Find Out How Much Your Favorite Athletes Earned During Their Career

Published on 02/04/2021
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A professional athlete, also becoming a beacon of inspiration to many, transcends the barriers from sport to international fame. From Serena Williams to Muhammed Ali and Kobe Bryant, as legends of their day, the best of the best will go down in history. The career span of an athlete, however, may also be notoriously brief. Having said that, it can also be incredibly lucrative – especially when bolstered by sponsorship deals with the likes of Under Armour Inc C, Nike, and Adidas.  For two decades, a basketball player might be on the court and gain hundreds of millions of dollars, but what about the retirement of sports personalities? Do bank accounts shrink, or does money make more money, really? Continue reading to find out.

Shaquille O’Neal: Retired In 2011

Career Earnings: $700 million*

Current Net Worth: $400 million*

As one of the greatest players ever to have graced the court in the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal built a strong reputation. From the moment he was drawn up by Orlando Magic straight out of Louisiana State University in 1992, he was a formidable force at a breathtaking 325 Ibs. Shaq took in about $700 million in earnings over the course of his career. However, O’Neal wasn’t always careful with his money. The first thing he did was blow up to a million dollars in just a day when he signed his first deal.

Mike Tyson: Retired In 2005

Career Earnings: $300 million*

Current Net Worth: $3 million*

After starting out in 1985, he became known as a true boxing hero for his expertise in the ring. Tyson managed to blow it all, despite earning close to $300 million over his 20-year career. In reality, for his irresponsible spending habits, Tyson is just as well known as he is for his athletic record. Tyson also plunged several million into a string of Ferrari NV supercars, among some rather crazy purchases like a white tiger. Once one of the wealthiest men in his industry, he is worth a mere $3 million now.

Peyton Manning: Retired In 2016

Career Earnings: $248 million*

Current Net Worth: $250 million*

Peyton Manning is one of the most famous quarterbacks of all time, playing for both the Colts and the Broncos for 18 seasons. Manning has largely managed to retain his $248 million in career earnings. However, he retired in 2016, which he boosted with memorable sponsorship appearances for Papa John’s International Inc. Shortly after starting his NFL career, he also started the Peyback Foundation. This charity focused on helping disadvantaged children get the most out of life and developed a TV series called Peyton’s Places.

Sloane Stephens: Still Active

Career Earnings: $8 million*

Current Net Worth: $15 million*

Sloane Stephens is already a formidable tennis player at 27 and one of America’s greatest talents in the game. After winning Wimbledon and the US Open the year before in 2017, she was ranked number 3 in the world in 2018. She’s only at the beginning of her career, compared with some other tennis pros. Stephens has managed to compile a very respectable $8 million in earnings so far, but she’s worth almost double that due to sponsorships with Under Armour Inc A and more.

Simona Halep: Still Active

Career Earnings: $33 million

Current Net Worth: $30 million

Since she first began playing, the Romanian tennis star Simona Halep has come a long way. Simona hasn’t fallen lower than No. 4 since 2014. There are few who can boast about that, but Halep shows no sign of slowing down. Since February 2018, Halep has been sponsored by Under Armour Inc A, closing the deal for $1.7 million from her sporting successes. She has previously collaborated with Adidas and Lacoste, as well as with a number of Romanian brands, including Mercedes-Benz Romania.

Grant Hill: Retired In 2013

Career Earnings: $134 million

Current Net Worth: $250 million

It was a sad day for sports fans when Grant Hill retired from the NBA in 2013. As a small forward, Hill was a prolific player for the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Throughout his career, his lucrative contracts saw him gain over $134 million. He didn’t leave the sport behind, even though he gave up playing the game. He is currently co-hosting Inside Stuff on NBA TV, which helps keep his $250 million net worth looking good.

Alex Rodriguez: Retired In 2016

Career Earnings: $480 million

 Current Net Worth: $350 million

In every sense of the word, Alex Rodriguez (or A-Rod as he’s known affectionately to fans) is a sports legend. He played 22 major league seasons as a baseball player, with the Seattle Mariners, the Texas Rangers, and, most famously, the New York Yankees. A-Rod has made sure to wisely invest and launch his own company after amassing a fortune of over $350 million. Bolstered by memorable Nike Inc commercials, when he paired up with singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, he gained further stardom in 2017.

Lebron James: Still Active

Original Earnings: $234 million

Current Net Worth: $450 million

There are many basketball fans out there that think the best of the best is Lebron James. It isn’t difficult to see why. Since launching his high school career, he has won numerous titles. Three times, Lebron has won the AP Athlete of the Year, was named NBA Rookie of the Year, and twice, Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year. No one quite like Lebron can throw hoops, which is why teams were willing to pay through the nose to get him on board.

Venus Williams: Still Active

Career Earnings: $40 million

Current Net Worth: $95 million

Venus Williams is a name everybody knows, no matter if they’re into tennis or not. In 2002, the 40-year-old California native reached the No.1 spot. While at the moment she may be No. 67, Williams has broken boundaries in the sport and has amassed over $40 million in earnings. The net worth of Venus is close to $95 million, thanks to numerous sponsorship and partnership deals with Intel and Nike.

Tom Brady: Still Active

Career Earnings: $212 million

Current Net Worth: $200 million

He has won four MVP Super Bowl awards and numerous other honors, making him popular on and off the field. Like many others, when he was drafted in the sixth round of the draft in 2000, Brady got his major break straight out of college. Maybe he wasn’t chosen first, but thank goodness he was chosen. Although he has not officially retired, many believe that Brady is preparing to say goodbye to the game that helped him earn $212 million. However, the money will surely keep coming in through his contract with Nike Inc alone.

Floyd Mayweather: Retired In 2017

Career Earnings: $800 million

Current Net Worth: $505 million

Floyd “Pretty Boy” Mayweather may have an appealing face, but he’s not afraid to take a hit or two when it comes to boxing. The 43-year-boxing old’s record is impeccable, winning 50 out of 50 games, 27 of which were KOs. While he retired officially in 2015, in 2017, Mayweather came back for one game. In addition to boxing, Mayweather was included in World Wrestling Entertainment Inc and competed in 2007 for the fifth season of Dancing with the Stars.

Wayne Gretzky: Retired In 1999

Career Earnings: $82 million

Current Net Worth: $200 million

Wayne Gretzky is a common name for fans in the world of hockey and for players and their peers. Gretzky received the nickname of “The Great One” (a title recalled in his famous commercials for Ford). He acquired a 10 percent interest in the Phoenix Coyotes after retiring in 1999. He took on the position of head coach for the team six years later, revealing that he really had a skill set that went further than was first thought. Gretzky has worked a number of times as the executive director of Canada’s men’s hockey team. All in all, his post-retirement endeavors helped Wayne turn his earnings of $82 million into $200 million.

Muhammed Ali: Retired In 1981

Career Earnings: $60 million

Current Net Worth: $80 million (Deceased)

Every now and then, a true symbol comes along that transcends the barrier of fitness to become a historical legend in the sporting world. In his commitment to the sport of boxing, Muhammed Ali was inspiring, while also being an incredibly mysterious and charismatic man. Then known as Cassius Clay, Ali made his debut in the ring in 1954, going on to win the Summer Olympics Light Heavyweight gold medal in 1960. Ali concentrated on his charitable work after retiring in 1981 and took a keen interest in politics, even making a trip to Israel to implore them to free Muslim inmates. He passed away, aged 74, in 2016

Magic Johnson: Retired In 2000

Career Earnings: $125 million

Current Net Worth: $600 million

Magic Johnson’s talent for basketball was unbelievably obvious even as a young teenager in high school. By the time he went to college at Michigan State, he had helped to win championships and made a solid name for himself. As a consequence of his hard work, he was the Lakers’ first draft pick in 1979. Johnson’s 1991 retirement from the game shocked fans, especially as he publicly revealed that he had contracted HIV. He returned to the game after taking some time out, before retiring for good in 2000.

Alex Morgan: Still Active

Original Earnings: $1 million

Current Net Worth: $3.2 million

The world of female soccer has really opened up in recent years, with women’s teams finally gaining the attention they deserve. Alex Morgan plays with the National Women’s Soccer League’s Orlando Pride, which is the best of the best in the United States. Before being drafted in 2011, Morgan played for the California Golden Bears at the University of California, Berkeley. At 22, at the FIFA Women’s World Cup later that year, she was the youngest player on the American team. Morgan has gained about $1 million by playing soccer, but she is also an author and partner of several major brands, such as Nike Inc and Panasonic.

Michael Jordan: Retired In 2003

Career Earnings: $1.7 billion

Current Net Worth: $2.1 billion

Michael Jordan is not just your average player in basketball. He’s a basketball pro worth an amazing 2.1 billion dollars. Jordan’s career was glittering, but what really sets him apart is his business pursuits and ability to spot a good venture when he sees one. Jordan is the Charlotte Hornets’ principal owner, and he also co-owns an automotive group. He focuses on his own line of restaurants, including a steakhouse located in Grand Central, when he is not working on those two projects, and who can forget his iconic commercials for Hanesbrands Inc?

Charles Barkley: Retired In 2000

Career Earnings: $43.6 million

Current Net Worth: $40 million

You don’t get a nickname like “the Round Mound of Rebound” for nothing. Until he retired in 2000, Charles Barkley had a glittering stint in the NBA. Barkley even played on the US basketball team, known for being a dominant power forward that could intimidate even the mightiest of players. He is widely considered one of the top 50 players in the game, having won two Olympic gold medals, but his career did not end when he withdrew his jersey. With his lucrative career as an NBA analyst, Barkley raked in $43.6 million as a player but continues to score big off the court.

Mia Hamm: Retired In 2004

Career Earnings: $8 million

Current Net Worth: $10 million

For current stars such as Alex Morgan, professional soccer player Mia Hamm paved the way. The 48-year-old won two Olympic gold medals and has twice won the FIFA Women’s World Cup as well. You can’t get that much better. Hamm joined the North Carolina Tar Heels while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and helped the team to become extremely successful. By this point, however, she had already played for the women’s national team since the age of 15. Hamm now has two children and runs a foundation called Mia Hamm Foundation.

Tiger Woods: Still Active

Career Earnings: $1.7 billion

Current Net Worth: $800 million

Golfing stars are rarely well-known faces to those outside the sport, but Tiger Woods became a celebrity in his own right. He took the professional golfing world by storm when he burst onto the scene in 1996, hitting No.1 in the world in 1997. His very public personal life influenced his professional career. He took a brief break from the game, slipping in the world rankings to number 58. However, at a comfortable $800 million, his bank balance still remains intact.

Simone Biles: Still Active

Career Earnings: $750,000

Current Net Worth: $2 million

For someone who is just 23, Simone Biles has accomplished an awful lot. She’s not only the most decorated American gymnast in history, but she’s also a five-time All-Around World Champion. The best of the best is Biles. As a 6-year-old girl, she first tried her hand at gymnastics before beginning full training at the age of 8. While Simone is still active, she said she hoped to retire after competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, citing the competitive “emotional drain” on her. Several major corporations have endorsed Biles, including Nike, Procter & Gamble, The Hershey Company, and United Airlines.

Kobe Bryant: Retired In 2016

Career Earnings: $323 million

Current Net Worth: $500 million (Deceased)

At the beginning of 2020, when NBA legend Kobe Bryant died alongside his teenage daughter Gianna and several others in a helicopter crash, the world was shocked and saddened. Having played 20 seasons with the LA team since the mid-90s, the 41-year-old former Lakers star left behind a legacy that was inspiring. He had made an incredible $323 million out of his career when Bryant retired in 2016. Kobe was also smart enough to build his own venture, Kobe Inc., while the Bodyarmor SuperDrink company also paid $6 million in 2014 for 10 percent. The investment alone saw a $200 million return. Bryant was worth $500 million at the time he passed away.

David Beckham: Retired In 2013

Career Earnings: $730 million

Current Net Worth: $450 million

For British soccer enthusiasts, the king of the pitch was David Beckham. In the ‘90s, he was arguably one of England’s greatest players, featuring for premier league club Manchester United and the national team. When he moved over to the United States, he continued to excel before retiring in 2013. Beckham is also the present co-owner of both Inter Miami CF and Salford City in England. David has created an empire worth an eye-watering $450 million alongside his partner, former Spice Girl turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham.

Maria Sharapova: Retired In 2020

Career Earnings: $325 million

Current Net Worth: $195 million

On five separate occasions, Russian-born tennis pro Maria Sharapova reached No.1, proving her skill set was second to none. Maria got her very first tennis racket at the age of 4. She nurtured her talents under the careful guidance of her father and her mentor, Yuri Yutkin. In order to finance his daughter’s lessons, Maria’s father worked numerous jobs, but it all paid off. She was making a name for herself in the world of tennis by the time it was 2000 and had broken into the top 50 by 2003. After receiving a record $325 million, Sharapova announced her retirement from the sport in 2020.

Michael Phelps: Retired In 2016

Original Earnings: $100 million

Current Net Worth: $80 million

To some, swimming might seem like a simple sport, but it requires an amazing amount of discipline and strength. Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, winning an unprecedented 28 medals in 2016 before his Speedo was hung up for good. Since retiring and traveling the world doing talks and trying to raise awareness of the issue, the Baltimore-born star has become a mental health advocate. He told USA Today in 2019, having just returned from being a keynote speaker at a New York convention, “Helping people means so much more to me than winning any medal.”

Serena Williams: Still Active

Career Earnings: $92 million

Current Net Worth: $200 million

By the time they’re in their early 30s, many tennis players give up the sport, while others keep playing for as long as they can. If Serena Williams were to hang up her racket any time soon, the game wouldn’t be the same, but fortunately, she has no plans to retire just yet. Serena has collaborated with Gatorade, IBM, and Pepsi and is the new Chief Sports Officer for Aston Martin. She is also on SurveyMonkey’s board of directors, which may explain her net worth of over $200 million against $92 million in career earnings.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson: Retired In 2019

Career Earnings: $65 million

Current Net Worth: $320 million

Youngsters know Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as an actor who stars in films such as Moana, Skyscraper, and Pain & Gain. They know nothing that Johnson originally began out in WWE as a pro wrestler, throwing chairs and wearing nothing but a black pair of shorts. The Rock has always maintained a tight friendship with WWE despite growing up through the ranks to become one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, and continued to appear sporadically before formally retiring in 2019. In the ring, he made a pretty penny but made even more as an actor.

Jackie Robinson: Retired In 1956

Career Earnings: $2.8 million

Current Net Worth: $6 million (Deceased)

Not only was he a top-notch player for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but he was also the first African American player to make it into Major League Baseball. His legacy is so enduring that in 2019, Spike Lee directed a Budweiser ad to pay tribute to the sporting icon. Jackie’s earnings seem comparatively tiny compared with some gargantuan wages today. He was making a fortune back in the ’50s, however. Jackie is believed to have taken in about $300,000 in wages, equivalent to $2.8 million in today’s currency.

Babe Ruth: Retired In 1935

Career Earnings: $16.5 million

Current Net Worth: $16 million (Deceased)

Babe Ruth, known as “The Sultan of Swat” and “The Bambino,” built a reputation that few athletes are capable of. After playing for Boston Red Sox and moving on to The New York Yankees, Ruth had a large fan base that corporations like Old Gold from British American Tobacco decided to capitalize on. The cigarettes and more were marketed by Ruth, using his star power to increase sales. When adjusted for inflation, the baseball hero amassed career earnings of over $16 million. Babe passed away after battling cancer in 1948 at the age of 53.

Mickey Mantle: Retired In 1969

Career Earnings: $9 million

Current Net Worth: $10 million (Deceased)

The way for future greats, including Mickey Mantle, was paved by players such as Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson. Often hailed in the history of the sport as the greatest switch hitter, Mantle played several roles for the New York Yankees.  Not only was he beautifully paid with a salary of about $800,000 a year, but after his retirement in 1969, he continued to rake in cash for years. He partnered with Unilever to star in a commercial for Brylcreem in the early ’70s. Mantle passed away after receiving a liver transplant at the age of 63 in 1995.

Roberto Clemente: Retired In 1972

Career Earnings: $800,000

Current Net Worth: $800,000 (Deceased)

Roberto Clemente, mainly known for being a Pittsburgh Pirate, had the potential to be a longstanding MLB player. For 13 seasons, he was an All-Star and won numerous awards throughout the ’60s. In 1955, he debuted for the first time in the major league, continuing to play until his untimely death in 1972. Suddenly, Clemente passed away when the plane he was on crashed. At that moment, he was delivering aid supplies to earthquake victims. The 38-year-old had earned close to a million dollars by that point in his career.

Carl Ripken Jr: Retired In 2001

Career Earnings: $60 million

Current Net Worth: $75 million

For two decades, right up until his retirement in 2001, Ripken remained loyal to Baltimore Orioles. Cal had brought home plenty of bacon with $60 million earnings by this point in his career. A lot of that came from endorsements, however. By 1996, the LA Times noticed that Ripken was popular in the commercial market, pointing out how many deals he had on the go. He not only starred in General Motors’ Chevrolet advertisements, but he also started campaigns for True Value hardware.

Gordie Howe: Retired In 1980

Career Earnings: $9 million

Current Net Worth: $10 million (Deceased)

Ice hockey players aren’t always as fond of love as some other sports stars, but the exception was Gordie Howe. For a grand total of 26 seasons in the NHL, Howe ruled the ice from 1946 to 1980. Howe was sought-after by several firms for endorsement deals as such a well-known face in the business. For Anheuser Busch’s Natural Light Beer, Amway, and more, he appeared in commercials. When he passed away in 2016 at the age of 88, Howe had already created a glowing legacy. Since 1966, his hometown had already been celebrating Gordie Howe Day.

Willie Mays: Retired In 1973

Career Earnings: $2 million

Current Net Worth: $3 million

Willie Mays was a staple for the New York and San Francisco Giants throughout his career, known as ‘The Say Hey Kid.’ He had just completed a brief run with the New York Mets by the time he retired in 1973. Few people had the same skills as he had on the field. Willie was paid an estimated $2 million for his 22 seasons in the game. Major League Baseball honored his effect on the game in 2017 when they renamed the World Series Most Valuable Player Award after him.

Brett Favre: Retired In 2010

Career Earnings: $137 million

Current Net Worth: $100 million

Brett Favre, a 50-year-old NFL legend, spent most of his time with the Green Bay Packers but played for the New York Jets, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Minnesota Vikings as well. As a quarterback, every team benefited from his expertise, making him a popular face in the sport. Brett was not only paid a staggering $137 million for his football efforts, but he also had some truly impressive endorsement deals. Big brands such as Mastercard, Nike, Remington, Searsons, Hyundai couldn’t wait to snap him up for spokesperson deals worth millions.

Larry Bird: Retired In 1992

Career Earnings: $11 million

Current Net Worth: $55 million

Larry, “The Hick from French Lick” Bird, got his big break in the NBA when the Boston Celtics picked him in the 1978 draft. As a small forward and power forward for 13 seasons, he stuck with the team, eventually retiring in 1992. By that time, Bird had amassed a fortune of 11 million dollars. After he ceased to be a player but became a coach for the Indiana Pacers, his wealth just continued to grow. Bird endorsed tons of products in his time, ranging from sneakers to fast food meals. Now 63, Bird has an estimated value of $55 million.

Pele: Retired In 1977

Career Earnings: $90 million

Current Net Worth: $100 million

The fact that Brazil produces world-class soccer players is a well-known fact. One of them is Pele. He was an unstoppable force on the pitch in his prime. Pele is known for his abilities, however, and his distinctive personality and penchant for referring to himself in the third person. Becoming an international star requires a specific kind of sportsman. Pele has that award quality big brands look for when searching for a spokesman, which is why he’s starred in so many commercials over the years, from Subway to American Express.

Jerry Rice: Retired In 2006

Career Earnings: $42 million

Current Net Worth: $55 million

Jerry Rice made a name for himself as one of the best wide receivers the NFL has ever seen. Rice managed to earn a substantial amount of money as a player for the San Francisco 49ers. From 1985 to 2006, he played professionally, raking in over $42 million. Rice competed on the popular show Dancing with the Stars, which aired on Disney Television ABC in the run-up to his retirement. Fans were surprised at how well Jerry could move. He even reached the final two, losing to Cheryl Burke and Drew Lachey.

Joe DiMaggio: Retired In 1951

Career Earnings: $60 million

Current Net Worth: $50 million (Deceased)

Joe DiMaggio was just as famous for his personal life as he was for being a jewel in the New York Yankees’ crown.  At the time, he was a major star with many fans spanning generations, but when he married the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe in 1954, he became a bigger celebrity. It helped cement Joe as a pop culture symbol, although the marriage was short-lived. Not only did he make millions in his career, but in future movies, others made millions of characters based on him.

Walter Payton: Retired In 1987

Career Earnings: $7 million

Current Net Worth: $3 million (Deceased)

Walter Payton, who started his professional career with the Chicago Bears in 1974, was a remarkable player. Over the years, he has received several honors, such as NFL Offensive Player of the Year, NFL Man of the Year, NFL Most Valuable Player, and more. Really, in every sense of the term, Payton was a record-breaker. He signed the highest-value NFL contract in history back in 1983. Overall, by the time he retired in 1987, Payton had taken in about $7 million. The same year, alongside fellow NFL star Joe Montana, Payton co-hosted Comcast’s NBC Saturday Night Live show.

Derek Jeter: Retired In 2014

Career Earnings: $269 million

Current Net Worth: $185 million

Derek Jeter can do it all when it comes to being a hard hitter. As a baseball shortstop for the New York Yankees, Jeter made a good enough impression to be entered into the Baseball Hall of Fame the first year he became eligible. The team never underestimated his worth during his 20-year career, paying him about $269 million. No wonder companies were (and still are) falling over themselves in order to get Jeter to endorse their products. Derek has starred in Nike, Gillette, Visa, Ford, and Discover Card advertisements, to name just a few.

Lou Gehrig: Retired In 1939

Career Earnings: $3 million

Current Net Worth: $3 million (Deceased)

Lou Gehrig, the New York Yankees star, once said, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.” He was right in several respects. Gehrig still put in 110% when it came to his work, right up to the point when he was forced to retire because of neuromuscular disease in 1939. Gehrig never got to exploit his earning potential entirely because of his relatively short career and, unfortunately, short life. At the age of 37, Gehrig succumbed to his incurable illness two years after retirement.

Lance Armstrong: Retired In 2011

Career Earnings: $125 million

Current Net Worth: $50 million

There was a period when Lance Armstrong was considered one of the best cyclists ever seen in the world. Despite being stripped of all of his titles from 1998 onwards, Armstrong remains a powerful name in the industry. Although he is worth $50 million now, before retiring in 2011, the Texas-born star earned over $125 million throughout his career. In 1992, Lance initially began cycling professionally with the Motorola team, continuing to accumulate numerous victories and awards. The 48-year-old concentrates on talking about the sport now on his podcast and sometimes appears as an unpaid guest on shows.

Joe Louis: Retired In 1951

Career Earnings: $4.6 million

Current Net Worth: $1 million (Deceased)

Joe Lewis was a boxing star who could rival Muhammad Ali. He’s spoken of regularly as one of the most prolific boxers of all time, having had a 140-month championship reign. In 1934, the 6ft 2′ powerhouse began its professional career, lasting nearly 20 years in the sport. Unfortunately, Louis only ever saw about $800,000 of it due to handler’s fees, out of all his financial gains during his career. In 2008, Comcast’s HBO Sports produced a documentary on Joe’s life and financial situation called Joe Louis: America’s Hero Betrayed.

Joe Montana: Retired In 1994

Career Earnings: $22.5 million

Current Net Worth: $80 million

The San Francisco 49ers knew a good thing when they saw it, recruiting Joe Montana in 1979. For the next 12 seasons, Montana stuck with the team, going on to be three times named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. It’s not shocking that Joe has been paid more than $22.5 million for his issues. Joe continued to expand his empire after leaving the game in 1994. He starred in a lucrative ad for TiVo six years after walking off the field, but Joe did not stop there. Speaking activities, signings of autographs, numerous endorsements, and more all helped Montana achieve $80 million in net worth.

Mario Lemieux: Retired In 2006

Career Earnings: $82 million

Current Net Worth: $150 million

In the early ’80s, Canadian-American star Mario Lemieux first stepped up on the ice to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Little did he realize at the time that, in decades to come, he would end up owning the team. Lemieux won an astounding $82 million during his tenure with the Penguins, but he would end up throwing some of this back into the pot as the Penguins faced bankruptcy. He purchased it after his retirement in order to save the team. Lemieux entered into agreements with brands like Nike that paid well, aside from his salary.

Stan Musial: Retired In 1963

Career Earnings: $2 million

Current Net Worth: $5 million (Deceased)

Stan Musial helped inspire a whole new generation of players. Musial holds the record for playing the most All-Star Games, alongside Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. He won about $2 million from 1941 to 1963 as a player for the St. Louis Cardinals. Musial was not bucking the trend of baseball players collaborating with brands of cigarettes. For some time, he was the face of Altria’s Chesterfield brand. Later in life, in a Nike ad, Stan appeared alongside basketball great Michael Jordan, too.

Yogi Berra: Retired In 1963

Career Earnings: $3 million

Current Net Worth: $5 million (Deceased)

There’s a reason why the New York Yankees are revered as such a great team. They had some unusual players, including Yogi Berra. Berra played with the Yankees all but one of his 19 seasons, becoming a regular on the field. Berra had amassed a fortune of $3 million by the time he retired in 1963. Perhaps he didn’t have the same money as potential greats like A-Rod, but it didn’t matter. A legend was Berra. Thanks to his sense of humor and way of speaking, which brands like Visa capitalized on, he was widely successful.

John Elway: Retired In 1998

Career Earnings: $45 million

Current Net Worth: $145 million

Some players enjoy the game so much that they never leave it behind. One of them is John Elway. The Washington-born player finally became the team’s General Manager in a sweet twist of fate after retiring from the sport after 16 years with the Denver Broncos in 1998. Through and through, Elway is football. While playing, not only did he earn $45 million, but Elway earned nearly double that post-retirement. The Broncos managed to sign a multi-year sponsorship contract with American car giant Ford under his leadership. That’s a good flow of cash that nobody will pass up on.

Pat Tillman: Retired In 2002

Career Earnings: $5 million

Current Net Worth: $1 million (Deceased)

Pat Tillman’s story is an interesting, honorable, and tragic one. The Arizona Cardinals snapped up the talented young player in 1998. He soon caught the attention of the cardinals of St. Louis, who offered him a contract of $9 million to hop over to them, but Tillman stayed put. However, in 2002, in the aftermath of the previous year’s events, he decided to join the US Army and died while on duty in 2004. Tillman didn’t land much in the way of sponsorship deals because of his short career.

Tim Tebow: Retired In 2015

Career Earnings: $10 million

Current Net Worth: $5 million

The Denver Broncos first chose Tim Tebow in 2010, with coach Josh McDaniels saying, “He has all the traits you look for. It’s a good pick.”  Other teams discussed this, but Tebow was keen to show his importance. Sadly, things didn’t quite work out in the NFL. Tebow left the game after jumping over to the New York Jets, the New England Patriots, and eventually, the Philadelphia Eagles. As part of the Syracuse Mets, he’s now building on his MLB career. Tebow also serves as a presenter for Disney’s ESPN, which signed him in 2017 to a multi-year deal.

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