Money Moves June 02, 2022 at 03:50 pm

LeBron James is a billionaire now

Mildred Europa Taylor | Head of Content

Mildred Europa Taylor June 02, 2022 at 03:50 pm

June 02, 2022 at 03:50 pm | Money Moves

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James smiles at a reporter's question early Thursday, June 9, 2016, after the Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 120-90 in Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) ORG XMIT: OHPS153

LeBron James now has an estimated net worth of $1 billion, making him the first active NBA player to become a billionaire, according to Forbes. Michael Jordan is the NBA’s only other billionaire, however, he did not reach that mark until 2014, years after the stopped playing in the NBA.

Forbes said that Los Angeles Lakers star James 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.

Born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio, James started playing basketball in his infancy. Basketball soon became a way of life for him and when he joined his elementary school basketball team, he excelled. His Nike endorsement deal came when he was only 18 years old. The basketball star’s partnership with Nike and his deals with brands like AT&T, PepsiCo and Walmart, made him the second-highest-earning athlete in the world last year.

But Forbes said the big reason for his billionaire status is that he has been more than just a pitchman. “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 instead 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 as well.”

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.

James has always wanted to be a billionaire. “It’s my biggest milestone,” he said to GQ in 2014. “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.”

Click here for a breakdown of the Lakers star’s estimated $1 billion fortune.

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