Editor’s note: This summer, Star columnist Greg Hansen is counting down the top 10 of just about everything related to Tucson sports.
Today’s list: The top 10 wealthiest athletes from Tucson and the UA:
Jim Furyk has won 17 PGA Tour events, including the U.S. Open and a $10-million check for winning the 2010 FedEx Cup. But Furyk isn’t even close to the highest-paid athlete from Tucson and the UA.
His official PGA Tour earnings are $68 million. That ranks a distant No. 8 among Tucson’s pro athletes.
Annika Sorenstam was eight times the LPGA player of the year, winner of 10 majors and 72 LGPA events. She was paid $22.6 million by the LPGA, which means the former UA All-American made less in pure tour earnings than bench-riding NBA center Jordan Hill ($28.2 million) since he left Arizona.
The quickest path to riches in pro sports is the NBA.
Put it this way, former Canyon del Oro second baseman Ian Kinsler is a four-time All-Star who has been paid $92.1 million for Detroit and Texas — and yet he doesn’t approach the career earnings of six former Arizona basketball players.
J.J. Hardy, a Sabino High grad, a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, has been paid $78.3 million. He is owed another $14 million by the Baltimore Orioles next year.
But he can’t touch Andre Iguodala, who was a one-year starter at Arizona, who didn’t average more than 12.9 points a game as a Wildcat.
Iguodala, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, has been paid $121.3 million and is a free agent for 2017-18. If he is successful in signing a final contract, maybe three-years for $30 million, Iguodala will merely be the second-highest paid UA/Tucson athlete in history.
What about New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, you say? Gronk’s official earnings, listed as with all others on this list by sports-reference,com, is $30.5 million. And he’s the acknowledged best in the game at his position.
Momma, if you’re going to let your babies grow up to be ballplayers, make it the NBA.
Here’s the list of Tucson/UA’s 10-highest paid athletes: