A pro athlete isn’t born overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance to become successful. It also requires a considerable amount of support from their family, friends, coaches, and their entire community.
Athletes are aware of this. That’s why each year professionals give something back to the most vulnerable social groups to improve the global community. And when it comes to helping others, these five pro athletes are the most charitable in the world.
- Cristiano Ronaldo – CR7
At the age of 33, CR7 one again made headlines this summer by making the switch from Real Madrid to Juventus after nine years in Spain. But besides being one of the greatest players in soccer history, he is also an active philanthropist.
Over the course of his career, Ronaldo has donated tens of millions of dollars to various local, health, welfare and environmental charities across the world. Among the most significant contributions was the $5 million he donated to Nepal after the 2015 earthquake; over $1.7 million to fund schools in Gaza, and the $680,000 to various NGOs in one day.
- Serena Williams
Serena Williams is one of the best female tennis players of all time, and one of the most charitable athletes. Among her countless Grand Slam and WTA trophies and titles, she has also received many awards for her charity work. Her accolades include Celebrity Role Model Award by the Avon Foundation for work in fighting breast cancer.
Through the work of the Serena Williams Foundation, she has funded the construction of a Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya; raised funds for the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador since 2011.
- LeBron James
The best basketball player in the world also has a global reputation for his charity work. After leaving Cleveland for Miami in 2010, James raised over $3 million to fund boys and girls basketball clubs across the US. However, one of his most significant achievements comes from the LeBron James Family Foundation which he established. The foundation improves the lives of children through education. In 2015, the charity spent $41 million funding students from Akron to attend college for free.
- John Cena
Although he might seem like a tough guy, the WWE wrestler is one of the most charitable athletes on the planet. Until now, John Cena has granted over 500 wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He has also been a significant voice when it comes to raising awareness for cancer and anti-bullying campaigns, most notably during his WrestleMania XXVIII when he wore “Rise Above Cancer” and “Rise Above Hate” T-shirts.
- J. J. Watt
One of the most charitable players in the NFL, J.J. Watt has raised millions in funds that have helped various individuals and organizations across America. His most significant contribution came in 2017 when he helped to raise $37 million to help Houston recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Additionally, he has helped raise funds for schools across the continental United States, and after the Santa Fe High School shooting, he even offered to pay for the funerals of the victims.