Only men are 10 best-paid athletes. Lebron James is No. 2; see where Kevin Durant and Steph Curry landed 

Durant came in at the slot right under Curry, and another NBA star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is among the top earners.

The annual Forbes list of the 10 highest-paid athletes in the world is populated by men. Its 2022 list shows that the globe’s top athletes collectively earned nearly $1 billion in the past year. 

According to Forbes, the best-paid athlete this year is Lionel Messi, a soccer megastar who played for FC Barcelona for 17 seasons before departing for Paris Saint-Germain last August. 

LeBron James (right) of the Los Angeles Lakers drives on Stephen Curry (left) of the Golden State Warriors during the first half of a January 2021 game at Staples Center. (Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)

Messi earned more than $130 million in pre-tax gross earnings over the past year. 

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is second on the list, with earnings of $121.2 million. He earned approximately $41.2 million for his actual play on the basketball court and more than $80 million for other projects. 

Per People, ancillary projects such as endorsements, appearances, memorabilia, licensing fees, as well as cash returns from business operations and equity stakes sold, are all evaluated in Forbes‘ assessment. Cryptocurrency ventures are also counted. 

A big chunk of James’ earnings came from his starring role in Space Jam: A New Legacy, as well as his deal with YouTube, where he moved his talk show, The Shop, from HBO. 

The NBA icon also has many other ventures, including an endorsement deal with, recent buyers of the name rights to the L.A. stadium where the Lakers play. 

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is No. 5 on the Forbes list. He earned $45.8 million for his court play and $47 million in ancillary earnings, including releasing a collection of NFTs. Further, Curry’s production company, Unanimous Media, signed a development deal with Comcast NBCUniversal last fall. 

Following Curry is Kevin Durant in the No. 6 slot. Durant earned $42.1 million on the court and $50 million off. He has deals with Coinbase, NBA Top Shot, and Weedmaps. Durant also has an NFT platform called OpenSea and a digital fitness startup. 

NFL legend Tom Brady clocked in at the ninth spot, just ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, who lands in 10th place. Antetokounmpo earned $39.9 million on the court and $41 million off. The two-time MVP signed a $228 million contract, which, according to the report, was the NBA’s largest contract by total value to date. A biopic on his life, Rise, will debut this June on Disney+. 

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