Tyson tops money list

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The Independent Online
Forget those big-money contracts in baseball, basketball, American football and ice hockey. The boxer, Mike Tyson, fought just three times in 1996 and, according to Forbes magazine, earned $75m (pounds 45m), more money in one year than any athlete in history.

Tyson replaced the NBA player, Michael Jordan, at the top in the Forbes Super 40 list of highest-paid athletes, announced on Sunday. However, Jordan, the No 1 for four consecutive years, could be poised for a comeback in 1997. His $30m contract - the largest one-year salary in sports history - will generate more next year.

Then there is box office, merchandise and video income from his film Space Jam, which could push his earnings past $100m for next year. Forbes estimates Jordan's 1996 income at $52.6m, $12.6m in salary and $40m from other sources such as endorsements.

Endorsement income played a key role for many of the athletes on the list, especially in golf. Arnold Palmer is No 8 with $15.1m, just $100,000 of it in winnings and $15m from other sources. Tiger Woods, a professional for just four months, earned $800,00 playing golf and $8m in other income.

Damon Hill, the Formula One World champion driver, does not come anywhere near the top, even though he is Britain's leading entry on the list at 34 with an estimated income of pounds 5.5m.

Top 10 earners in sport

1 Mike Tyson, boxing $75.0 (pounds 45m)

2 Michael Jordan, basketball $52.6 (pounds 32m)

3 Michael Schumacher, motor racing $33.0 (pounds 20m)

4 Shaquille O'Neal, basketball $24.4 (pounds 14.8m)

5 Emmitt Smith, American football $16.5 (pounds 10m)

6 Evander Holyfield, boxing $15.5 (pounds 9.4m)

7 Andre Agassi, tennis $15.2 (pounds 9.26m)

8 Arnold Palmer, golf $15.1 (pounds 9.2m)

9 Dennis Rodman, basketball $12.9 (pounds 7.8m)

10 Patrick Ewing, basketball $12.4 (pounds 7.5m)