LeBron James may not have led the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA playoffs but he's still risen the ranks to be the highest-paid athlete in the world.
According to the Sportico website, the four-time NBA champion has a combined salary and endorsement earnings of US$126.9m (NZ$201.6m) to jump into top spot ahead of the likes of footballers Lionel Messi (US$122m), Cristiano Ronaldo (US$115m) and Neymar (US$103m).
James earned US$36.9m in terms of salary and winnings with the Lakers this season along with a staggering US$90m in endorsements.
According to the Sportico, the 37-year-old has endorsement deals with Nike, Rimowa, Walmart, GMC, AT&T, PepsiCo and Crypto.com. He is also an investor and franchise owner in pizza chain Blaze while also through the Fenway Group has ownership stakes in English Premier League giants Liverpool and baseball side the Boston Red Sox.
LeBron James completes a slam dunk in an NBA game against Cleveland. Photo / Getty
James' $90m in endorsements is the most of any athlete, nearly matched by tennis legend Roger Federer who made $US85m of his $85.7m earnings off the court in the last 12 months.
UFC star Conor McGregor was the top earner in 2021 but dropped down to the 22nd spot.
Former world number one tennis player Naomi Osaka is the highest female on the list in 20th spot with combined earnings of $US53.2m, with just $1.2m of that coming from earnings on the court.
Basketballers dominate the top 100 with 36 NBA stars making the list, followed by the NFL (25), football (13) and baseball (12).
YouTube star/boxer Jake Paul is a new entrant on the list earning $US30m in the ring putting him above the likes of Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, NBA star Jayson Tatum and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.
Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli also features on the list in 61st place.
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