: 11.5 Sport
: hockey (center) Highest salary
: $11.32 million (1997) Average player salary
: $984,000 (1997)
Mario Lemieux is considered by many to be the second-greatest hockey player of all time, trailing only Wayne Gretzky. Despite a career plagued by health problems–including a fight with cancer and chronic back injuries–and an early retirement, he finished #3 in goals/game, #7 in all time points, #9 in goals, and #10 in assists. He was the rookie of the year, won 5 MVP awards, skated in 10 All-Star games, and led the Pittsburgh Penguins to their first two Stanley Cups. Upon his first retirement after the 1996-97 season, he was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and became the 3rd player ever to play after being inducted when he returned to the ice in 2000. In 1992, having led the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, Lemieux signed a 7-year, $42 million contract, which would pay him over $11 million in the 1996-97 season.
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) More From 24/7 Wall St.: Seven Pro Teams on the Brink of Collapse Most Valuable Stadiums in America The Major League Teams Americans Bet On The Most The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.