National Basketball Association (NBA) legend LeBron James just added another record to his illustrious career. He is now the first active NBA player to become a billionaire, as per Forbes’ estimates.
According to the magazine, the earnings of the sports icon between May 2021 and May 2022 amounted to USD 121.2 million, which he made on- and off-court. This helped him reach the milestone of USD 1 billion.
Here’s how LeBron James made his wealth to become a billionaire
Earnings off the court
James, who plays for Los Angeles Lakers, is an 18-time NBA all-star and four-time NBA champion. He is also a two-time Olympic gold medallist for the US.
According to Forbes, James “maximised his business” to over USD 1.2 billion in pretax earnings. His salary from the three teams he has played for in the past 19 years of his career has amounted to more than USD 385 million.
Forbes estimates he has also earned over USD 900 million from business ventures and endorsements with brands such as Nike, PepsiCo, Walmart and AT&T.
The magazine notes that “James has long structured deals to give him equity in brands he partners with.” This has translated into his success with businesses such as Blaze Pizza chain, smart gym-maker Tonal and rideshare giant Lyft.
His business ventures include The Spring Hill Company, a group that includes SpringHill Entertainment, the athlete platform Uninterrupted and the marketing agency Robot Company.
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SpringHill Entertainment produced the film Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), starring James. The film earned USD 163 million at the worldwide box office.
A long, cherished dream
“If it happens. It’s my biggest milestone,” James told GQ in 2014 about his billionaire dreams.
“Obviously. I want to maximize my business. And if I happen to get it, if I happen to be a billion-dollar athlete, ho. Hip hip hooray! Oh, my God, I’m gonna be excited,” he added.
James is only the second NBA player on the billionaire list. Michael Jordan, who was the first, became a billionaire in 2014, over a decade after his retirement.
(Main and Featured images: LeBron James/@kingjames/Instagram)