Athletes Who Were Born Filthy Rich

Rooting for athletes who start from nothing to achieve fame and fortune is practically an American pastime. Who doesn't love a good underdog story, after all? But not all sports stars worked their way up from poor beginnings to superstardom. Some athletes were actually born pretty well off — and having money to fall back on isn't a bad way to pursue sports careers.

Many celebrity athletes born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths have gone on to cement impressive legacies. Just as Kristen Stewart and Miley Cyrus were financially sound before their journey into the entertainment industry, these sports stars were already living comfortably before their days on the basketball court or football field. From an unlikely Super Bowl MVP to an NBA legend with two retired jerseys hanging from the rafters in the Staples Center, let's take a timeout and review some athletes who were born filthy rich.

Nick Foles

Destined to be a career backup until his Super Bowl run with the Philadelphia Eagles, Nick Foles scored a hefty new contract in 2018. But despite his sizable career earnings, the Super Bowl MVP quarterback still only manages to be the second-richest person in his family.

The richest? His father, Larry Foles, founder and owner of Eddie V's Restaurants, Inc. In 2011, per the Phoenix Business Journal, the elder Foles sold his company to Darden Restaurants Inc. for a whopping $59 million. Yep, Darden Restaurants, who own such brands as Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze, Olive Garden, and Longhorn Steakhouse, are now the proud owners of "Eddie V's Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille restaurants."

At the time of this writing, Nick Foles' career NFL earnings total $22.8 million. Given his family's wealth, his father could pay him the same to play catch in the backyard and still have over $36 million left over. 

Laila Ali

Growing up in the shadow of your successful parents can prove tough for some, but, when your father is a cultural icon and arguably the greatest boxer of all time, it becomes exponentially more difficult. Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, was born three years after her father's legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight championship match against a young George Foreman. Muhammad Ali's net worth was estimated to be $80 million before his death in 2016.

Laila Ali became a boxer in her own right in 1999, retiring with a 24-0 record, which included 21 knockouts, in 2007. Talent in the ring must be in her blood, because, during her first professional bout, Ali knocked out April Fowler 31 seconds into the first round. Per Biography, Ali received the title of Super Middleweight Champion in 2002 and earned the International Women's Boxing Federation's Light Heavyweight title in 2004. Ali went on to become a television personality and secure a net worth of $10 million

Grant Hill

If you're a college basketball fan, you've heard the phrase "Anybody But Duke." With a history of recruiting players like Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, J.J. Redick, and Grayson Allen, Duke is hated by basketball fans for what appears to be the college's sense of superiority. Somewhat ironically, most of Duke's most hated players come from poor or middle class backgrounds. But one of Duke's most universally beloved players, Grant Hill, does not.

His father, Calvin Hill, was an All-Pro player for the Dallas Cowboys. His mother, Janet Hill, is a successful attorney and a former classmate of Hillary Clinton during her days at Wellesley College. But although Grant grew up around fame and wealth, it made him uncomfortable. "I've always just wanted to blend in and be like everybody else," Hill, who went on to play for the Detroit Pistons and the Orlando Magic, told Sporting News (per JRank). "I didn't want anybody, especially my friends, thinking I was better than them. I just wanted to be a down-to-earth guy and have my own identity."

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Known as "The Intimidator," Dale Earnhardt racked up seven titles and 76 Cup wins before his untimely death in 2001. Considered one of the greatest race car drivers of all time, Earnhardt amassed over $30 million over the course of his career, and he left behind a $70 million estate to his children after his passing.

Though he grew up rich, Earnhardt's youngest son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., has become one of the richest NASCAR drivers in history. Earnhardt Jr. retired in 2017 after nearly 20 years behind the wheel, but not before walking away with an estimated net worth of $400 million. According to Alt Driver, Earnhardt Jr. made "$23.5 million in earnings" in 2016 alone. His earnings were due in no small part to Budweiser, who'd sponsored him for $1 million per race for eight years!

Earnhardt Jr. might have been born without ever having to worry about money, but he's afforded generations of his family the same luxury.

Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall

Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall is the only daughter of Princess Anne and the second-eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II. Needless to say, she was born filthy rich. She's also an Olympic medalist, having taken home the silver as part of the British Equestrian team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Her equestrian talent must run in the family, as her mother competed in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

"We wanted the gold but to get an Olympic medal is incredible anyway ... when you get one of these put round your neck you realize everything was worth it," Tindall told The Telegraph

Considering the price of horse ownership (Money Crashers states that the average annual cost is $3,876 per horse), and the additional cash it takes to train for an equestrian team, there's no doubt that Tindall's family's wealth contributed significantly to her Olympic success. 

Johnny Manziel

Due to his penchant for hard partying and his repeated issues off the field, Johnny Manziel's NFL career lasted just two seasons. But if you're worried that he might die penniless, don't be. The athlete's parents are absolutely loaded.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Paul and Michelle Manziel are reportedly worth a cool $50 million of Texas oil money. While a player at Texas A&M, Manziel drove a Mercedes-Benz and scored highly coveted seats at the NBA Finals. When asked by a Twitter follower where he was getting all this money from, Manziel replied, "My family." Hey, at least he's honest.

After Manziel lost out on $2 million after being cut by the Cleveland Browns, he continued to burn through money because he knows it will never run out. Per CBS Sports, Manziel was dropping "$25,000 per night" for a hotel room in Vegas. How did he get to Sin City? Well, if you're familiar with his Instagram at all, you'd know it was probably by private jet. We're guessing it belongs to his parents. 

Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant retired in 2016 after an illustrious 20-year professional basketball career that included five NBA championships, 18 All-Star appearances, and 33,643 points (more than Michael Jordan). Known as "The Black Mamba" for his agility and aggressiveness, Bryant is considered one of the greatest basketball players to hit the hardwood.

But his hoop dreams didn't start in America; they started in Italy when he was six, when his father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, played professionally overseas after retiring from the NBA in 1983. Kobe spent much of his childhood in Italy — he speaks fluent Italian — watching his father play pro basketball, giving him an early advantage over his peers.

However, much like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kobe emerged from his father's shadow and created an even greater legacy. Per Forbes, his career earnings topped $770 million, making him "the highest-paid athlete in the history of team sports."