By Colleen Kane
It's no secret that the top professional athletes are among the highest-paid people anywhere. When those prizes or multimillion-dollar contracts start rolling in, one of the first investments that athletes often make is a conspicuously lavish car costing an amount that would take one of their typical fans years to earn.
This "first prize" on four wheels is often followed by a second car, and a third, and so on. Numerous websites are dedicated to documenting the comings and goings of celebrities' garages, and no small portion of this coverage is made up of professional athletes.
|Slideshow: Favorite cars of athletes|
When it comes to favorite makes and models of such cars, for athletes the name of the game is luxury and status. To a lesser extent, detailing and customization often play a role, including dramatic wheel hub treatments and custom trimmings. Another favorite car option for athletes is to completely refurbish a classic vintage vehicle.
The following collection of vehicles of vehicles encompasses the cars most often seen being driven by stars from football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, swimming, skateboarding, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Olympic swimming medalist Michael Phelps drives a MBZ SL63. Mercedes is also a popular maker with basketball players like Dwyane Wade, who drives an SLR McLaren with gull-wing doors, LeBron James, who drives an S63 AMG, Brandon Rush who has an S550, and Stephen Curry who has a G55 SUV.
Click here for complete slideshow to see nine lavishly appointed favorites, plus one vehicle that's much more rough and tough-like the athletes themselves.
-- Check out Sports Biz with Darren Rovell.