There are some Aussie sports stars raking in some serious dough right now.
We’re talking mega bucks; multi-year contracts, lucrative deals and mind-boggling cheques with a long line of zeros!
From the roaring arenas of the basketball court to the manicured greens of the golf course, these sportsmen are making the absolute most of their earning potential.
But who are they? Well here’s the list — Australia’s 10 highest paid sports stars.
The Highest Paid Australian Athletes of 2023
It’s worth pointing out that all male and female athletes from Australia were considered when this highest paid list was compiled. But unfortunately, no female athletes made the cut; no Sam Kerr, Ellyse Perry, Steph Gilmore or Ajla Tomljanović.
And as expected, most of the highest paid sporting earners on this list ply their trade in the USA.
GQ magazine published this list in January 2023. They formulated the rankings based on base salary, prize money and sponsorship deals. All quoted figures were in Australian dollars at the time of publication and do not take into account any sudden windfalls.
10. Adam Scott
Total Earnings: $7.8 million
After 23 years on the PGA tour and at the age of 43, Adam Scott is still cashing in on his golfing talents. While he hasn’t added to his 31 tournament victories for a while, he has finished in the top five a respectable number of times in the last 12 months, boosting his earnings.
The bulk of his dough, however, comes from blue chip sponsors, which pushes him just ahead of Jason Day and Nick Kyrgios into Australia’s top 10 highest paid athletes.
9. Dyson Daniels
Current Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Total Earnings: $7.9 million
You may not have heard of 20-year-old Dyson Daniels if you don’t watch basketball. But the Bendigo-born, 6-foot-7 talent rose to fame in the USA during the 2022 NBA Draft; selected 8th overall.
Scoring a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans made him an instant millionaire and on big money for a rookie. If he manages to stay injury-free, he’ll be appearing higher on this list of top earners in absolutely no time.
8. Josh Giddey
Current Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Total Earnings: $9 million
Melbourne-born Josh Giddey was the 6th pick overall in the 2021 NBA draft.
Son of Warwick Giddey, who enjoyed a successful 15-year career in the NBL in Australia, Josh had a notable rookie year and has only grown as a player since then as well.
He’s the youngest player in NBA history to achieve the feat of a triple-double, one of three he notched up in his inaugural season, and is continuing to put up impressive numbers in the NBA and on the FIBA scene with the Boomers too.
=6. Joe Ingles
Current Team: Orlando Magic
Total Earnings: $9.3 million
Unlike Daniels and Giddy, Joe Ingles has been in the big leagues for a while, most notably with the Utah Jazz. But the 35-year-old small forward has bounced around several teams in the last few years and will begin the 2023-24 campaign with Orlando, after finishing with the Bucks last season.
While he might not have too many years in the pros left in him, the South Australian has earned enough cash to retire very comfortably, whenever that day comes.
=6. Patty Mills
Current Team: Atlanta Hawks
Total Earnings: $9.3 million
There’s a theme emerging; Patty Mills is another of Australia’s top basketball players and all of them get paid very well.
At just 6 feet, he is much shorter than his other compatriots mentioned on this list. However, what he may lack in height, Patty more than makes up for in other basketballing areas, making sure he doesn’t miss out financially.
Mills was an important role player in San Antonio’s 2014 championship and linked up with Kevin Durant and co. more recently with the Brooklyn Nets. He’ll end 2023 on the Atlanta Hawks; his third NBA franchise.
5. Liam Hendriks
Current Team: Chicago White Sox
Total Earnings: $20 million
It’s incredible to think that Liam Hendriks is one of Australia’s highest earners, but most people down under wouldn’t have heard of him. But the Perth-born pitcher is a 12-year veteran of MLB, with earnings of around $20 million in 2023.
Nicknamed ‘Slydah’, the veteran started his career with the Minnesota Twins in 2011. After two stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and appearances for the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics, he’s more recently been at the Chicago White Sox for a couple of years.
4. Jordan Mailata
Current Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Total Earnings: $21.5 million
It wasn’t so long ago that Jordan Mailata was playing reserve-grade rugby league in Australia. However, after being spotted by an NFL scout, he was persuaded to join the International Player Pathway Program for American Football.
Eventually, he found himself in the 2018 Draft, where the Philadelphia Eagles picked him up. Fast forward five years, and he is now one of Australia’s top earners, played in the Super Bowl last year and is considered one of the better left tackles in football — one of the hardest positions in professional sports. His rise to relevance and riches has been something to behold.
3. Cameron Smith
Total Earnings: At least $30 million (excluding LIV contract)
Cameron Smith won the Open Champions in 2022, after winning the Players Championship earlier that year as well — PGA’s richest winner’s cheque. And being named the PGA Player of the Year capped off an insane season on the tour.
Soon after that success, the 29-year-old Queenslander became one of the first Australians to join LIV Golf, for a reported $140 million.
Such deals make him one of Australia’s richest sporting earners; possibly the highest. But he is not number one on this list because the contract length of his new deal is unknown — some reports say it’s a one year contract, others suggest it’s actually three or more.
2. Daniel Ricciardo
Sport: Formula 1
Total Earnings: $26 million
For a large portion of this year, after leaving Formula 1 team Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo faced the prospect of being Australia’s second-highest paid sports personality without actually competing. Thankfully, he secured himself a berth with Scuderia AlphaTauri this year.
While he might not add to his eight Grand Prix victories for the foreseeable future, he at least can rest assured that his earning potential hasn’t slowed down much yet.
1. Ben Simmons
Current Team: Brooklyn Nets
Total Earnings: $51 million
Benjamin David Simmons is one of life’s big winners. The first Aussie for some time to earn over $50 million in a year, he also enjoys a prominent public profile.
Selected by the Philadelphia Sixers as the first pick of the 2016 draft, the Melbourne-born 6’10 giant has been a three-time NBA All-star. That said, he hasn’t gone close to living up to his potential.
The unfortunate reality is that he’s now widely considered to be one of the NBA’s worst contracts; it’ll be a stretch for the Nets to get out from under it unscathed anytime soon. He hasn’t lived up to his price tag for multiple seasons now and there are genuine concerns that his best basketball is firmly in the rearview mirror.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this rich list. It’s interesting that some of these Aussie sports stars earn multiple million dollars from top sponsorship deals, and they are not even household names in Australia!
That said, few sports offer such deals, so if you want to follow suit and rake in as much as they do, clearly the trick is to develop your skills in basketball, baseball, golf or Formula One!