The cumulative values of each of the world’s sports franchises are clearly evident in the ever rising salary caps of their active athletes. The incredibly fat paychecks received by these professional athletes today just makes us wish we had any type of sports as one of our fortes. While active athletes are comfortably raking in millions doing what the love, the rich status isn’t exactly easy to maintain after retirement (which for athletes arrive rather too early), it often requires very shrewd business decisions. We’ve seen the likes Allen Iverson, Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Johnny Unitas go bankrupt as a result of lavish frivolities and poor financial management.
However, those are just among the few slip offs. There are many former sport stars who have not only managed to keep the rich status but also earn far more than they did during their playing years. Forbes recently compiled their third annual list of highest paid retired athletes 2016, calculating each retiree’s earnings from salaries, endorsements, speaking and appearances, licensing, partner distributions, golf course design and book deals. Leading the pack are Michael Jordan, David Beckham and Arnold Palmer, scroll through to discover the less-prominent ones that follow behind. Beginning from the least earner, here is a list of 14 highest paid retired athletes 2016…
14. Li Na
Tennis Retiree from 2014
Earnings: $14 million
Coming first from the bottom is Li Na- the greatest and most successful tennis player in the history of East Asia and the only female to make the list. Retiring from tennis just two years ago after winning the Grand Slam single title in the 2014 Australian Open, she still benefits from numerous endorsement deals. Since her retirement, Na has been active appearing in numerous TV shows which seem to be a trend in her native China.
Soccer Retiree since 1977
Earnings: $14 million
Arguably the greatest player the soccer game has ever seen. The fact that Pele still rakes in 8 figures after almost 4 decades of retirement shows just how iconic the Brazilian is. After retirement, Pele has been hugely involved in ambassadorial roles for many bodies including UNESCO. Commercial ventures as well as cameo appearances in movies have also been part of his activities. The upcoming 2016 movie Pele: Birth of a Legend is based on Pele’s biography.
12. Greg Norman
Golf Retiree since 2012
Earnings: $15 million
Once the world’s number one golfer, Norman bagged a plethora of titles during his 4 decade professional career. His golf course design company has completed almost 100 golf courses around the world. Come October, it will be opening another one with Easter Golf Club in Australia. His company still has 42 more courses under contract, according to Forbes, each Norman signature design cost $1.5 million. His multi-national corporation Great White Shark Enterprises with interest in golf and its lifestyle sold its event management business to Wasserman Media in 2015. The company is working on shifting its focus from sports marketing to business-to-business (B2B).
11. Michael Strahan
NFL Retiree Since 2007
Earnings: $17 million
Michael Strahan‘s media career since his retirement in 2007 is proving to be as successful as his NFL career. Debuting as an analyst on Fox NFL Sunday pregame show, Strahan succeeded Regis Phiblin as the host of ABC’s Live! which was was rechristened to “Live with Mike and Kelly”. His presence on the show which he received $10 million annually helped boost its ratings. Strahan received quite the promotion when he joined ABC’s flagship news “Good Morning America” which came with a rumored salary of $20 million. That figure could even be more if he succeeds at reviving the reviews of the show which has been suffering lately. Strahan will soon be adding $100,000 Pyramid to his increasing hosting duties. Last year, he launched his clothing line “Collection by Michael Strahan” through J.C Penney.