Based on Forbes Magazine‘s list of “The Top-Earning Young Superstars under 25,” there are apparently two groups of highest paid youngsters today: the Athletes and the Showbiz Celebrities.
In the Forbes’ Top 20 list released this month, five are athletes while the rest are actors or singers.
LeBron James, 23, of NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers currently tops the list, thanks to the $27 million he earned from June 2006 to June 2007. Other sports personalities on the list include 22-year-old footballer Reggie Bush (#2) and 20-year-old tennis player Maria Sharapova (#3).
Harry Potter’s magic worked for its three main celebrities, with lead star Daniel Radcliffe, 18, pocketing $15 million, landing him on the #6 spot. Co-stars Emma Watson (#15) and Rupert Grint (#16) had $4 million apiece.
The Forbes list calculated salaries, winnings, endorsement deals and royalties of each young star earned from June 2006 to June 2007.
The Top-Earning Young Superstars
#1. LeBron James, $27 million
Born: Dec. 30, 1984
NBA’s All-Star MVP and Rookie of the Year LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first conference title ever this year. When not on the court, King James oversees construction of his 35,000-square-foot home outside of Cleveland, which includes a bowling alley, casino and barber shop. This year he also acquired a minority stake in Cannondale, manufacturer of high-performance bicycles.
#2. Reggie Bush, $24 million
Born: March 2, 1985
Bush entered the NFL last year with a Heisman Trophy and a scintillating game that had companies lining up to have him sponsor their products. He now has deals with Adidas, Subway, Pepsi and EA Sports that net him $5 million annually. His big money comes from his contract with the New Orleans Saints, spanning six years and worth as much as $62 million.
#3. Maria Sharapova, $23 million
Born: April 19, 1987
Sharapova struggled with injuries in 2007, winning only one tournament and banking $1.7 million, down from five tourney wins and $3.8 million in prize money in 2006. But she earned more in endorsement deals this year, adding This year she added Pepsi as a sponsor to an already impressive roster that includes Nike, Canon, Colgate-Palmolive and Motorola to her portfolio.
#4. Michelle Wie, $19 million
Born: Oct. 11, 1989
Wie showed incredible promise in 2006, finishing in the top five in three of the four Grand Slam events. The only other golfer to do that: Tiger Woods.
#5. Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen, $17 million each
Born: June 13, 1986
The petite twins lord over Dualstar, the largest star-driven ‘tween merchandising empire on the planet outside of Disney. Mary-Kate and Ashley merchandise retails at Wal-Mart; their new high-end Elizabeth & James sportswear is available at Neiman Marcus.
#6. Daniel Radcliffe, $15 million
Born: July 23, 1989
Better known as the title character of the Harry Potter film franchise, Radcliffe generated a media frenzy this year after he appeared onstage nude in a West End revival of Equus. The actor was offered a reported $145,000 for The Sorcerer’s Stone six years ago. His most recent role earned an estimated $14 million.
#7. Hilary Duff, $12 million
Born: Sept. 28, 1987
Her Stuff by Hilary Duff line of apparel and accessories is sold at Kohl’s, Target and Claire’s. Duff also licenses her name to footwear company Candie’s and Electronic Arts, which made her a character in the Sims videogame franchise.
#8. Avril Lavigne, $12 million
Born: Sept. 27, 1984
The decidedly less-sullen Canadian songstress released her third album, The Best Damn Thing, in April; to date the Billboard-topping album has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
#9. Carmelo Anthony, $10 million
Born: May 29, 1984
This year Anthony kicked off a five-year, $80 million contract with the Denver Nuggets. He also has a six-year contract with Nike which he signed in 2003, earning him $3 million annually.
#10. Keira Knightley, $9 million
Born: March 26, 1985
Knightley became a bona fide star via the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. She earned $5 million for her role in the third installment, At World’s End.
11. Carrie Underwood, $7 million – Born: March 10, 1983
12. Scarlett Johansson, $5 million – Born: Nov. 22, 1984
13. Mischa Barton, $4.5 million – Born: Jan. 24, 1986
14. Dakota Fanning, $4 million – Born: Feb. 23, 1994
15. Emma Watson, $4 million – Born: Aug. 24, 1988
16. Rupert Grint, $4 million – Born: Aug. 24, 1988
17. Miley Cyrus, $3.5 million – Born: Nov. 23, 1992
18. Lindsay Lohan, $3.5 million – Born: July 2, 1986
19. Mandy Moore, $3.5 million – Born: April 10, 1984
20. Frankie Muniz, $3 million – Born: Dec. 5, 1985