Just how much money can someone expect to make as a professional athlete? Not quite as much as you might think. Frank Doyle does the numbers, and the results might surprise you.
Iron men like John Stockton, Brett Favre or Cal Ripken, Jr, are the exceptions. For the majority of professional sportsmen, careers don’t even last as long as the time people spend in high school. The longest-lasting career in professional sports, when you work out the averages, is in baseball, and that’s only a little over five years.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s the most lucrative – when you do the math, it turns out that basketball is the career you ought to go for if you’re chasing the dollars. The average NBA player clocks up a lifetime salary of $24.7 million – a third of what MJ made in a year in his prime, but pretty good moolah for the likes of you or me.
Baseball is also the sport that gives you the best chance of going pro, but even then the odds are against you – one in ten collegiate baseball players go pro, which is five times more than the average for the other major sports.
If you do make it to the top though, you can really ring the bells when it comes to earning power. Alex Rodriguez rang up a quarter of a million dollars every time he got a hit last year. Nice work if you can get it.