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Two Golden State Warriors among highest-paid athletes in world

By
Alex Butler
Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant each cracked the top-25 on Forbes' list of the highest-earning athletes of 2017. Photo by Larry W. Smith/UPI
Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant each cracked the top-25 on Forbes' list of the highest-earning athletes of 2017. Photo by Larry W. Smith/UPI

June 9 (UPI) -- Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James only made $86.2 million in 2017, not enough to be the highest-paid athlete in the world.

That honor went to Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Forbes.

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Golden State Warriors stars Kevin Durant ($60.6 million) and Stephen Curry ($47.3M), rank No. 5 and No. 8 on the list, respectively.

Forbes released its annual list on Wednesday. According to the American business magazine, Ronaldo cashed in for $93 million in 2017. He has $58 million in salary and bonuses and $35 million in endorsements.

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Ronaldo, 32, is a four-time Ballon d'Or winner. He is also a social media genius. In May he set a record as the first man to reach 100 million Instagram followers. He uses the platform to showoff his posh lifestyle, while advertising for various companies. His most-liked photo has nearly four million likes.

The Portuguese soccer star has a $1 billion contract with Nike, according to reports. He makes an estimated $50 million annually in his deal with Real Madrid.

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James might be hurting to get a win in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, but he isn't missing chances to rake in revenue on and off of the basketball court. The four-time NBA MVP also has a behemoth of a deal with Nike. He signed the lifetime contract with the sports apparel brand in 2015.

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He made $31.2 million in salary and bonuses from the Cavaliers, while pulling in $55 million in endorsements, according to Forbes.

In a 2016 interview with GQ, James' friend and business partner Maverick Carter indicated that his deal with Nike is worth more than $1 billion.

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Ronaldo rival and F.C. Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi ranks No. 3 on Forbes' 2017 list. Messi totaled $80 million this year, with $53 million in salary and bonuses and $27 million in endorsements.

Messi has five Ballon d'Or victories. The Argentinian is also getting his own theme park in China, set to open in 2019.

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Tennis star Roger Federer ranks No. 4 on the list ($64 million), followed by Durant, golfer Rory McIlroy ($50M), Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck ($50M), Curry, Houston Rockets point guard James Harden ($46.6M) and Formula 1's Lewis Hamilton ($46M) in the top-10.

NBA MVP favorite Russell Westbrook made $38.6 million in 2017 and placed No. 13 on the list.

Tiger Woods, who is scheduled for a DUI charge arraignment hearing on July 5 following his Memorial Day arrest, ranked No. 17 on the list by pulling in $37.1 million. Woods hasn't won a major golf tournament since 2008.

Connor McGregor became the first UFC star to crack the top-25 on Forbes' list. He made $34 million in 2017, but his biggest payday is expected to come from his rumored bout against boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Expecting mother Serena Williams was the highest-ranked woman on the list. The all-time great tennis player ranked No. 51 on the list by pulling in $27 million.

Williams has a net worth of $150 million.

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was the highest-earning baseball player on the list. Kershaw came in at No. 28 with $33.3 million in 2017.

Phil Mickelson was the oldest person to make the list. The 46-year-old golfer made $43.5 million this year and ranked No. 12. Retiring NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the list. His $21.4 million in 2017 ranked No. 100 out of the top-earning athletes of 2017.

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