Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol Among Sports Illustrated's Top-Earning Athletes

Sports Illustrated released its list of the top-earning American athletes on Thursday, a ranking of all athletes by their money made in 2011 via both salary and endorsements. Kobe Bryant has been a staple on these lists for some time, which is understandable since he has made nearly $200 million in his 15-year career. Bryant is the highest-ranking local athlete on this list, checking in at sixth, up from seventh last year.

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Bryant made a total of $34,806,250 in 2011, which includes an even $10 million from endorsements. Pau Gasol came in at number 17 on the international list, with just over $20.8 million total. In case you were wondering, Orlando center Dwight Howard is number 10 at just over $28.6 million. Howard made $12 million in endorsements, even more than Kobe. Just imagine how much he could make in Los Angeles.

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A pair of Angels are on the list as well, with Vernon Wells ($23 million salary) and Torii Hunter ($18 million salary) making an expensive outfield duo. Wells and Hunter have combined to hit .212/.277/.347 this season, but at least they have been better than Scott Kazmir, who was released Wednesday with more than $9.4 million in guaranteed money left on his contract. In 35 starts as an Angel dating back to 2009, Kazmir was 11-17 with a 5.31 ERA.

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