major tournament but did tally 14 career victories for a solid and financially rewarding effort on the links.
Career Earnings: $48,553,347
Albert Haynesworth, the big man from the University of Tennessee, was once described as “the most dominant defensive tackle in the NFL.” He spent the bulk of his NFL career with the Tennessee Titans where he was an opposing quarterback’s worst nightmare. The two-time Pro Bowl participant made the bulk of his wealth from high salaries, including a seven-year $100 million contract with a guarantee of $41 million.
Career earnings: $52,447,459
Jim Furyk, complete with one of the most unorthodox swings in golf, has put together one of the most lucrative careers in all of professional sports. He is currently ranked 4th on the all-time PGA earnings list, which puts him in very solid company. His 16 career wins, including the 2003 U.S. Open, is not too shabby.
Career earnings: $100,616,066
The first person on the list to crack the $100 million mark played professional baseball for 15 seasons with four different teams, made the MLB All-Star team twice, and appeared on several MVP ballots throughout his career. If there’s any questions about the financial upside of being a professional baseball player, Shawn Green’s career earnings place him just 51st on the all-time MLB money list.
Career earnings: $146,109,736
Carlos Boozer spent the bulk of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz where he was very popular but plagued with a host of post-season injuries. Still, he managed to be named to two NBA All-Star teams and was named to the third team All-NBA squad in 2007. Financially, Boozer ranks 26th of all time in the NBA.
Career earnings: $151,590,000
Hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, Todd Helton put together one of the most impressive Major League Baseball careers in the history of the game. His career batting average of .320 puts him in lofty company as does his 2,420 career hits. Helton has spent his entire professional baseball career (16-years and counting) with the Colorado Rockies and presently ranks 10th all-time on the MLB career earnings list.
Career earnings: $152,580,678
Heading into his 15th season in the NBA, Rashard Lewis is currently a member of the World Champion Miami Heat. He is also the current record-holder for three-point shots made in the Seattle SuperSonics organization. Named to the NBA All-Star team twice, Lewis now ranks 21st on the league’s all-time money list.
Career earnings: $198,647,490
At 31, Joe Johnson has amassed nearly $200 million in career earnings during his 11 seasons as a professional basketball player. He’s played with three teams — the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, and Atlanta Hawks. He’s getting ready to start up with the Nets, making this his 12th professional season. Most noted for his game-tying buzzer-beater to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in March 2012, and then the game-winning shot in overtime, Johnson currently ranks sixth on the NBA’s all-time earnings list.
Surprising numbers, right? Sure, there are some professional athletes who make this kind of money in a single season, but for the average athlete who can find a way to compete at a high level for many years, there’s very good money to be made.
Who do you think is the most-deserving athlete on this list?