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THE 2008 FORTUNATE 50
21
Michael Finley
San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 19
$21,698,750
$500,000
$22,198,750

The only active player who's still under the same contract from 2005's "amnesty clause," Finley earned $18.6 million this season from the Mavericks in addition to $3.1 million from the Spurs.

22
Dwight Howard
Orlando Magic (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: NR
$6,061,273
$15,500,000
$21,561,273

Howard makes his debut thanks to a heavy bonus from his multi-year deal with Adidas; his salary jumps to $13 million next season, the first of his five-year, $85 million extension.

23
Jason Giambi
New York Yankees (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 19
$21,000,000
$500,000
$21,500,000

So was he worth all that dough? Giambi, in the final year of his $120 million deal with the Yanks, has never matched his 2000 AL MVP numbers during his seven seasons in pinstripes.

24
Jason Kidd
Dallas Mavericks (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 25
$19,728,000
$1,500,000
$21,228,000

Re-acquiring the All-Star point guard gave Mark Cuban the highest payroll in the NBA this past season ($105 million) and puts him on the hook for Kidd's $21.4 million salary next year.

25
Stephon Marbury
New York Knicks (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 26
$19,012,500
$2,000,000
$21,012,500

The honeymoon between Steph and his hometown team is long over, but he's a huge asset as a tradeable, expiring contract next season, the last of his four-year, $77 million deal.

26
JaMarcus Russell
Oakland Raiders (NFL)
Last Year's Rank: NR
$20,275,000
$600,000
$20,875,000

Besides that fat $19.9 million bonus check he got in March, Russell can earn as much as $30 million more in incentive bonuses over his six-year deal for taking most of the Raiders' snaps.

27
Jermaine O'Neal
Indiana Pacers (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 27
$19,728,000
$750,000
$20,478,000

The Pacers All-Star bought a $3.6 million home just outside Las Vegas so he could be close to the Abunassar Impact Basketball facility, where he's been rehabbing his injured left knee.

28
Torii Hunter
Los Angeles Angels (MLB)
Last Year's Rank: NR
$18,500,000
$500,000
$19,000,000

Hunter rejected offers from the White Sox, Rangers and Royals last November in favor of the Angels' monstrous proposal, the most lucrative he received: five years for $90 million.

29
Baron Davis
Golden State Warriors (NBA)
Last Year's Rank: 32
$16,440,000
$2,500,000
$18,940,000

A budding independent-film producer, Davis reportedly may opt out of the final year of his six-year, $84 million deal to become a free agent; he'd be leaving $17.8 million on the table.

30
Jimmie Johnson
Auto Racing
Last Year's Rank: 31
$15,663,920
$3,000,000
$18,663,920

The back-to-back Nextel Cup champion collected a points-fund award of $7.3 million on top of his '07 on-track winnings; he's earned nearly $60 million during his eight-year NASCAR career.

1 2 3 4 5
Sources: salaries, winnings and bonus figures from players' associations, tour records, agents and news reports. Endorsement estimates from Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, other sports-marketing executives and analysts, and agents. Salaries based on current or most recently completed seasons (exception: 2008 for NFL). For winnings-based sports (auto racing, golf, tennis), 2007 calendar year amounts used.
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