Forbes Ranks the Highest Paid Athletes of the Decade — and These Are the Brands They’re Linked To

Athletes make their millions not only from team contracts and purses for competition. They also do so through a variety of sponsorships, and one of the most notable ways to earn extra cash is through a shoe deal.

With Forbes releasing its list today of the highest-paid athletes of the decade, FN details the shoe brands the athletes are signed with.

The highest-paid athlete on the list is boxing icon Floyd Mayweather. Although ranked at the top, the fighter famously entered the ring throughout his career without many sponsorships, including a footwear deal. According to Fortune, Mayweather did have a shoe deal with Reebok in 2009, however it was short-lived; the contract was not renewed in 2010.

Coming in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, are soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Ronaldo is signed to Nike and Messi is backed by Adidas.

NBA star LeBron James comes in at No. 4 on the list. The Los Angeles Lakers baller signed a lifetime deal with Nike in December 2015, and he is on his 17th signature shoe with the Swoosh: the Nike LeBron 17.

After spending much of his career with Nike, tennis icon Roger Federer, who is No. 5 on the list, departed from the Swoosh in July 2018 and signed a deal to become an ambassador for Uniqlo worth a reported $300 million over 10 years. In November, reports surfaced that Federer had become an investor in Swiss running brand On.

At No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, are golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Woods wears the Swoosh on the green while Mickelson laces up G/Fore shoes. 

The second boxer on the list is eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, who comes in at No. 8. The fighter, after having his deal with Nike terminated in February 2016 in the wake of his anti-gay comments on a TV broadcast in his native Philippines, signed with Anta in November of the same year.

No. 9 on the Forbes list is Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. The two-time NBA champion is backed by Nike and has a signature sneaker line with the company. The most recent shoe is the Nike KD 12.

Rounding out the list is Lewis Hamilton, the lone race car driver to make the cut. The athlete is most notably linked to Puma and Tommy Hilfiger.

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