When you think of the world’s richest Black athletes, you may automatically think of basketball players. But there are Black athletes of all stripes all over the world — and some of them play sports that barely make waves on American shores.
One of the richest Black athletes in the world, for example, is a French soccer player by the name of Paul Pogba. He’s a midfielder for Manchester United, one of the most popular soccer teams in the world, and he previously played for Juventus. But while Pogba is a current athlete, there are some Black athletes who made this list that no longer play the game.
For example, Michael Jordan — the GOAT of the NBA — is better known for his sneakers than his hoop game today, while Shaq is known as the cantankerous commentator on “NBA on TNT.” LeBron James — who is on the road to a billion — has reached a point where he doesn’t have to play basketball anymore, but it’s clear that he still wants to.
And then there are some players whose true underdog stories are nothing short of an inspiration. You won’t believe how Vinnie Johnson flipped a meager NBA salary into the world’s largest supplier of auto parts, or how Junior Bridgeman went from earning a paltry few hundred thousand into tying with the Magic Johnson to become the world’s third-richest Black athlete.
Let’s take a look at the richest Black athletes in the world, based on their net worth.
Editorial note: This article was updated on 11/9/2021 at 2:15pm EST. The net worths listed in this piece are a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources.
Estimated Net Worth: $120 Million
Ryan Howard is a baseball player who has made his mark playing for the Philadelphia Phillies as their first baseman. During the peak of his career, Howard’s salary was $25 million, and in total, he earned nearly $200 million in salary while playing for Major League Baseball.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, he has an estimated net worth of $120 million.
Estimated Net Worth: $125 Million
He’s one of the most prominent soccer players in the world, yet Paul Pogba remains relatively unknown on American shores. But whether you know his name or not, Pogba is one of the richest Black athletes in the world, with an estimated net worth of $125 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Most of his net worth comes from his soccer salary — which averages about $33 million per year — endorsements from the likes of adidas, and real estate (which includes an estate in the English countryside worth millions of dollars).
Estimated Net Worth: $135 Million
From Seattle Seahawks superstar to one-half of a superstar power couple, Russell Wilson has worked hard for his money. Together with his wife, Ciara, he has made several investments in minority-owned businesses, film and television productions, technology, and many more businesses to give him an impressive $135 million net worth.
Albert Pujols, Dwyane Wade, & Kevin Durant (three-way tie)
Estimated Net Worth: $170 Million
While Wade and Durant are best known for their prowess on the NBA courts, Albert Pujols is best known for his work on the baseball field.
In addition to his salary with Major League Baseball — where he first made his mark as part of the St. Louis Cardinals — Pujols has invested heavily in real estate in Southern California.
And as for Durant, he’s made his money from the likes of Coinbase, film and television, and real estate.
All three of them have the same net worth: $170 million.
Hakeem Olajuwon & David Robinson (tie)
Estimated Net Worth: $200 Million
Even though Hakeem Olajuwon is no longer playing professional basketball, he’s still dominating off the court. Sportscasting reports that he’s the eighth-richest basketball player in history.
Like Olajuwon, David Robinson — formerly of the San Antonio Spurs — doesn’t play professional basketball anymore, either. But according to Celebrity Net Worth, he founded the Admiral Capital Group to make investments in thriving businesses, including hotels and the Carver Academy, which he founded.
Both these retired basketball players have a net worth of $200 million.
Estimated Net Worth: $240 Million
Much ado has been made about Serena Williams’ $240 million net worth, and for good reason. She’s become one of the most successful Black tennis players in history as a result of her wise investments. The tennis great has expanded her empire into everything from fashion to activism, to an impressive number of endorsements and investments in some of the biggest companies in the world. We stan this queen, now and forever!
Photo Credit: Roger Kisby
Estimated Net Worth: $350 Million
From a boxer to a highly successful entrepreneur (admit it: you love those grills), George Foreman proved there was a life outside the boxing ring. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he amassed a fortune worth $350 million over the course of his career.
Shaquille O'Neal and Vinnie Johnson (tie)
Estimated Net Worth: $400 Million
Shaq’s net worth comes from a variety of investments including Papa John’s, Auntie Anne’s, and even Playboy. But while Shaq was always destined to be a “top dog” in the net worth category due to his impressive salary, it’s Vinnie Johnson’s story that’s the true underdog tale. According to Sportscasting, Johnson only made $5 million in his NBA career but flipped that $5 million into an investment in The Piston Group, which he founded in 1995. Johnson’s company soon became the chief supplier to automakers all over the country, including GM and Ford. Both of their stories prove that it’s not where you come from, but where you’re going — and both men have an estimated net worth of $400 million, even though they took very different paths to get there.
Estimated Net Worth: $450 Million
Love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather knows how to stay on the “Money Team.” He reportedly makes $300 million per fight, and has an estimated net worth of $450 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Estimated Net Worth: $475 Million
The Independent has placed the F1 driver on its “Top Richest” list, and they estimate his net worth to be $475 million, thanks to sponsorships and endorsements from the likes of Mercedes-Benz.
Junior Bridgeman & Magic Johnson (tie)
Estimated Net Worth $600 Million
While Magic Johnson’s net worth comes from remaining relevant in the basketball world long after he retired from the court, Junior Bridgeman’s story is a lot like Vinnie Johnson’s, in that he “flipped” his NBA money into an impressive net worth. Bridgeman never made more than $350,000 per year when he played on the courts, but he became a beast in the business world once he stepped off the courts. According to Cracked Magazine, Bridgeman first started by investing in fast-food joints — just a Wendy’s here and there, to start — and eventually moved up to investing in Chili’s restaurants. At the height of his restaurant career, Bridgeman Foods owned over 450 restaurants. Then, in 2016, he sold them all — and invested in a plant that bottled Coca-Cola. And then, if all that wasn’t enough, he bought Ebony & Jet Magazines. All of that made both Junior Bridgeman and Magic Johnson the third-richest Black athletes in the world, with an estimated net worth of $600 million.
Estimated Net Worth: $800 Million
Tiger Woods’ net worth of $800 million comes mostly from his extensive endorsement deals, real estate deals (he even owns a private island in Sweden!), and golf wins. And, as AfroTech recently reported, he’s also now in the business of NFTs, too.
“The intersection of sports and technology is such an interesting space to me, and I’m thrilled to partner with Autograph as they lead the charge by ushering a new era of digital collecting,” Woods said. “It’s been an honor to join their advisory board among so many iconic athletes, and I’m looking forward to bringing fans closer to my memorable sports moments at an accessible price, and to the game I respect so much.”
Estimated Net Worth: $850 Million
It’s only a matter of time before LeBron James joins the rarified billionaire boys club. As AfroTech previously reported, he “has an estimated $850 million net worth (as of this writing), according to Forbes. He’s also listed at No. 5 on the world’s highest-paid athletes, and No. 39 on the Forbes list of the world’s richest entrepreneurs (Not bad for a man who got his start after a serendipitous meeting in an airport with Rich Paul — the man who would become his agent, manager, and friend). What’s more, James has the NBA’s top endorsement portfolio, and one of the most impressive year-over-year salaries in the league. And this is to say nothing about his various sponsorships, endorsements, and other streams of income.
Estimated Net Worth: $1.6 Billion
Nobody is touching the GOAT. As AfroTech previously reported, “while Michael Jordan is one of the most decorated basketball players in history, he is also one of the sport’s few billionaires.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Jordan has a net worth (as of 2021) of $1.6 billion. While that’s far from a shabby number, the outlet points out that that it’s still a $500 million drop from what his net worth was in 2020. And the reason behind the drop? The GameStop saga.”