Top 10 Most famous | Most Powerful athletes in the world
1. Tiger Woods
2009 Rank: 5
Global sports icon has huge deals with Accenture, AT&T and Pepsi, Nike, Electronic Arts and Upper Deck.He remains the title of highest-paid athlete in the world
2009 Rank: 10
Kobe Bryant signed a three-year, $83.5 million extension in April with the Los Angeles Lakers that will make him the highest-paid player in the NBA. He will be only the second player in NBA history with a $30 million salary. His salary this past year was $23 million.
3. Michael Jordan
2009 Rank: 18
Basketball’s greatest player realized his dream of becoming an NBA owner this year Jordan will be calling the shots for a franchise coming off its first playoff appearance ever. Jordan still has deals with Gatorade, Hanes and Upper Deck, but Nike is MJ’s gravy train. Brand Jordan is a $1 billion (sales) business for Nike.
4. LeBron James
2009 Rank: 19
LeBron James snagged his second straight MVP award this year as the NBA’s top player, yet his Cleveland Cavaliers team was bounced from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. James earned $15.8 million from the Cavs and almost twice that through endorsements. His biggest deal is with Nike, and he signed an extension this year that pays more than $10 million per year. James added McDonald’s to his endorsement portfolio in January in a deal worth an estimated $4 million annually.
5. Roger Federer
2009 Rank: 27
Federer has amassed the most impressive endorsement portfolio in sports, including Credit Suisse, Gillette, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Rolex and Wilson, among others. He has earned a record $56 million in career prize money.
2009 Rank: No Rank
"Money" Mayweather returned to the boxing ring last year after a 21-month hiatus. Mayweather earned $25 million in his comeback in September against Juan Manuel Marquez. He earned an even bigger payday—$40 million—for his 36 minutes of work against "Sugar" Shane Mosley this May. The Mosley fight generated 1.4 million pay-per-view buys, making it the second most lucrative non-heavyweight fight after Mayweather’s 2007 win over Oscar De La Hoya.
7. David Beckham
2009 Rank: 28
Becks suffered a torn Achilles tendon in March that sidelined him for this year’s World Cup in South Africa. It was a big disappointment for Beckham, who has 115 appearances for England’s national team, the second-most of all time. He has used his time off to lobby for bringing the World Cup to England in 2018. Beckham’s most lucrative endorsement deal continues to be Adidas, which is now using him as the face of two lifestyle lines, Essentials and ObyO. Beckham is working on his own line of underwear and grooming projects to be released later this year.
8. Phil Mickelson
2009 Rank: 36
All eyes were on Tiger Woods when he returned to golf at the Masters in April, but Phil Mickelson stole the show with his third Masters win, worth $1.35 million. It was a huge comeback for Lefty, who has struggled with his play and faced challenges off the course too—both his wife and mother were diagnosed with breast cancer. Only Woods and Vijay Singh have earned more prize money during their careers than Mickelson’s $59 million.
9. Cristiano Ronaldo
2009 Rank: No Rank
Last June Real Madrid paid a record $132 million transfer fee to Manchester United for the rights to Ronaldo. The 2008 FIFA Player of the Year did not get a cut of the transfer money, but he was rewarded with a six-year deal worth $18 million annually. Ronaldo is challenging David Beckham as the most marketable player in soccer. His biggest deal is with Nike; it pays Ronaldo $8 million annually.
10. Alex Rodriguez
2009 Rank: No Rank
A-Rod can lay claim to the two biggest contracts in the history of baseball. His current 10-year, $275 million deal pays him $33 million in 2010. He bounced back from his admission of steroid use and a hip injury early in 2009 to lead the New York Yankees to their 27th World Series title. The win and his strong performance helped A-Rod shed the label of not performing under pressure. A-Rod has deals with Nike, Topps and Rawlings, but earns relatively little off the field.