The world’s most powerful athletes have practiced their games since childhood; practice began early and ended late; days were tough and nights even tougher. But for those who continued, all the hard work paid off after being selected.
As professional players, these individuals still give their best—even some of the retired players continue to lead active lives. For instance, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson have become entrepreneurs of the sports world. Magic Johnson, for example, founded the Magic Johnson Foundation to help mitigate HIV spread after learning of his own HIV-positive status. The icon Michael Jordan continues to own one of the sports teams after retiring from the NBA.
But they also get to enjoy and have what most of us average people don’t get to. They fly—for personal and professional reasons—in private jets, own a myriad of luxury cars, and have multiple mansions and villas. Some are known for outright showing their cash!
While you'll see a lot of private jets and cars on this list, let’s not forget that charter jets are also an option. In fact, most members of the team travel in a chartered bus or plane for games. Even some of the individuals listed here lease out their own private jets off-season. However, some exceptionally successful athletes have the resources to own and maintain lavish private jets and exotic cars for their travels.
Without further ado, here's how the world’s most powerful athletes travel:
20 Tom Brady: Gulfstream G550
The Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady is one only one of the two players to have won five Super Bowls. A top-notch player—with a near-$180 million net worth—he's also married to an affluent supermodel, who herself is worth a staggering $360 million. Together, they have three children. You can imagine a busy family like that would need a $53 million private jet for traveling. With a top speed of 585 mph, a capacity to carry up to 19 passengers, and eight sleeper seats, this is a perfect jet for Tom Brady. Whether for vacations to an Island, practice (when you don’t want to go on the team plane!), or events, this plane is perfect for Brady and the family. Brady also sometimes charters jets as he did for going to the Kentucky Derby with his friends and teammates.
19 Michael Jordan Gulfstream G550
While not a playing athlete anymore, the retired legend Michael Jordan travels in his private jet. His private jet, the G550, used to have the colors of North Carolina’s theme of blue and white, but recently, Jordan’s jet featured the elephant print from his signature Jordan brand. Equipped with two powerful Rolls Royce engines, the $50-million G550 can accommodate anywhere from 14 to 19 passengers. You won’t ever think it wasn't his jet—it says “N236MJ,” where “23” stands for his jersey number and "6" the number of NBA championships he won. Even after retirement, the all-time greatest basketball player continues to generate an unimaginable amount of revenue from endorsements and spends most of his time attending to the Charlotte Hornets, of which he's the majority owner. He can also use that jet to travel with some of the team players.
18 Kobe Bryant: Helicopter
The recently retired basketball player has achieved numerous awards and set various records both in and out of the court. The point guard used to take the chopper to his home games. What a bright idea—sitting in traffic would've not only wasted his time but also fatigued his body, which he always needed to be in a top-performance mode come game time. The Lakers player wasn't the owner of the chopper, though. According to TMZ, he had been renting it. Not only did he use it for personal travel, but he also once dropped off his teammate Steve Blake to the doctor’s office in it. Even after retirement, he continues to use it; recently, he used it to travel on Valentine’s Day. Owner or renter, he does a lot of cool stuff with it.
17 Neymar: Cessna Citation 680
This 24-year-old Brazil-born player owns not one but two private jets. He bought the Cessna Citation 680 after his first one, along with a helicopter, a yacht, and some properties, which were frozen due to a pending investigation for possible tax evasion. The previous one cost $10 million, while the 12-seater, midsize Cessna Citation 680 made a shallow dent of $8 million in his wallet. The jet has a cruising speed of 550 mph and a range of 3,190 miles. While it goes without saying that he uses the private jet to fly around for games, he also uses it for personal use—like for picking up his girlfriend. Considering the maintenance cost, fuel, crew, and per-hour flight cost, that’s a lot of money. But when you're 24 years old and have a whole career ahead of you, that’s probably just a drop in the bucket.
16 Alex Rodriguez: Gulfstream
Although the picture floating on the web of Alex Rodriguez getting out of his private jet is credible, the details are photoshopped—the jet isn't inscribed with “King A-Rod.” The now-retired baseball shortstop and third baseman played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball for teams such as the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees, and he accumulated a net worth of approximately $300 million. With that kind of money, you can bet he travels in a private jet—and extensively at that. There was a post in 2007, which documented some of his excursions. He flew to Vegas 13 times, Miami area—presumably to his home there—43 times, and a resort in Idaho 10 times. He also made trips to Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Bahamas in that. Some of those trips included a visit to a stripper—while married!
15 Serena Williams: Bentley Continental GT
Women’s tennis superstar Serena Williams has been consistently ranked number one for the past 15 years. She earned $27 million in 2016 and has an estimated net worth of $150 million. While she's currently on a hiatus due to her recent pregnancy and childbirth, the player owns, along with an Aston Martin, a Ferrari and a Bentley Continental GT. While the Aston Martin and Ferrari provide speed, the Continental GT renders comfort and luxury for her personal and professional use. The Continental GT came with two options: a 4-liter V8 engine producing 500 hp or a 6-liter W12 generating 626 hp. Despite weighing 2.5 tons, this car can still fool you at a red traffic light by reaching 60 mph from rest in just a little over four seconds.
14 Lewis Hamilton: McLaren MP4-12C (aka McLaren 12C)
It seems that he has a passion for fast things. When he's not racing, he's flying on his jet. And if he's on land but not on the tracks, he still drives a pretty darn fast car. Available as a two-door roadster and as a coupe, the McLaren 12C was the first car to be solely designed by McLaren since the McLaren F1. The 3.8-liter V8 twin-turbocharged engine, in tandem with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, produces 592 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. Although Hamilton has seen faster acceleration in his racing career, the 3.1-second 0 to 60-mph acceleration time for a street-legal car is still a big deal. When not traveling in his private jet—or a couple of other supercars—Hamilton drives the McLaren 12C. The 12C, which costs nearly $300,000, is also owned by some soccer stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Costa.
13 LeBron James: Ferrari F430
The basketball icon LeBron James is currently the highest-paid NBA player after signing a $100-million, three-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He owns a Ferrari F430 and several other high-end cars. The Ferrari F430 Scuderia is the successor to the Ferrari 360. Designed by Pininfarina, it looks different from its predecessor yet carries the Ferrari look. It's packed with a 4.3-liter V8 engine, which traces back to the Ferrari-Maserati F126 family. This beauty can churn out 483 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds; the top speed is just north of 196 mph. James travels in private jets and his own cars, including the F430. It has a price tag of $196,000, which is essentially change for the likes of Lebron James, whose net worth is estimated to be around $340 million, according to TheRichest.
12 Cristiano Ronaldo: Lamborghini Aventador
Ronaldo is, of course, on the list. When you own a $21-million jet, you're bound to own a supercar, if not a couple. And that’s exactly the case for the soccer champion. Replacing the decade-old flagship car, the Murcielago, the Aventador was released in 2011. In keeping with the tradition of Lamborghini, the Aventador was named after a bull. And boy, bull-like power does it have. With a 6.5-liter V-12 engine mated to a seven-speed transmission, it can generate 690 hp and 689 lb-ft of torque and zoom by the 60-mph mark from rest in just 2.9 seconds. Whether the bull Aventador had a top-notch interior is debatable, but the Lamborghini Aventador has an over-the-top interior. Whether it's for fun, travel, or just showing off, the Lamborghini Aventador is available to Cristiano Ronaldo in his garage.
11 Floyd “Money” Mayweather: 2012 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Convertible
When not flying on Air Mayweather 1, he uses Air Mayweather 2, his second private jet. Only after that does he come down to Earth—but even then, only to a Bugatti Veyron. He's never at the level of the masses, though. The stunning triple red Veyron cost him around $3.3 million, which is, of course, nothing compared to the reportedly $300 million he made in his last fight against Conor McGregor. In case you're not familiar, Bugatti Veyron was the fastest street-legal car until the arrival of its successor, the Bugatti Chiron. The legendary pugilist also owns a number of other supercars, which I won’t list, as they can probably take the space of an entire article. This recently bought car is used for fun and travel.
10 Tracy McGrady: Falcon 2000
T-Mac was only in high school when he was drafted in the NBA in 1997 and, although retired now, was an NBA All-Star seven times during his professional career. Right out of high school, his first paycheck was worth $245,000, and according to one source, he was the first NBA player to own a private jet—the Falcon 2000. He traveled frequently on the 11-seater private jet when in season, and chartered it to others when not—a solid investment plan that was meant to pay off in the long run. From practice to professional sporting events, he flew in the T1 MAC. From a Rolex watch to a Maybach to mansions to private jets, he had it all from an early age. However, there's a possibility that he might have sold the jet in 2006, according to philstar.com—but no other sources have confirmed this.
9 Floyd “Money” Mayweather: Gulfstream III
The pugilist remains undefeated to date. Winner of countless championships, titles, and trophies, he has a current net worth of $400 million, according to bankrate.com, and remains the richest boxer in the world. You probably already know he's not shy about flaunting his money—literally—as he once showed the bundles of $100 bills in his jet. He bought a custom-built 12-seater Gulfstream III after already owning another jet. While the name is the same as that of Magic Johnson’s Gulfstream III, the interior is quite different and pricey, for it has gold cup holders; a gold sink, faucet, drawers, and vents; white leather seats; and a fully stocked kitchen. With all the gold-laden modifications, the price of the jet remains up to your imagination.
8 Phil Mickelson: Gulfstream V
Carrying not nearly as extensive a profile as does Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, nonetheless, has contributed a lot to golf. With a net worth of $180 million, he owns a $6 million property and a $60 million private Gulfstream V jet, among other luxury collections. The Gulfstream V is a derivative of IV and a variant of the G550. Compared to the Gulfstream IV, V has a longer wingspan and fuselage, decreased weight restrictions, and increased distance capability. It can accommodate four crew members and 14 passengers. Phil is also a founder of the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation, which helps with providing support to other families. Between this and golf tournaments, he does right by traveling in the Gulfstream V to save time and make money in the long run.
7 Sergio Garcia: Hawker 4000
Here's another golfer on the list! The Spain-born golfer Sergio Garcia has won 31 international tournaments, including the 2008 Players Championship and the 2017 Masters Tournament. Over his career, he's earned more than $70 million. He owns a Hawker 4000 super-midsize business jet to travel. The carbon composite construction of the 4000 makes it more capacious compared to others in this super-midsize class. It costs $22 million and can seat 8-14 passengers. When not traveling in his Hawker 4000 for a tournament or a vacation, Garcia likes to ride his Mercedes DTM, a race car. Besides being a professional golf player, he also owns the third-division CF Borriol soccer team, in which he plays sometimes. Garcia is also a big fan of poker—he competes in the tournaments often. That's quite a profile!
6 Lewis Hamilton: Bombardier Challenger 605
Lewis Hamilton is a racing driver who races in Formula One. Regarded as the best driver of his generation, he currently races for Mercedes-Benz AMG and has won several World Championship titles. Along with being passionate about extremely fast vehicles on the ground, he likes being comfortable in the sky, for which he bought a private jet. The bright red Bombardier Challenger 605 is packed with two General Electric CF34-3B engines and a lavatory. The jet can accommodate up to 19 passengers and, with a top speed of 540 mph, can fly between continents. With all these accommodations and prowess, it's no surprise that the $25-million jet incurs a $4-million annual maintenance fee. But with a net worth of $240 million, Hamilton probably considers that amount trivial—he uses the jet for personal as well as professional trips.
5 Tiger Woods: Gulfstream G550
The Gulfstream G550 seems to be well liked by some of these powerful and successful athletes. Costing nearly $60 million and seating 18 passengers, Woods’s G550 can roam the sky for 7,500 miles nonstop—that’s like going to Shanghai from New York. With a lifetime earning of nearly $1.2 billion, his net worth was reported to be $740 million. Though some neck and back injuries and other personal problems have put a brake on his progress, he still made $45 million from endorsements last year. He also owns a luxury yacht, but that's more for family and fun rather than for traveling around the world for tournaments, meetings—such as for designing a golf course in Dubai in collaboration with Trump’s business—and the like.
4 David Beckham: Bombardier Learjet 70
Winning 19 significant trophies in his 20-year career, the English Soccer player’s net worth totals $50 million short of half a billion dollars. To ease his travel, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star bought a Bombardier Learjet 70. The light business jet has a price tag just north of $11 million. The jet, with a nonstop range of 2,348 miles, can easily maneuver a short runway and carry up to nine passengers and two crew members. In the past, Beckham used the jet for traveling to tournaments and visiting his family in the U.S.; now, he uses it for vacations and other events. Recently, he also invited a couple of other parents to his jet when flying to his and their children’s soccer tournament in Germany.
3 Cristiano Ronaldo: Gulfstream G200
The 32-year-old Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo is a prolific, renowned, and capable soccer god. Playing forward, he's accumulated around $400 million throughout his career. Ronaldo owns a Gulfstream private jet, which he bought for $21 million in 2015, to ease the physical demands of traveling to marketing trips, endorsement shoots, PR events, and practices. The fuselage and engines are beautiful; they provide a cruising speed of 540 mph. The interior is awesome, too; it seats eight to ten passengers, has two lavatory, wardrobes, a Wi-Fi, telephone, a fax, a microwave, and user-friendly infotainment systems. In addition to traveling to games, as a recent filmmaker of a piece about his own life and being designer of the CR7 Footwear, he can rest assured the investment will do him well in the future.
2 Michael Schumacher: Dassault Falcon 2000
Arguably the best Formula One driver, Schumacher has raced for companies like Jordan Grand Prix, Benetton, and Ferrari, winning seven Formula One World Championships. The former Formula One racer has an estimated net worth of $800 million! His medium of traveling—besides cars—is a Dassault Falcon 2000. Equipped with two turbofan engines, the jet has a cruise speed of around 528 mph. It accommodates eight to ten passengers and one to two crew members. At the height of his racing career, he used to fly the jet for 400 or so hours a year. He probably flew a lot to the private island gifted by the Prince of Dubai in that jet. However, in 2013, Schumacher was severely injured in a skiing accident. Ever since, he's remained and will remain an invalid, according to his doctors.
1 Magic Johnson: Gulfstream III
Magic Johnson owns a lot of expensive items, including a Gulfstream III, which is an improved variant of II. Johnson had a checkered history with basketball; he retired twice and joined back again before completely retiring the third time. While he only made $18 million in the 13 years that he played for the NBA, his current net worth is around half a billion dollars! The retired player is now a successful businessman, and guess what he travels in? A private Gulfstream III. With a cruising speed of 508 mph and a range of 4,200 miles, this midsize, two-engine jet can accommodate up to 14 passengers. He uses it for business trips and family vacations. Costing around $40 million, the interior has a lavatory with a shower, a conference room, and multiple workstations.