World’s Most Powerful Athletes 2014: LeBron James Is King

Forbes has released its annual list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Celebrities, and this year 16 athletes made the cut. Topping the list of sports stars is LeBron James, who sits at No. 2 on the celebrities list – bested only by Beyonce. Floyd Mayweather also cracked the top-10 for celebs, with Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal all breaking the top-25.

Only three female athletes – all tennis players – made the list, the highest being Maria Sharapova at No. 63.

Forbes determines its power rankings on a combination of money earned and celebrity influence. Forbes writer Kurt Badenhausen explains the process as the following:

The fame quotient is based on mentions in the media, social media prowess and overall impact. Our athlete earnings estimates include salaries, bonuses, prize money and appearance fees, as well as licensing and endorsement income paid out during the 12 months between June 1, 2013 and June 1, 2014. We do not deduct for taxes or agents’ fees. We also do not include investment income unless it is a stake in a company tied to a sponsorship like James’ small equity stake in Beats.

For LeBron, his power and influence spread across all spectra. He cashed in on the Beats sale to Apple; he has endorsement deals with power brokers such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Nike; and he is at the zenith of the basketball world. Being the planet’s best basketball player and face of numerous global marketing efforts afforded him a slot higher than individuals such as Oprah (No. 4) and pal Jay Z (No. 6).

Below is a listing of all the athletes who made Forbes’ cut this year. In parentheses is where they fell on the Top 100. For Forbes’ slideshow of each athlete, as well as the publication’s reasoning behind the ranking, click here.

  1. LeBron James (2)
  2. Floyd Mayweather (7)
  3. Kobe Bryant (15)
  4. Roger Federer (16)
  5. Tiger Woods (21)
  6. Rafael Nadal (24)
  7. Cristiano Ronaldo (30)
  8. Kevin Durant (33)
  9. Peyton Manning (39)
  10. Novak Djokovic (43)
  11. Phil Mickelson (44)
  12. Lionel Messi (45)
  13. Dwyane Wade (55)
  14. Maria Sharapova (63)
  15. Serena Williams (69)
  16. Li Na (85)