Some people seem to be born with a silver, golden even platinum spoon. This would explain why some athletes get away clean with bags full of money despite a harrowing press image and low endorsement options. What else would explain how Tiger Woods got out of his own woods to top the Sports Illustrated list of 50 top-earning American athletes for the seventh straight year in arrow! After the jump are the top earning five American athletes for 2009, taking into account their salary, winnings, endorsements and appearance fees.
1. Topping the list is golfer Tiger Woods ($90,508,16) whose winnings came to around $20,508,163 and earned a neat$70,000,000 in endorsements, despite being dropped by Gatorade, AT&T and Accenture. A $10 million FedEx Cup bonus, however ensure he regained his throne.
2. Close on his heels (not too close though) is yet another golfer Phil Mickelson ($61,660,757 ) who won $9,660,757 and then went on to make $52,000,000 in endorsements which includes a Golfsmith and Phil-endorsed Callaway leading to a $1 million payout.
3. Change of sport on position number three with Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. ($60,250,000), who missed the bus last time around. Unlike the golfers, he made more money winning bouts ($60,000,000) than while endorsing products ($250,000) . His bouts with Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley made his bank account heavy, especially the one against Mosley, increased his savings by $40millions.
4. Another change of sport comes in the form of NBA with LeBron James ($45,779,912) of the Miami Heat, who slipped down a rank as compared to last year. While $15,779,912 came from his victories, and the balance $30,000,000 through endorsements, a move from Cleveland to Miami make his pockets heavy too!
5. Wrapping up the top five is the New York Yankees MLB player Alex Rodriguez ($33,000,000). Slipping a rank his income for winnings is $4,000,000 and an additional $37,000,000 via endorsements. Maybe he should have held on to his one-acre, six-bedroom estate in Florida which sold for $8.5 million one-third less than its original purchase price.