Forward, Miami Heat
Rank change: New
How many people can stop the pulse of a country? James's primetime signing with Miami this summer was slammed as a publicity stunt, but his brand emerged unscathed. It was the latest marketing bonanza seeded by his own company, LRMR, which James and high school friends have built over four years. LRMR has brokered James's deals with McDonald's and State Farm; a Sports Illustrated tally ranks him No. 4 on its list of top-grossing athletes, with an estimated $42.4 million this year.
Off-season sport: James was spotted golfing with Warren Buffett last summer.
NEXT: 21. Ryan Kavanaugh
Last updated October 14 2010: 1:25 PM ET