It might come as no surprise that the highest-earning athlete of the past year plays the world's favorite sport: soccer (er, football). But Forbes' 2017 list of the world's highest-paid athletes reveals a few surprises about the people who make all of that money, the sports they play and the sources of those massive paychecks.


Cristiano Ronaldo: international superstar soccer player and, even his opponents will admit, one of the best to ever play. Ronaldo plays internationally for Portugal and at the club level for the frequent champions, Real Madrid. Championships and spectacular skills brought Ronaldo a giant $93 million this year.

You'd be forgiven for guessing that his rival, Lionel Messi, is #2 on the list. But second place goes to an athlete who's certainly tired of being in second place. Lebron James, star basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and, many will say, also one of the best to every play. Even after losing in a thrilling five-game NBA Finals to Stephen Curry's Warriors, Lebron is going home with $86.2 million on the year. Not bad for second place.

Messi, Argentina forward and Barcelona phenom, comes in just behind James at $80 million. It's no wonder that these three top the list, but their money comes from surprisingly different places.


Ronaldo picks up $58 million from his salary and winnings and Messi earns $53 million from the same source. Lebron James only makes $31.2 million from the Cavaliers, while the other huge stack of money comes from… you guessed it: endorsements. Remember that Sprite commercial? Messi, who made only $6 million less than James overall, had half the endorsement payout.

While Ronaldo, James and Messi are pulling between $27 and $55 million from endorsements, the surprise #4 beats them all. Roger Federer, the tennis champion, who only earned $6 million from his sport in the last year, made #4 on the list with $58 million in endorsements. That makes him the champion of endorsements on the Forbes list. Steph Curry, #8, makes almost three times as much from endorsements as from his Warriors salary. Phil Mickelson, despite making only $3.5 million from golf, finds himself at #12 with $40 million in endorsements. Tiger Woods reveals the widest discrepancy: he made only $107,000 from golf but complemented that with $37 million in endorsements to jump to #17.

Photo credit: Keith Allison via Visualhunt.

#5 goes to Kevin Durant, a worthy position after his nba finals performance. Who is #6, you ask? It's a tie between two athletes you probably wouldn't guess: Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Colts, and Rory McIlroy, golfer. Conclusions: the Colts made a bad deal giving Luck a $47 million salary; and wearing all of that orange Puma gear propelled McIlroy rapidly into the endorsements game.

Another unfortunate shock: the only woman (yes, that means there is one woman) on the list is the champion of tennis champions, Serena Williams, at #51. Even after 39 Grand Slam titles, her $27 million comes mostly from endorsements.

Three sports only have one athlete on the lists: track, mixed martial arts and cricket. Can you guess who? Usain Bolt represents the running world at #23, Conor McGregor brings UFC to #25 and Virat Kohli holds the cricket bat at #89. No hockey player made the list.

The world of athletics seems dominated by a few headlining sports depending on the year, the country and the season. But Forbes' list shows that there are more filthy rich sports than you might expect.

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Why You Need Cometeer Coffee: Coffee You Can Take on the Go

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There’s an internet trend that says that everyone has three drinks: one for energy, one for hydration, and one for fun.


Hydration drinks are usually seltzer, a sports drink, or good old-fashioned water. Fun drinks can be anything from boba to kombucha to a refreshing fountain sprite. But the drink you choose for energy says the most about you. Are you a chill tea drinker? An alternative yerba mate devotee? A matcha-obsessed TikTok That Girl wannabe? A chaotic Red Bull chugger? Or are you a lover of the classics, a person after my own heart, who just loves a good cuppa joe?

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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