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.
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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.