I don’t know exactly which athletes accumulate the highest earnings. I did some research on Forbes and discovered that Tiger Woods made the most money last year with $75 million. That included his long-term endorsements with Nike and Electronic Arts which made up a huge portion of his 2011 earnings.

Kobe Bryant came in second place with total earnings of over $53 million. He was followed by another NBA superstar, LeBron James, who made a total of $49 million last year. Roger Federer ($47 million) came in fourth spot and pro golfer, Phil Mickelson ($46.5 million), came in fifth. I guess you could say that NBA players make the most money among athletes and probably get paid the highest salaries on average.

The one player’s salary that shocked me the most for this season had to be Wizards SF, Rashard Lewis. He’s easily the most overrated and over paid player in the league. They must pay him so much because he’s a veteran. He averaged over 20 points for the Sonics before he signed a $118 million free agent deal with Orlando in 2007. He’s been a flop ever since. It seems like the Wizards are wasting millions on him to make sure he doesn’t retire; which is not a very profitable decision.

nba rashard lewis wizards 222x300 Kobe Tops List of Highest Paid Players and Earners in the NBA [25 photos]I’m not hating on Rashard Lewis, I’m only pointing out the facts. He averages only 8.4 PPG and 1.1 APG as a small forward and is getting paid over $21.1 million by the Wizards this season.

TA profitable decision for the Wizards would be to spoil Nick Young who could prove to be a very valuable asset in the long run. He leads the Wizards in points (16.2 PPG) and could hit over 20 PPG by the end of the season if he gets more playing time. I made two different types of lists for you guys. I made a top 10 list of the NBA’s highest earning players and a top 25 list of the highest paid NBA players for the 2011-2012 season.

For all you dummies out there, the first list incorporates endorsements and salaries, while the second list only includes salaries. Feel free to voice your opinion on either lists. Keep in mind that Kobe is losing about $75 million to his wife through the divorce. Yes we all know she wasn’t with him shooting in the gym. Enjoy!

Top 10 Highest Earning NBA Players 

PlayerTeamEarnings
#1 Kobe BryantLA Lakers$53.2 million
#2 LeBron JamesMiami Heat$49 million
#3 Dwight HowardOrlando Magic$28.9 million
#4 Dwyane WadeMiami Heat$27.7 million
#5 Carmelo AnthonyNY Knicks$26.5 million
#6 Kevin GarnettBoston Celtics$26.2 million
#7 Amar'e StoudemireNY Knicks$26.2 million
#8 Kevin DurantOKC Thunder$24.5 million
#9 Tim DuncanSan Antonio Spurs$23.3 million
#10 Chris PaulLA Clippers$22.4 million

Top 25 List of Highest Paid NBA Players