Correction: New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, a Rock Hill native who played for South Pointe High and South Carolina, has been added.
Forbes annual rankings of the world’s top 100 highest-paid athletes, released Wednesday, includes eight stars with strong Charlotte ties.
The eight who live – or grew up – in the Charlotte area or play for Charlotte teams include some of the world’s best-known stars and three athletes who signed new contracts within the past 12 months.
Anyone lucky enough to have lunch with any of these guys should let them pick up the check:
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▪ No. 8: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, $47.3 million
▪ No. 39: Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots, $29.3 million
▪ No. 56: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, $26 million
▪ No. 73: Matt Kalil, Carolina Panthers, $23.2 million
▪ No. 78: Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat, 22.7 million
▪ No. 93: Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR, $21.8 million
▪ No. 98: Nic Batum, Charlotte Hornets, $21.5 million
▪ No. 100: Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR, $21.4 million
▪ Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, FIFA’s top player in the world for four years running, tops the list for the second straight year. Forbes estimates his earnings at about $93 million for the past 12 months.
▪ Curry is one of two players who rose 61 spots from last year, in part thanks to endorsement deals in China.
▪ Batum, Whiteside and Kalil all signed new contracts within the past 12 months.
▪ Kalil’s older brother, Panthers center Ryan Kalil, was on Forbes’ list in 2012. The Kalils are just the third set of siblings to make the list.
▪ The Earnhardts, Dale Jr. and his late father, are one of only two father-son pairs to make Forbes’ list over time.
▪ Johnson, the reigning and seven-time Cup Series champion, and Earnhardt, NASCAR’s most popular driver, are the only two stock-car drivers on the list. Three Formula One drivers made the last as well.
Forbes 2017 list ranks active athletes based on earnings – salary, bonuses and estimated endorsements – for the past 12 months ending on June 1.
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