Twenty years ago, Dwayne Johnson was hoping to make a career as a football player—until a knee injury dashed those dreams.
Fast forward to 2016, though, and Johnson is the highest-paid actor in the world.
Talk about a change in fortune.
Johnson made the 2016 Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the highest-paid celebrities on the planet, coming in at No. 19—the first actor on the list. Johnson’s earnings amounted to $64 million, and that comes after a hugely successful 2015 that saw his films make $1.3 billion at the box office.
"The wolf is always scratchin' at the door" was the first thing I said when we found out from @forbes I was officially the world's highest paid actor. Well, actually the first thing I said was "Aw shit!", then I said the wolf part. Receiving news like this will always serve as my anchoring reminder to continue to work even harder. We not only want to "embrace the grind", but take the grind to new levels. I learned a few invaluable lessons a long time ago that can help all of you guys out there succeed at whatever it is you're doing. Greatness is never achieved alone. Surround yourself with hungry, brilliant individuals who not only buy into your philosophy, but who are all willing to work just as hard as you. Power of teamwork. And don't ever forget where you came from. I was evicted at 14yrs old and completely broke by 23. Every day I wake up as if that eviction notice is right around the corner waiting for me.. which is why I always say, "the wolf is always scratchin' at the door". He's scratchin' cause he's hungry and never satisfied. We embrace and respect our past (even if it was f*cked up), but we never let it define our future. Let's stay hungry and chase that greatness. I will now jump in my pick up truck, go to work and figure out whether or not I need psychiatric therapy for this damn wolf that's become my best friend. #Celeb100 #SevenBucksProductions #HardestWorkersInTheRoom #1WolfOnThePlanet
And here's the thing: The so-called “hardest-working man in Hollywood” will likely continue to rise on the list, if only because of all the projects he has coming up. Ballers season 2 premieres on HBO on July 17, Baywatch and Fast 8 will both be released in 2017, and other films like Jumanji and Doc Savage are also on the horizon.
Not bad for a guy who once made $250 a week as a practice squad player in the Canadian Football League.
Johnson’s co-star in Central Intelligence, Kevin Hart, also made the Forbes list, but his main source of revenue was listed as “comedy,” leaving Johnson to take the mantle as the highest-paid actor in the world.
Unsurprisingly, a number of athletes topped the list, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Roger Federer, Kevin Durant, Cam Newton, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and the recently retired Kobe Bryant.
Ronaldo, who led Portugal to its first major international tournament victory in the European Championships, is the highest-paid athlete in the world, landing fourth on the list with nearly $90 million in earnings. Messi ranked in the top 10 with $81 million, while “King” James came in as the highest-paid American athlete at $77 million.