By Chris Persaud • Bankrate.com
I. LEBRON JAMES
Earnings: $53 million (June, 2011-June, 2012)
Not only is he considered today’s best NBA player by ESPN and other sports media, “King James” also boasts 2 Olympic medals and an NBA championship in titles.
II. ROGER FEDEROR
Earnings: $52.7 million (June 2011 – June, 2012)
Like, Le Bron, Roger Federor is currently the best in his sport. Ranked No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the Swiss sportsman was also voted the second most trusted and respectful in the world next to Nelson Mandela in a South African poll.
III. KOBE BRYANT
Earnings: $52.3 million (June, 2011 – June, 2012)
The 5-time NBA champion from LA had the biggest salary for the league for the 2011-2012 season, a measly $20.3 million, according to Forbes. At the same time, however, his pay and endorsement deals took a blow after his wife filed for divorce in December.
IV. CARMELO ANTHONY
Earning: $ 22.9 million (June, 2011 – June, 2012)
Who said you need a college degree to make big bucks? Carmelo Anthony left Syrscuse University after 1 year and has been alley-ooping his way to the bank ever since. In addition, the small forward earns up to $10 million in endorsement deals not to mention the untold million he received for the Nike Air Juda Melo lines.
V. NOVAK DJKOVIC
Earning: $20.6 million (June, 2011 – June, 2012)
In 2012 Serbian tennis professiional Novak Djovic earned more than $5 million on the court. Bringing more love to his bottom line? His family’s Novak Cafes in Serbia and a lucrative endorsement deal with Japanese brand Uniglo.
VI. USAIN BOLT
Earning: $20.3 million (June, 2011 – June, 2012)
Jamaican-born track star Usain Bolt earns relatively little in terms of salary – just $300,000 according to Forbes. He gets $20 million from endorsement deals, including $9 million from PUMA. Bolt’s earning for the year equal out to about $2.1 million earned every second of his 9.69 second 100-meter world record in Beijing.
VII. CHRIS PAUL
Earning: $19.2 million (June, 2011 – June, 2012)
Not only does Chris Paul have records, awards, a gold medal and a huge salary,he also owns pop singer Avril Lavigne’s former Bel Air, California mansion. The 6-foot tall point guard also has endorsement deals with Powerade and Nike’s Team Jordan brand that bring in about $6 million, according to Forbes.
VIII. DERON WILLIAMS
Earning: $18.2 million (June, 2011 – June, 2012)
The 2011 NBA lockout did not stop point guard Deron Williams from making bank. During the lockout, Williams played for a basketball team in Istanbul to supplement his income. This summer, Williams netted a deal with the Brooklyn nets and also has lucrative endorsement deals with Red Bull, Metro PCS and Audi.
These eight elite athletes took their A-game to the world’s court in the 2012 London Olympics. But even if they don’t bring home the gold, they still have tens of millions of green to fall back on. Bankrate put together a list of the richest Olympians using 2011-2012 athletic earnings data compiled by Sports Illustrated and Forbes.