Fenway Sports Group, which is backed by basketball star LeBron James, has acquired the controlling interest of the Pittsburgh-based NHL team Pittsburgh Penguins. The purchase is subject to the approval of the NHL Board of Governors and is projected to be sealed before the end of 2021.
The purchase adds to James’ ownership portfolio, which also includes stakes in the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing.
“I think for me and for my partner, Maverick, to be the first two Black men to be a part of that ownership group in the history of that franchise, I think it’s pretty damn cool,” James said about the deal, according to sportskeeda.
He added: “It gives me and people that look like me hope and inspiration that they can be in a position like that as well, that it can be done. It gives my kids at my I Promise School more and more inspiration as well.”
James recently became the first active NBA player to hit billionaire status, joining a handful of sports athletes who have earned $1 billion while still active. They include Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Roger Federer.
In his first 10 seasons in the NBA, James earned over $126 million in salary and $326 million from endorsements, thus taking his total earnings within the period to $452 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
The NBA star has endorsement deals from companies such as McDonald’s, Microsoft, State Farm, Beats by Dre, Coca-Cola, Dunkin-Donuts, Baskin Robbins, Samsung, and Nike. He also has a 1% stake in Beats by Dre. The 36-year-old made at least $1 million in royalties, and when the company was sold to Apple, he got a cut of $30 million.
James’ Nike endorsement deal came when he was only 18 years. Today, he makes $20 million per year from Nike in the form of salary and royalty payments for his signature shoe line.
In 2016, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $275 million and growing. A chunk of his money comes from his NBA contracts and endorsement deals.