2. Lebron James
fortunate 50 lebron james
Occupation: Miami Heat forward
Salary/Winnings: $17,545,000
Endorsements: $39,000,000
Total: $56,545,000

James has bounced back from the stain of The Decision in 2010, leading Miami to the '12 NBA title and repairing his image. New deals followed, with the likes of Baskin-Robbins and Samsung. LeBron, 28, also has one of the biggest contracts with Nike (NKE, Fortune 500) and is a part owner of the Liverpool soccer club. On the court he's underpaid: The four-time MVP earns less than the Nets' Joe Johnson and the Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire, for example.


The Fortunate 50 measures salary, winnings, bonuses and endorsements based on consulting players' associations, tour records, online databases, agents and media reports. The endorsement estimates come from a stable of marketing executives, agents, and other experts. Candidates for the Fortunate 50 must be U.S. citizens or play in a U.S.-based league. Endorsements reflect current deals, and salaries are based on current or most recently completed seasons (e.g., NFL salaries come from the season that ended in February). For auto racing and tennis, prize money came from the 2012 calendar year. Golf earnings are from July 1, 2012 through April 21, 2013. Boxing purses are from August 2012 through May 2013 (but projected money from bouts scheduled through September were included).
  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 15 2013 02:32 PM ET
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