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When you think of big earners in sport, you will certainly think of soccer superstars such as David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. But do any other sports cross your mind? It’s not just the sports that get the most airtime that produce some very wealthy players. In fact, lots of very niche sports also pay out the big bucks to their successful players. Here are some of the world’s richest sports stars – how many have you actually heard of?
Basketball: LeBron James
It has been reported that one of basketball’s most famous players, LeBron James is all set to earn around 30 million dollars this year. But, to be fair, the king of B-ball sure has earned it! He first made the Forbes list of highest-earning athletes back in 2014 after helping his team win back-to-back NBA championships. Since then, James has earned three All-Star Honors and is now known as one of the all-time greats of basketball.
Golf: Phil Mickelson
Even though Phil Mickelson may only be 30th in the world ranking of golfers, he sure has brought in some big bucks already! Back in 2012, he was the world’s 7th highest-paid athlete after making just over 48 million dollars in one single year! Since then, his overall earnings may have dipped slightly but the money made from all his sponsorships – from the likes of Barclays and Rolex – still keep him up with the top earners in sport!
Supercross: Ryan Villopoto
Now that Supercross has bagged Monster Energy as their official sponsor, it looks like the sport is going to continue paying some seriously high salaries to its top performers! One of whom is Ryan Villopoto, who earned around $150,000 last year. And that’s not too bad for a relatively little-known sport!
American Football: Cam Newton
The Carolina Panthers’ quarterback has sure some a long way since being obsessed with American Football as a youngster! After signing a five-year contract of just over 100 million dollars back in 2015, his average yearly salary works out at around the 20 million dollars mark. Last year, he was given the title of the AP Most Valuable Player, so it looks like his earnings might even increase!
Athletics: Usain Bolt
High earners aren’t only found in team sports, though. You just need to look at the athletics track to spot a few more. And one of the most profitable athletes has to be Usain Bolt. In 2016, the runner made a cool 33 million dollars! The super sports star earns plenty off the track thanks to sponsorship deals and has many global and local partners. His biggest backer has to be the sports brand Puma, which have signed a record ten-million-dollar deal with the iconic runner!
So, as you can see, the highest-earning sports stars aren’t always the most obvious. As long as they can get sponsorship and keep on achieving, there is no limit to how much they can earn! Can you think of any other top-earning players and athletes?
Prince William and Kate Middleton met LeBron James in New York on December 8 after watching a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Barclays Center indoor arena.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also presented with NBA shirts, including a small one for their young son, Prince George.
While posing for photographs, LeBron James appeared to surprise Kate Middleton by breaking royal protocol and placing his arm around her.
The breach of protocol echoed the time when Michelle Obama caused a stir by putting her arm around Queen Elizabeth II in 2009.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are on their first official trip to the US since 2011.
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Prince William and Kate Middleton have attended a basketball game in New York as about 200 people demonstrated nearby against incidents of police violence in the US.
The royals met player LeBron James and Jay-Z and Beyonce at the Barclays Center, where the Cleveland Cavaliers took on the Brooklyn Nets.
LeBron James – commonly known as King James – presented them with Cavaliers shirts.
He was among stars to wear T-shirts protesting against police violence.
The T-shirts carried the words “I can’t breathe”. They refer to last words spoken by Eric Garner, a black man who died after being held in an apparent chokehold by a white New York police officer.
It was the sixth straight night of protests in the city, following the December 3 decision by a grand jury not to press charges over the incident.
Activists staged a “die in” lying on the pavement outside the arena.
Prince William and Kate Middleton sat courtside for the final two quarters of the basketball match at the end of the first full day of their US visit.
Images of Prince William, casually dressed in a blue and red checked shirt, and Kate Middleton in a grey jacket and jeans, were flashed up on the arena’s big screen, to cheers from the crowd.
Jay-Z and his singer wife Beyonce chatted to the royal couple during an interval.
At the end of the game, LeBron James, who led the Cavaliers to a 110-88 victory over the Nets, presented them with a Cavaliers shirt marked Cambridge and another carrying the name of their one-year-old son Prince George.
Earlier in the day, Prince William held talks with President Barack Obama at the White House and delivered a speech to the World Bank on wildlife crime.
Kate Middleton, who is five months pregnant with her second child, stayed in New York and visited a children’s centre in Harlem.
They both later attended a reception to highlight wildlife conservation efforts at the British Consul General’s residence where they met the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea.
The final day of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s three-day trip will include a technology reception for UK and US entrepreneurs at the Empire State Building and a visit to the memorial to those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terror attacks.
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It appears that LeBron James’ hair has grown back on the top of his head.
On September 16, LeBron James showed off a new look as he appeared at Nike’s Oregon headquarters to promote the release of his LeBron 12 line shoes.
LeBron James showed off a new look at Nike’s Oregon headquarters to promote the release of his LeBron 12 line shoes
The shoes were supposed to be the main show, but all Twitter could talk about was the Cleveland Cavaliers star’s seemingly rejuvenated hairline.
LeBron James, 29, entered the national radar as a teenager and the 2014-2015 season with the Cavaliers will be his 12th in the NBA.
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LeBron James is taking back his original No. 23 as he returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers after wearing No. 6 during his four seasons with the Miami Heat.
Before announcing his decision, LeBron James asked the fans to weigh in with their choice. He didn’t poll the man most famous for wearing that number in the NBA, but he apparently has his blessing.
LeBron James is taking back his original No. 23 as he returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers
In a text message to ESPN, Michael Jordan wrote: “I’m cool with it. I don’t own a number.”
Michael Jordan wore No. 23 during the majority of his career with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.
When LeBron James made the switch to No. 6 in Miami, he suggested the NBA retire No. 23 in honor of Michael Jordan.
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LeBron James has announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team where he began his NBA career 11 years ago.
LeBron James, 29, made the announcement in an interview with Sports Illustrated on July 11.
The NBA star has been a free agent since July 1 after opting out of the final two years of his Miami Heat contract.
“I always believed I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there,” LeBron James said.
LeBron James, named the NBA’s most valuable player on four occasions, quit his contract in Miami last month.
He would have earned $42.7 million in the two years left on his deal.
LeBron James’ decision sparked a scramble for the player, but he revealed a return to his home state of Ohio was always in his thoughts.
LeBron James has announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers (photo AP)
“After last season, free agency wasn’t even a thought,” he said James.
“But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my home town.
“I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.”
After joining the Cavaliers as the first draft pick in 2003, LeBron James rose to superstardom over the next seven years before he was tempted to Miami in 2010, where he formed a devastating partnership with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
His announcement on leaving for Miami was made during a staged ESPN television show called The Decision.
It led to a backlash from Cleveland fans who burned LeBron James jerseys in anger.
LeBron James, who would have earned $20 million next season, won NBA titles with Heat in 2012 and 2013. He also led Miami to the NBA Finals in 2011, when they lost to Dallas, and 2014, when they were heavily beaten by San Antonio.
News of LeBron James’ departure was announced over the loudspeaker at Cleveland airport and Cavaliers ticket phone lines crashed, reported ESPN.
In 2010, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote an open letter criticizing LeBron James and describing his departure as a “shocking act of disloyalty” and a “shameful display of selfishness and betrayal”.
However, on Friday Dan Gilbert tweeted: “My eight-year-old: <<Daddy, does this mean I can finally wear my LeBron jersey, again?> Yes it does, son. Yes it does!”
In Miami, a mural featuring LeBron James was defaced – according to South Florida news station WPLG Local 10.
Heat owner Micky Arison tweeted: “I am shocked and disappointed in today’s news. However I will never forget what LeBron brought us for four years. Thanks for the memories.”
In addition to the Sports Illustrated interview, LeBron James posted a photo of himself in a Cavaliers uniform on Instagram with the phrase: “I’m coming home”.
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LeBron James married his longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson in a lavish San Diego ceremony on Saturday.
LeBron James, 28, and his new wife held their ceremony at the Grand Del Mar hotel less than three months after he won his second straight NBA title with Miami Heat.
A ceremony was said to have been held in the hotel’s Capella Chapel at 4.30 p.m., with celebrations lasting three days.
The high school sweethearts, who have two children, announced their engagement in January last year.
Guests, including LeBron James’s teammate Dwayne Wade, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, were welcomed to the wedding on Friday, with a barbecue and the festivities are expected to last until a farewell brunch on Sunday.
LeBron James married his longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson in a lavish San Diego ceremony
Other guests including Dwayne Wade’s girlfriend Gabrielle Union, and NBA players Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, according to People.
Hotel staff and pretty much everyone involved with the wedding were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements, but one tell-tale sign about the venue is about to host something out of the ordinary is the large tent that’s been erected outside.
The extravaganza was organized by celebrity wedding planner Preston Bailey, who also oversaw internet entrepreneur Sean Parker’s $10 million ‘Lord of the Rings’-themed wedding to Alexandra Lenas back in June.
LeBron James’ big day was expected be a slightly more muted affair. The guest list was expected to only number in the hundreds, rather than the thousands that have attended some NBA All-Star’s nuptials.
“He cut the list down because he didn’t want to have 1,000 people at the wedding,” a source told the New York Post.
This weekend’s wedding also clashes with Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.
Rutgers University in New Jersey has bowed to pressure to sack its head basketball coach Mike Rice over footage of him physically abusing players and screaming homophobic slurs.
The dismissal of basketball coach Mike Rice from Rutgers University was effective immediately, a college spokesman said.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James were among those who condemned Mike Rice’s conduct.
Rutgers University has sacked head basketball coach Mike Rice over footage of him physically abusing players and screaming homophobic slurs
Mike Rice apologized on Wednesday, saying there was no excuse for his actions captured on video.
He was recruited in 2010 to be head basketball coach at Rutgers, which finished last season near the bottom of their league, the prestigious Big East Conference.
“I’ve let so many people down: my players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans,” Mike Rice told ABC News in an interview outside his home on Wednesday.
“My family [are] sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact that their father was an embarrassment to them.”
Featuring clips shot between 2010 and 2012, the video aired on sports network ESPN shows Mike Rice shouting obscenities, hurling balls at team members, as well as kicking and grabbing them.
Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti reportedly viewed the footage late last year.
The university then suspended Mike Rice for three games, fined him $75,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes.
On Wednesday, Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a statement on the university website: “Coach Rice’s abusive language and actions are deeply offensive and egregiously violate the university’s core values.”
Robert Barchi added that the video revealed a “chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behavior”, which led to his dismissal.
The decision to fire Mike Rice comes amid mounting pressure at both state and national level for the university to take action.
Governor Chris Christie said in a statement that he was “deeply disturbed” by the footage.
“This was a regrettable episode for the university, but I completely support the decision to remove Coach Rice,” he said.
New Jersey Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said the coach’s conduct was “unbecoming of our state”.
Sheila Oliver called for an investigation into why Rutgers decided not to fire Mike Rice when it first became aware of the video.
One of the most famous basketball players in the US, the Miami Heat forward LeBron James, tweeted: “If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that he would have some real explaining to do and I’m still gone whoop on him afterwards! C’mon.”
Athletic director Tim Pernetti apologized for not taking more robust action when the footage first came to his attention.
“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” he said in a written statement.
Saying that Rutgers had considered firing him at the time, Tim Pernetti added: “I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong.”
Nike is launching their most expensive shoes ever this fall but put a halt to their famous midnight launches.
At $315 the LeBron X’s will be Nike’s priciest sneakers to date after the Oregon based firm hiked their costs by five to ten percent to reflect increased production costs and a decline in profits.
And on top of the financial demand made to their devotees, Nike will no longer sanction midnight launches for their new line after recent outbreaks of violence at malls and Nike stores amongst those who have camped for days at a time to get their hands on the sneakers first.
Known for their superstar endorsed products such as Air Jordan’s, the new LeBron X’s will come complete with motion sensors to measure exactly how high the wearer jumps.
The sneakers were unveiled by NBA superstar LeBron James during the 2012 gold medal basketball game between the United States and Spain at the London Olympics.
However, Nike have said that they are not pushing up prices in an effort to squeeze consumers.
“We are constantly looking at ways to enhance the product line with the new innovation and product attributes,” said Nike spokesman Mary Remuzzi to the Wall Street Journal.
Nike is launching their most expensive shoes ever LeBron X this fall but put a halt to their famous midnight launches
Some though, have reacted with outrage to the price hike at a time of economic uncertainty in the United States.
“As unemployment ravages the working class, our lower and higher education systems shudder in crisis, and murder decimates our forgotten urban poverty zones, Nike is rolling out it first $300+ sneaker,” said Hamilton Nolan on Gawker.
“But mom, you don’t understand – it’s worth it.”
Indeed, the president of the National Urban League to drop the price for the new sneakers, saying that he has taken “incessant phone calls and emails” from angry consumers who can’t afford the new shows.
Marc Morial, who is president of the civil-rights group and the former mayor of New Orleans, responded to the reports on Tuesday from the Wall Street Journal about the apparent price hike.
“It’s the consumer’s choice after all, but it’s insensitive to market a $300 shoe to kids and teenagers as people are going back to school and struggling to buy school supplies,” said Marc Morial to the Wall Street Journal.
“This is not food, this is not rent, it’s a single pair of sneakers.”
Outrage against the pricing has quickly spread, with members of the public openly wondering why Nike are starting the line at such a high price.
“Prices are getting crazy excessive and as long as we continue to buy sneakers, Nike is going to keep increasing the prices,” said Donell Brown, 30, who owns a cleaning services company in Dearborn, Mich.
“Mr. Brown said he and his friends have been posting messages on Twitter and YouTube, urging other longtime sneaker fans not to buy the pricier LeBron shoes and to forgo waiting in line for new sneaker releases.
“Nike’s price increases are also being felt at the lower end: The venerable Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneaker now costs $50 compared with $45 a year ago.”
The LeBron 9 retailed for $170 when it was launched, but the latest shoe endorsed by the Miami Heat superstar is almost twice as much.
However, Nike have responded to the Journal’s story calling the price “inaccurate”, stating that the shoe is available without the motion detector embedded in the sneaker.
“The LeBron X will be launched in the fall at a suggested retail price of $180,” said Brian Strong in a statement to ESPN.
“The initial introduction of the LeBron X will be the red, white and blue Nike+ enabled version and that price is still being set, but will be at a higher price to reflect the Nike+ technology embedded in the shoes.”
At the same time as Nike are facing a backlash for the LeBron X price, they are issuing a memo to all official Nike retailers to no loner pre-sell or take reservations for shoes and to ban midnight openings.
“If a retailer offers Nike products for sale under circumstances where the retailer knows or should know that consumer response is likely to be exceptionally high, it must do so in a prudent and responsible way,” said an official memo seen by the Wall Street Journal.
“Retailers should assess what measure are necessary to secure the store and ensure the safety of personnel and consumers.”
In February, Foot Locker canceled the release of the $220 Nike Air Foamposite shoe when 100 Orlando police in riot gear arrived to break up fights that had started among customers camping out for the 4:00 a.m. release of the sneaker.