Pique, Lloris, Norris: Athletes who were rich before they made it in sport

  • Kobe Tong

Lando Norris is one of the most exciting young drivers in Formula 1.

With 61 race starts and five podium finishes to his name at 22 years old, the McLaren driver is destined for big things in motor racing’s blue riband division.

Norris has put in the hard graft to move up through karting, Formula 3, Formula 2 and beyond at such a young age, proving himself as one of the drivers with the highest ceilings on the grid.

Lando Norris and Adam Norris

And as you might already know, the F1 prodigy was born into wealthy circumstances with his father, Adam Norris, ranking amongst some of the richest individuals in the United Kingdom.

Norris Senior placed in 18th position on the Bristol Rich List 2016 with a personal fortune estimated at £205 million having retired from his position as managing director of Pensions Direct at age 36.

And during Norris Junior’s fascinating appearance on the High Performance Podcast, he reflected on how growing up in the situation that he did both informed him as a person as well as a F1 driver.

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Who won the opening race of the 2021 season, held in Bahrain?

Norris on his privileged background

When asked about his privileged background, Norris replied: “There’s obviously so many nice things which obviously come with that. And I’m lucky and thankful to be in the position that I’ve been in with my dad doing so well and so on.

“And that’s led on to me having and being given many good opportunities to always be with a good team, to have a manager and a trainer since I was 12, 13 years old.

“But I think the one thing is that my mom and dad have done very well, I would say, is keep me grounded and kind of realise or live the life, let’s say, as normally as possible, not get carried away in any way.

Read more: The High Performance Podcast hub

“I’m definitely, I can say I’m privileged, but not in the way that I get whatever I want. I get nice cars from my dad and all of this stuff. There’s many things which my dad has given to me and I say invested in me, but it’s the investment, not a given.

“Then I need to pay back that investment and reward him and use what he’s given me to show it’s all been useful and not a waste of time. So I think just my parents have been very good at keeping me in that state.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 19, 2022 McLaren’s Lando Norris during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Sportspeople growing up in wealth

Now, at the expense of stating the obvious, nobody chooses the circumstances that they’re born into and growing up in a privileged environment doesn’t mean that everything is sunshine and rainbows.

By the same token, athletes like Norris who have grown up with a wealthy background still need to have the work ethic and focus to succeed even if they might have an element of material advantage.

Besides, the McLaren star is by no means alone in the sporting annals when it comes to athletes who have stood up on their own two feet on the back of being raised amongst money.

While it might be the case for some individuals with sporting aspirations that their formative years were too cushy to breed success, that accusation certainly can’t be lodged against Norris and many others.

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 12, 2022 McLaren’s Lando Norris arrives before testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

11 athletes who were rich before making it in sport

Therefore, here at GIVEMESPORT, we decided to take a closer look at the phenomena by walking through 11 athletes who, like Norris, were rich before they made it in sport. Check them out below:

Note: Information collected via Yahoo! Finance unless stated otherwise.

1. Steph Curry

One of the greatest shooters in NBA history, Curry grew up as the son of Dell Curry, who played at the highest level of basketball between 1986 and 2002 for franchises such as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.

With Celebrity Net Worth valuing Curry Senior at $8 million, there’s good reason to think that Steph, as well as his younger brother Seth, wasn’t struggling for money in the same way as some of his peers.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 14: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after he missed a basket against the Washington Wizards at Chase Center on March 14, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

2. Hugo Lloris

Once upon a time, it looked as though Lloris would use his brilliant hand-eye-coordination in the world of tennis with the Mirror reporting that he was one of France’s finest young players during his upbringing in the south of France.

His father, Luc, is a rich and successful merchant banker and international law specialist based in Monaco, while his mother was a lawyer.

3. Mike Piazza

With 15 years in Major League Baseball, the 12-time All Star made a pretty penny from winning the Silver Slug Award on 10 occasions and nailing down a place in the New York Mets Hall of Fame.

However, Mike’s fortune still doesn’t match up to that of his father, Vince, who rose from a high-school dropout to turning one single used-car lot into a $100 million auto, real estate and computers empire.

10 Jun 1994: Mike Piazza of the Los Angeles Dodgers during their 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

4. Gerard Piqué

A World Cup, Champions League, Premier League, Euros and La Liga-winning juggernaut, Pique will rightfully go down as one of the greatest defenders of the 21st century.

His father, Joan, is a successful businessman; his mother, Montserrat, was the director of a hospital for spinal injuries and his grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, was once the vice-president of Barcelona.

5. Kobe Bryant

The late great himself followed in the footsteps of his father, Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant, when he made it in the NBA, going down as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time with the LA Lakers.

Bryant Senior played in the NBA for the 76ers, the Clippers and the Rockets, before eventually moving the family, including Kobe, to Italy. He now has a reported net worth of $5 million.

Olympics – London 2012 Olympic Games – North Greenwich Arena – 12/8/12 Basketball – Men’s Basketball Gold Medal Game – USA v Spain – USA’s Kobe Bryant celebrates with his gold medal Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Childs Livepic PLEASE NOTE: FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Like Norris, Earnhardt Jr. came into the world of motor racing with a comfortable upbringing due to the legendary NASCAR career of his father, Dale, who earned almost $43 million from his time in the sport.

Sadly, Dale passed away on the last lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001 during a terrifying crash, but his son has gone on to do him incredibly proud as one of the most accomplished racing drivers of all time.

7. Faiq Bolkiah

The so-called ‘world’s richest footballer’ might just be the most lucrative example on the list with his uncle, the Sultan of Brunei, reported to be worth a mind-boggling $20 billion.

Marca claimed that his father, Jefri Bolkiah, owned 2,300 cars with British sources saying that he spent in the region of €14 million for a 50th birthday party at which Michael Jackson performed.

Bolkiah played in the youth set-ups at Southampton, Chelsea and Leicester, has been capped six times for his country and has played football with his pet tiger… obviously. Find out more about him here.

28th SEA Games Singapore 2015 – Bishan Stadium, Singapore – 31/5/15 Football – Brunei v Laos – First Round – Brunei’s Faiq Jefri Bolkiah, nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, before the game SEAGAMES28 Mandatory Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images via Reuters

8. Peyton and Eli Manning

Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call an elite sporting family. Eli and Peyton are both two-time Super Bowl champions who will go down in history as iconic quarterbacks of their era.

And they also happen to be the sons of NFL legend Archie Manning – currently touted to have a net worth of $10 million – who was named in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame after more than 10 years in the ‘Big Easy’.

9. Zara Tindall

The 2006 BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner is none other than a member of the British Royal Family, following in the footsteps of her mother, Princess Anne, by competing in equestrian sports.

Currently 21st in line for the British throne, the Queen’s eldest granddaughter won an Olympic silver medal at London 2012 and married Rugby World Cup winner Mike Tindall the previous year.

Olympics – Team GB – London 2012 Victory Parade – London – 10/9/12 Great Britain’s Zara Phillips and Carl Hester (L) during the parade Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Jed Leicester Livepic PLEASE NOTE: FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY

10. Gianluca Vialli

According to the Guardian, Vialli grew up as the son of a self-made millionaire, living with his four siblings in the 60-room Castello di Belgioioso in Cremona. And yes, ‘Castello’ means castle in English.

The legendary Italian striker went on to play 59 times for his country, win the Champions League with Juventus and coach Chelsea to five trophies in two and a half years.

11. Tara Lipinski

Lipinski became the youngest athlete to ever win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics when she won the 1998 Ladies Singles’ title for figure skating at just 15 years old.

The American star also happened to be the daughter of Jack Lipinski, who was a wealthy and powerful oil executive in Texas. He retired from petroleum giants CVR Energy in 2017.

Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Tara Lipinski looks up at the Olympic Flame as she runs with the Olympic Torch during the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay in Houston, Texas, December 10, 2001. REUTERS/POOL/Joe Polimeni JP

Making the most of your circumstances

It just goes to show that success can thrive and grow from any number of situations with these 11 athletes standing out as just some of the sportspeople who used their wealthy upbringing as a springboard.

It’s unavoidable that the way we’re brought up and how fortunate we are financially has an effect on who we are as people, but it’s what we do with our circumstances as individuals that really counts.

None of these athletes chose to be born into a wealthy environment that could, in some ways, have set them up to fail, but they have nevertheless made a name for themselves within sport in their own unique ways.

Formula One F1 – Young Driver Test – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 14, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris reacts during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Have they had it easier in many ways? Almost certainly, but have they still had to work damn hard? You betcha.

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