Between contracts, endorsements, and appearances, being a professional athlete sure can pay well. These five professionals had the skill, passion, work ethic, and oftentimes charisma to not only rank among the best athletes in the world, but also become the highest-paid of all time.
Career earnings: $1 billion
Now-retired Michael Schumacher, who is widely recognized as one of the greatest Formula One drivers ever, is the only driver in history to win seven Formula One World Championships, five of which were won consecutively.
Career earnings: $1.15 billion
Over the course of more than 25 years, Jack Nicklaus won a record 18 career major championships. The Ohio native is also renowned in golf course design, his eponymous architecture firm has designed more than 400 courses across the globe.
Career earnings: $1.35 billion
Nicknamed "The King," Arnold Palmer won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and the circuit now known as PGA Tour Champions. He is seen as the first superstar of the sport's television age, which began in the 1950s. Palmer retired in 2006.
2. Tiger Woods
Career earnings: $1.65 billion
Tiger Woods officially turned professional at the end of summer in 1996, when he was 20 years old. The Cypress, California native has been World Number One for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any golfer.
Career earnings: $1.7 billion
Aside from his tremendous skill, Michael Jordan is known for being instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. The Hall of Fame basketball star played 15 seasons for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. The 55-year-old is now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets.