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Top 20 Highest Paid Athletes in the World for 2015

Are you a parent of a promising up-and-coming athlete who is able to hang with his peers in multiple sports? Tell that youngster to keep his head out of the books and instead hit up the weight room and the practice fields seven days a week. Professional sports are, until further notice, about far more than just teamwork and attempting to win championships that will forever have athletes mentioned with all-time greats that came before them. Billionaire owners of clubs and of franchises who are desperate to win titles pay literally millions upon millions of dollars to athletes every year.

Those player salaries alone allow athletes to live beyond comfortable existences long after they have called time on their careers. That amount of wealth does not even include the numerous endorsement deals that are awarded to athletes who excel at sports and also happen to be good looking and well-spoken in front of microphones and cameras. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are international superstars because of advertising campaigns that have featured those men along with those individuals being four of the best athletes to ever play in their sports.

A wide variety of sports are represented in the top-20 of the highest-paid athletes of 2015 as released by Forbes in June of this year. That includes some of the biggest single names of the National Basketball Association, National Football League players who have managed to cash-in on massive contracts, and also world football stars who would fetch over $100 million dollars on the transfer market were they to be sold this coming summer. Last but certainly not least is a pair of boxers who laughed all the way to the bank after disappointing fans with one of the more boring main event fights you will ever behold.

20 Derrick Rose: $33.9 million total earnings

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

19 Jon Lester: $34.1 million

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

18 Gareth Bale: $35 million

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

17 Fernando Alonso: $35.5 million

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images for Honda Motor Co.

16 Ndamukong Suh: $38.6 million

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

15 Lewis Hamilton: $39 million

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

14 Zlatan Ibrahimovic: $39.1 million

via BigStockPhoto

13 Novak Djokovic: $48.2 million

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

12 Rory McIlroy: $48.3 million

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

11 Ben Roethlisberger: $48.9 million

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

10 Kobe Bryant: $49.5 million

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

9 Tiger Woods: $50.6 million

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

8 Phil Mickelson: $50.8 million

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

7 Kevin Durant: $54.1 million

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

6 LeBron James: $64.8 million

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

5 Roger Federer: $67 million

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

4 Lionel Messi: $73.8 million

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

3 Cristiano Ronaldo: $79.6 million

Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

2 Manny Pacquiao: $160 million

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1 Floyd Mayweather: $300 million

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

He is not known as “Money Mayweather” just because it is his gimmick. Mayweather has made a living off of marketing and competing in pay-per-view events, and that was the case earlier in 2015 when he participated in a fight that left the majority of fans feeling cheated out of their cash. The truth of the matter is that nobody can realistically blame Mayweather for what occurred on that fateful night. Mayweather is a defensive fighter more interested in winning than in entertaining audiences, and thus everybody should have known what they were going to get when the head of the “Money Team” faced Manny Pacquiao.

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Top 20 Highest Paid Athletes in the World for 2015