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LeBron James ranked as highest paid athlete in the NBA on latest Forbes list

Dunk Wire logo Dunk Wire 4 days ago Brendan Bowers
LeBron James wearing a suit and tie: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY

Forbes released their latest edition of the world's highest paid athletes list on Tuesday. Their top 100 athletes according to prize money, salaries and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019 spanned 10 sports and included athletes from 25 countries. The top three spots were occupied by soccer stars Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar who all exceeded $100 million in total earnings over the last 12 months. As the top-ranked NBA player, LeBron James came in at No. 8 on the list with salary and endorsement earnings of $89 million.

If the NBA were like soccer in that it didn't have salary cap restrictions, it would be interesting to see how LeBron would compare to stars like Messi and Ronaldo. As it stands, Forbes estimates that James earned $36 million in salary and $53 million in endorsements over the past year. Stephen Curry was the next highest-paid NBA player at $79.8 million followed by Kevin Durant at $65.4 million. Though his earnings actually rose, LeBron fell from No. 6 on the list last year to where he is currently slotted at No. 8.

The highest paid American athletes included NFL quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers who finished just ahead of LeBron at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively. Following Durant at No. 10, the next highest paid NBA stars included Russell Westbrook (No. 16), James Harden (No. 20), Chris Paul (No. 24), Kyrie Irving (No. 25), Giannis Antetokounmpo (No. 26) and Damian Lillard (No. 29).

From 2012-2019, LeBron has ranked No. 4, No. 4, No.3, No. 6, No. 3, No. 2, No. 6 and now No. 8 on the Forbes highest paid athlete list. Despite ranking higher in the past, however, LeBron made the most money of his career over that stretch this season. The closest he came to the $89 million he hauled in this year was $86.2 million in 2017 which ranked him as the No. 2 highest paid athlete in the world behind only Ronaldo.

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