Kobe is fourth in line when it comes to U.S. athletic-driven non-poverty, but only edges out Becks in L.A. bragging rights


Kobe Bryant’s $48.2 million income from the year — with $28 million of that coming from endorsements — puts the Lakers’ star at No. 4 among SI.com’s “Fortunate 50 list,” which identifies the 50 highest-earning American athletes.

Bryant, who moves up from No. 6 on last year’s list, isn’t really keeping it all, of course. As SI notes: “Bryant remains an earning juggernaut, but what he does with his money is undergoing a shift. Within days of his wife, Vanessa, filing for divorce in December 2011, three of Bryant’s homes in California were transferred to her name.”

Boxer Floyd Mayweather, whose $85 million is based only on earnings and no endorsements, jumped to the top of the list for the first time, passing up golfers Tiger Woods ($56.4 million, who is third after being No. 1 a year ago) and Phil Mickelson ($60.7 million, at No. 2, up from No. 3).

Mickelson and Woods get almost 95 percent of their yearly income from endorsements. Woods’ earnings is lowest it has been since the “Fortunate 50” list began in 2004 and his endorsement dollars were down $5 million from 2011, according to the SI.com press release.

On the International top 20 list, tennis’ Roger Federer ($51.4 million) was the top earner, with David Beckham second ($46 mil).

Rounding out the U.S. top 10 list: LeBron James ($45.8 mil), Alex Rodriguez ($33.5 mil), Peyton Manning ($31 mil), Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($28.1 mil), Derek Jeter ($27.7 mil) and Larry Fitzgerald ($26.7 mil).

The average earnings for the top 50 American athletes is $25.85 million. No female athletes were in the top 50. Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback who just signed a $100 million deal last week, is not on the list as figures are based on the most recently completed season (2011).

The list: SI.com/Fortunate50.

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