INSTAGRAM | @bensimmons

AS A SPORTS-OBSESSED nation where children are handed balls at roughly the same time as books, taught the basics of just about every popular sport at school and grow up with near-constant exposure to multiple footballing codes on primetime television, it should come as no surprise that Australia has produce some of the most talented – and by extension, the highest earning – athletes in the world. We’re counting them down from 15-1.

While various forms of oval-ball games, cricket and swimming are Australia’s bread and butter, our homegrown athletes have permeated some of the world’s biggest sporting leagues – the kind that pay much better than domestic sports. No current NRL, AFL or cricket players appear in this list, proving that the real money lies overseas. NBA players make up more than half of the rankings, so if moneymaking is your goal, consider swapping out your footy for a basketball.

To determine the placings on this list, we gathered information and data on either current contracts or prize money dating from this time last year to now – which was necessary in sports like tennis and golf, which don’t pay much of a wage, but offer exorbitant winnings. With the nitty-gritty technical details out of the way, let’s get into the list. These are the 15 richest Australian athletes of 2024, in terms of yearly earnings.

All figures have been converted to AUD and are accurate as of May 20, 2024.

What Australian athletes are paid the most?

INSTAGRAM | @alexdeminaur

15. Alex de Minaur

Alex de Minaur, Australia’s top-ranked tennis player in either men’s or women’s singles, is having quite the year. Beginning 2024 at the United Cup with victories over three top ten-ranked players in Taylor Fritz, Alex Zverev and world number one Novak Djokovic, de Minaur maintained his form throughout the Australian Open, eventually bowing out in the fourth round after a closely fought five setter against Andrey Rublev, but doing enough to enter the ATP top ten for the first time. He then went on to defend his Mexican Open crown, winning his eighth ATP title. Needless to say, de Minaur’s winnings have taken a boost this year, and his spot on this list reflects that.

Richest Australian athletes
INSTAGRAM | @samanthakerr20

14. Sam Kerr

Yearly earnings: $3.34 million

She may be the first and only female athlete to appear in these rankings, but Sam Kerr earns more than any other Australian footballer – and that includes all sports that call themselves football: soccer, rugby league, rugby union and Aussie rules. As one of the best footballers to grace this planet, Kerr commands a monstrous pay package from her domestic club, Chelsea. A sneak peak to what’s ahead: Kerr isn’t the only Esquire cover alumnus on this list.

Richest Australian athletes
INSTAGRAM | @cameronsmithgolf

13. Cameron Smith

Yearly earnings: $7.3 million

A small asterisk here, because there’s a chance that Cam Smith should be topping this list. We know that Smith defected to LIV in 2022 for an eyewatering $140 million contract, but we don’t know how long that contract runs for. If it’s a two-year deal, Smith would be in first place on this list. If it’s a ten-year deal, he’ll move up a few spots, but won’t crack the top five. To play it safe, we’re not going to speculate on the details and only use Smith’s LIV winnings for the year to date.

INSTAGRAM @hendriks_31

12. Liam Hendriks

Yearly earnings: $7.5 million

Unless you’re tapped into Major League Baseball, you may not have heard of Liam Hendriks, but the baseball world certainly has. Over the last decade, Hendriks has established himself as one of the best closing pitchers in baseball. A three-time all-star, Hendriks’ career took a detour when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in early 2023. Now cancer free, Hendriks is yet to return to the dugout, but he’s still earning stacks.

INSTAGRAM | @dysondaniels

11. Dyson Daniels

Yearly earnings: $8.65 million

The first of many NBA players to appear in this list, Dyson Daniels is a testament to the unparalleled paygrade of basketball. Daniels was selected with the eighth pick in the 2022 NBA draft by the New Orleans Pelicans and is still on his relatively small-scale rookie contract. Yes, that lofty figure above is what the NBA agrees to pay its freshest, unproven players before they’ve even played a game.

Oscar Piastri Esquire Australia
Photography: James Anastasi. Styling: Catherine Hayward.

10. Oscar Piastri

Yearly earnings: $8.95 million

Racing phenom and Esquire digital cover star Oscar Piastri is rapidly rising through F1’s ranks, already showing vast improvements from his respectable rookie season. For now, Piastri is not Australia’s highest paid F1 driver – and his contract is looking increasingly like an unbelievable bargain for McLaren, as his teammate Lando Norris makes more than three times as much. Piastri isn’t in line for an extension until 2027, maybe then he’ll get what he deserves.

Richest Australian athletes
INSTAGRAM | @joshgiddey

9. Josh Giddey

Yearly earnings: $9.8 million

He may be Australia’s brightest young star in the NBA (and is arguably already our best player), but five basketballers sit ahead of Josh Giddey on this list. After a season that saw his Oklahoma City Thunder claim the Western conference’s number one seed but his own role and stats dwindle amid allegations of alleged sexual misconduct, Giddey’s future is uncertain. He’s now entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract, and his performance next season will likely determine whether he climbs or falls in these rankings.

Richest Australian athletes
INSTAGRAM | @danielricciardo

8. Daniel Ricciardo

Yearly earnings: $10.75 million

Fan-favourite Aussie speedster Daniel Ricciardo returned to the grid midway through last season before locking up a full-time spot at RB. While his F1 seat is probably feeling increasingly hot as he’s struggled to find consistency to start 2024, Ricciardo is being paid handsomely for his efforts. The 34-year-old’s contract does expire at the end of this year though. Whether he moves onto bigger fish, remains with RB or falls out of F1 altogether, remains to be seen. Expect his place in this list to change regardless of the outcome.

INSTAGRAM | @balapat

7. Patty Mills

Yearly earnings: $11.25 million

Patty Mills was traded three times during the last NBA offseason. Going from the Brooklyn Nets to the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks, as each team proved unwilling to swallow the 35-year-old’s sizable $10 million contract. Eventually, the Hawks bit the bullet, waiving Mills. That move left him free to sign with the Miami Heat on a far more cap space friendly contract worth just over $1 million. Still, Mills pockets everything he was guaranteed from his previous contract, plus a nice bonus from his new one.

INSTAGRAM | @jocklandale

6. Jock Landale

Yearly earnings: $11.9 million

Jock Landale rockets towards the top of this list by virtue of receiving a massive pay rise at the start of the 2023/24 NBA season. The 211cm center was earning a little under $2 million per year on his previous contract – lifechanging coin for the average joe, chump change for an NBA player – but his new deal with the Houston Rockets makes him one of the highest paid bench players in the league, and one of the highest paid Australian athletes. But with a name like Jock and a height above two metres, what other career path was Landale going to follow?

INSTAGRAM | @theycallmetisse

5. Matisse Thybulle

Yearly earnings: $15.65 million

Matisse Thybulle has established himself as one of the best 3&D players in the NBA. Previously known for his lockdown defensive abilities, Thybulle added above average three-point shooting to his repertoire this season. To the basketball-averse, these words might look like binary code, but just know that NBA teams are willing to fork out extra cash for a player of such a skillset, as the Portland Trailblazers are with Thybulle.

INSTAGRAM | @orlandomagic

4. Joe Ingles

Yearly earnings: $16.4 million

There’s so much money to go around in the NBA that some of the highest paid Australian athletes spend most of their time sitting on the bench. In the past, Joe Ingles has been an elite three-point shooter and scrappy defender on some of the league’s best teams. Now, he’s taken on more of a leadership role for the super-young Orlando Magic, who don’t mind paying for what is effectively a second coach.

INSTAGRAM | @joshgreen

3. Josh Green

Yearly earnings: $18.85 million

Like we mentioned earlier, while they’re hardly strapped for cash beforehand, top NBA draft picks typically need to wait until their second contract for the cash to really start rolling in. Josh Green is one such beneficiary of that standard. The 23-year-old inked a new deal last offseason, keeping him with the Dallas Mavericks for at least another three seasons and ensuring his place among the highest paid of all Australian athletes.

INSTAGRAM | @jordanmailata

2. Jordan Mailata

Yearly earnings: $33 million

While there are no current NRL players on this list, as domestically popular Australian sports don’t pay comparatively well, Jordan Mailata did pursue a career in rugby before making the fiscally sound decision to switch to American football. Since the change, Mailata has signed a four-year contract worth a total of $95 million, and a three-year extension worth $98 million, which will keep him with the Philadelphia Eagles until at least 2028 and makes him the fifth highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL.

Richest Australian athletes
Getty Images

1. Ben Simmons

Yearly earnings: $60 million

Courtesy of a colossal $264 million five-year contract former Esquire cover star Ben Simmons signed with the Philadelphia 76ers back in 2020, the towering basketballer has been the highest paid Australian athletes for a few years running. That contract was back-loaded, meaning Simmons doesn’t earn an equal share of the $264 million every year, but rather, he was earning around $45 million per year at the start of the contract, with his yearly income steadily increasing to the level it is today.

Interestingly, Simmons playtime has seemingly been inversely proportionate to the amount he’s earning, with injury woes limiting the point forward to just 15 games this NBA season. Simmons’ extensive injury issues could be cause for sympathy, but when you remember that he essentially earned $4 million per game this year, it’s difficult to feel too bad for the 27-year-old. Although, with his five-year contract expiring this offseason, Simmons will be on the hunt for a new deal. We only hope that, for his lavish lifestyle’s sake, it will be as lucrative as his current one.


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