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Athletes earn millions.

Boxer Tops List With $4 Million

MORE ARKANSANS EARN $1 million annually in athletics than in the corporate world.

According to Arkansas Business' first ranking of the state's highest paid athletes, 16 Arkansas earned $1 million or more in the last year.

In comparison, there were 11 executives of publicly traded Arkansas companies who earned at least $1 million last year, according to our executive compensation list on April 5.

Topping the list of affluent athletes is Tommy Morrison, the World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion. Morrison will earn an estimated $4 million this year, including $1.1 million for a fight on HBO Oct. 29 against Mike Bent. Morrison is a native of Decatur who later moved to Jay, Okla., and now fights out of Kansas City, Mo.

Morrison's biggest pay off was an estimated $2.5 million for his decision against George Foreman. For that bout, Morrison got $250,000 for his training expenses alone.

He also earned about $200,000 when he fought Carl "The Truth" Williams in January; $50,000 for a fight in March; and $150,000 for a fight on ESPN in August.

He could exceed $4 million in his first fight next year if everything falls into place. Next March, he is scheduled to fight Lennox Lewis, the World Boxing Council heavyweight champion, and could earn $3 million-$5 million.

'Big Time' Daly

Including endorsements, however, the best paid athlete on our list may be John Daly, the former University of Arkansas golfer and 1991 PGA champion. Kevin Scanlon, chief operating officer of Stephens Sports Management Inc., says he thinks Daly is definitely among the five highest paid Arkansas athletes, including endorsements.

"John Daly is big time," Scanlon says. "I have no idea how much he's making, but he's the king, the top endorser on this list. It's well into the seven figures,but I just don't exactly what it would be."

Some well-known golfers can earn $100,000 for four days in Japan, Scanlon says.

"John has something special," Scanlon says. "The long-driving reputation he has and he's very recognizable. Winning the PGA the way he won it |in 1991~ captured a lot of people's attention."

Scottie Pippen probably ranks just behind Daly in endorsement earnings. Pippen, who is from Hamburg and played at the University of Central Arkansas, was the eighth-highest paid player in the NBA last year, according to USA Today, with a salary of $3.425 million.

Two other Arkansas earned more than $3 million in 1993.

Kevin McReynolds, an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals, earns $3.667 million, according to USA Today.

Wayne Martin, a Cherry Valley native who played football for the Arkansas Razorbacks, signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints this year that will earn him $3.5 million.

Athletes whose pay should increase significantly next year because of new contracts include Oliver Miller of the Phoenix Suns, Lee Mayberry of the Milwaukee Bucks, Steve Atwater of the Denver Broncos, Cortez Kennedy of the Seattle Seahawks and Barry Foster of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The only woman on the list is Wendy Scholtens, a 6-foot-3 center who played at Fort Smith Southside High School and Vanderbilt University. She now plays in the Italian Basketball Federation. One informed source says a center of Scholtens' quality makes $75,000-$125,000 in Italy.

At least two others could be on the list -- track stars Mike Conley and Joe Falcon, who both competed at the University of Arkansas.

One estimate on the earnings for Conley, who won the Olympic gold medal in the triple jump in 1992, was $400,000 this year, but that could not be confirmed. Neither could an estimate of $100,000-$150,000 for Falcon.
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Author:Smith, David (American novelist)
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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