Basketball players dominate the list (40%) followed by American football and football (soccer) players who make up almost 30% of the top earners.
While the magazine's annual ranking has "long been testosterone-heavy", Forbes senior editor Kurt Badenhausen wrote, at least one female athlete had always snagged a spot since the magazine expanded its list in 2010.
Salaries and prize money are up significantly, but endorsement earnings fell for the second straight year to $ 877 million as companies watch their sports marketing budgets.
Mayweather only boxed professionally once in 2017, defeating UFC star Conor McGregor via a 10 round technical knockout in an August clash.
USA boxer Floyd Mayweather came top of the list having reportedly earned $275m (£205m) for his boxing match against UFC star Conor McGregor last August alone.
From left: Former US boxer Floyd Mayweather, Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
England show their strengths and weaknesses against Nigeria
Southgate gave Everton's Jordan Pickford his third cap in Saturday's 2-1 friendly win over Nigeria at Wembley. Obviously there is a long way to go, but yeah, we've just got to do what we done today.
Forbes said tennis' female sportspersons Li Na, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams were list regulars but Li retired in 2014 and Sharapova is still dealing with the aftermath of a 15-month suspension for using a banned substance.
While McGregor came in at No. 4, his opponent, Floyd Mayweather, ended up at No. 1 overall with reported earnings at $285 million. Brazil global Neymar is the third football star in the top five.
There were four Boston-based athletes on the list, led by Irving at $36.1 million.
Two American football players make the top ten, coming in ninth and tenth. Roger Federer ($77.2m) 8.
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry was the only other National Basketball Association player to feature in the top 10, with earnings of $76.9 million.
Lewis Hamilton remained the highest paid British sports star on the list in the 12th place, with earnings of $51m (£38.2m).
But the most likely bet of an Australian earning a place in Forbes athletes rich list is basketballer Ben Simmons who in 2017 earned AU$14.35m at just 21 meaning he has time up his sleeve to get a few more big cheques under his belt.