ESPN just put together a report on the highest-earning players in tons of different sports.  We all know MLB, NBA, and NFL players do well . . . but who knew there were BADMINTON and RACQUETBALL players making bank? Here are some of the highest-paid athletes from the big sports . . .



–Boxing.  Manny Pacquiao was the highest-paid athlete in the world last year . . . he made $50 million for two boxing title fights last year. Even though he didn’t make this list . . . because Pacquiao out-earned him . . . Floyd Mayweather was the highest-earning U.S. athlete last year.  He made $40 million for one boxing

–Baseball.  Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, $30 million.

–Football.  Believe it or not, the highest-paid NFL player was a defensive end on the Carolina Panthers named Charles Johnson, who took down $34 million.

–Basketball.  Kobe Bryant made $25.24 million in 2011.

 –Hockey.  The highest-paid NHL player was Brad Richards from the New York Rangers.  He made $12 million.

–Golf.  Luke Donald had the best year in 2011, making $9.5 million in prize money.  The female golfer who made the most was Yani Tseng, who made $2.9 million on the LPGA tour.

–Tennis.  Novak Djokovic made $12.6 million in prize money last year.  For women, Petra Kvitova made $5.15 million . . . that makes her the highest-paid female athlete in the world.

–Auto racing.  The real money has always been in Formula One.  Fernando Alonso made $40 million last year in Formula One racing.

–And now some people raking in cash in smaller sports . . .

–Badminton.  For men, Lee Chong Wei made $267,350 in prize money.  For women, Wang Yihan made $277,550.  This is one of the only sports where the top female out-earned the top male.

–Bowling.  Sean Rash made $140,250 on the PBA tour.

–Darts.  Phil Taylor made $938,497 in prize money in 2011.

–Competitive eating.  Joey Chestnut made $205,000 winning eating contests.

–Fishing.  Kevin VanDam made $706,500 on the Bassmaster Elite Series.

–Racquetball.  Kane Waselenchuk made $270,000 on the International Racquetball Tour.

–Sumo wrestling.  Hakuho of the Japan Sumo Association made $1.1 million.

CLICK HERE to check out more athletes, from triathlons to sled dog racing to alpine skiing.

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