10 Top Most powerful athelets in the planet

1 Tiger Woods

Tiger chalked up another monster year on and off the course in 2007. He won his ninth PGA Player of the Year award and a seventh Vardon Trophy (given to the PGA Tour’s leader in scoring average) and was the top money winner for an eighth time. He won the inaugural FedEx Cup, adding a $10 million payout to his bursting retirement account. Off the links he parted ways with American Express after a decade together. He still has big contracts with Nike, Accenture Buick and Gillette. His latest endorsement: a five-year agreement for his own line of Gatorade drinks.

2 David Beckham

Coming to America paid off for England’s soccer sensation despite the injuries that plagued his first season with the Los Angeles Galaxy. His base salary with the team was only $5.5 million, but that figure more than doubled with his cut of the team’s ticket, merchandise and sponsorship revenues. He added deals with Sharpie, Giorgio Armani and vitamin company GO3 to an existing roster of sponsorships that includes Adidas Motorola and Pepsi.

3 LeBron James

King James added an NBA scoring title and his second All-Star Game MVP award to his list of accolades this season. His bank account got a boost from a new State Farm Insurance deal and the extension of one with Coca-Cola.

4 Michael Jordan

The Jordan Brand is now an $800 million a year (in sales) business for Nike—and the royalty checks from that provide the bulk of Jordan’s income. Now he’s head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats.

5 Kobe Bryant

This year the Lakers’ shooting guard became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 points. His endorsement portfolio includes Sony and Coca-Cola’s VitaminWater, but his biggest paycheck comes from Nike.

6 Phil Mickelson

Playing in the shadow of Tiger continues to be lucrative work for Phil the Thrill. The world’s second-ranked golfer won $10 million on the course in the last year and pulled in another $35 million from appearance fees and sponsorship deals.

7 Roger Federer

The world’s top tennis player won $10 million in prize money in 2007—and another three grand slams. He recently signed up for 10 more years with Nike, one of the biggest deals ever in tennis. Federer’s $41.8 million in prize money over his career puts him just $1.5 million behind Pete Sampras when it comes to all-time winnings. Look for Federer to pass Sampras later this year.

8 Alex Rodriguez

The three-time American League MVP almost struck out when he opted out of his 10-year, $252 million contract with the New York Yankees in October to become a free agent. The Yankees and A-Rod reconciled, though, and the third baseman signed a new, 10-year, $275 million deal that includes $30 million in potential incentives based on historical home run records. Of the field, A-Rod has deals with Nike, Rawlings and Topps.

9 Kimi Raikkonen

The “Iceman” became the highest paid driver in Formula One after Ferrari signed him to a three-year deal in the 2007 season. He earned it by winning the Formula One World Driver’s Championship in his first year.

10 Jeff Gordon

The Rainbow Warrior’s 30 top 10 finishes in 2007 were a Nextel Cup Series record. Gordon has an equity stake in his own No. 24 car as well as that of the No. 48 car, raced by Jimmie Johnson, winner of the last two Nextel Cup Championships. Gordon has several personal sponsors, including General Motors, PepsiCo, Tag Heuer and Time Warner.


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