This story appears in the May 2, 2011, issue of ESPN The Magazine.
"Annual Salary" represents only base salary from the most recently completed season or calendar year from each sport, and excludes any other source of compensation, unless otherwise noted. In countries where official salary figures were unavailable, we estimated the number based on information from multiple sources, including leagues, agents, consulates, embassies, sports federations, cultural centers and the U.N. All figures converted to U.S. dollars. Per Capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product), a leading indicator of national wealth, is the market value of a country's goods and services divided by its population; we used most recently available GDP data for each country.
Sports represented: soccer 114, basketball 18, baseball 12, auto racing 6, golf 5, American football 5, hockey 5, cricket 4, boxing 3, track and field 3, rugby 2, tennis 2, badminton 1, cycling 1, motorcycle racing 1, sumo 1, yachting 1.
Editors' note: No pros from Afghanistan, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Salaries not available for Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Bonaire, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Dominica, East Timor, Grenada, Mauritus, Micronesia, Monaco, Monserrat, Myanmar, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grendadines, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos or Yemen.
Data gathered by Sulaiman Folarin, Jeff Gold, Lizzie Haldane, Adesina O. Koiki, Brandon Lilly, John Mastroberardino, Jason Matloff, Doug McIntyre and Gueorgui Milkov. Special thanks to Ori Cooper, director of IMScouting.