Tiger Woods and Lebron James have been named among the ‘new sports billionaires in the world’ on Forbes’ billionaire list. Others include Toto Wolff, Jessica Steinbrenner, Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, Hal Steinbrenner, Irving Grousbeck, Amy Adams Strunk, Mark Davis, David Blitzer, Larry Tanenbaum and Robert “Woody” Johnson.
According to Forbes, the NBA superstar made the list with a net worth of $1 billion, while Woods made his entry onto the list with a net worth of $1.1 billion.
With both sports legends in the spotlight, here are highlights of how both athletes attained their billion-dollar status.
Tiger Woods went from grace to grass and made a rebound, claiming his spot as a leading golf player in the world. He earned $2.1 billion from his career and also benefited from a longtime Nike partnership.
However, Woods saw his career take a hit following a publicized divorce due to infidelity, losing multiple endorsement deals as a result, having a few run-ins with the law, and enduring a string of injuries.
The athlete, however, managed to put his past behind him and proved his doubters wrong. Described as one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history, the 47-year-old won his fifth Masters title at the Augusta National in 2019, making it his first major victory after 11 years.
Woods’ historic win was lauded on social media by Barack Obama, President Donald Trump, Lebron James, Serena Williams, and longtime partner, Nike, which stood by him throughout his tumultuous years, among others.
LeBron James is the first active NBA player to become a billionaire, according to Forbes. Though all-time basketball legend, Michael Jordan, is currently the NBA’s only other billionaire, he did not reach that mark until 2014, years after he retired from the NBA.
Forbes also notes that the Los Angeles Lakers star has “maximized his business,” to more than $1.2 billion in pretax earnings. “He has commanded more than $385 million in salary from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, as the NBA’s highest-paid active player. Off the court, he has raked in upwards of $900 million in income from endorsements and other business ventures,” Forbes wrote.
However, he owes his billionaire status to his major streams of income beyond the basketball court. “James has long structured deals to give him equity in brands he partners with, giving him a cut of the upside instead of a quick paycheck.
In 2015, James walked away from an endorsement agreement with McDonald’s, worth an estimated $15 million over four years, to gamble on the fast-growing Blaze Pizza chain, where he’s an investor. He’s taken equity in brands like smart gym-maker, Tonal, and rideshare giant, Lyft.”
The four-time NBA champion is also behind TV and movie studio, SpringHill Entertainment, which helped produce “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” a movie he starred in, which earned $163 million in box office receipts worldwide.