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Famous athletes turned musicians. Which artists have been the most successful?

Several music stars started their careers in professional sports, but which artists have been the most successful?


A recent study used Spotify data to source the number of streams for each album, single and featured song appearance by the world’s most famous athletes turned musicians. The research then looked into estimated royalties made from Spotify streams for each athlete-turned-musician to reveal the highest earners.


The 10 Most Successful Athletes Turned Musicians:


Taking the top spot is Julio Iglesias with over 1.7 billion Spotify streams. The Spanish singer has performed over 5,000 concerts, for over 60 million people, but started his career as a professional footballer. Iglesias played for Real Madrid Castilla in the Segunda División until a serious car accident in 1963 left him unable to walk for two years. Discovering his musical talent while unable to play his sport, Iglesias switched football for music and the rest is history.


Damian Lillard takes second place with estimated royalties of over £347,000. While Lillard still plays in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks, he is also a hip-hop artist, under the name Dame D.O.L.L.A. The rapper has released four studio albums, amassing over 100 million streams on Spotify.


Rounding out the top three is John Cena with over 97.4 million Spotify streams. The WWE legend sang both of his two entrance themes, Basic Thugonomics and My Time Is Now, with the latter considered to be one of the most iconic WWE theme songs of all time.




Shaquille O' Neal


Kobe Bryant


John Daly


Manny Pacquiao


Deion Sanders


Oscar de la Hoya


Allen Iverson


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