The four-time NBA champion’s net worth hit $1 billion after what Forbes described as “another monster year of earnings” from May 2021 to May 2022. During that time James, 37, was the world’s second-highest-paid athlete through savvy investments and endorsement deals that yielded him $121.2 million in earnings.
When those earnings were added to his existing wealth, Forbes said it could comfortably declare James an official billionaire.
Though his billionaire status may be new, LeBron James’ billionaire mindset is not. In a 2014 interview with GQ while he was playing for the Miami Heat, James expressed how he’d feel once he reached the financial status.
“It’s my biggest milestone,” James said at the time. “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.”
Some would say he spoke it into existence, but by Forbes’ account, James worked it into existence.
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Not only is James the NBA’s highest-paid player, he’s also made smart business decisions that yielded him nearly $1.2 billion in pre-tax income, Forbes calculated.
In addition to the $385 million he made from his NBA salary, one of the keys to James’ financial success is making sure he has an equity stake in the brands he partners with, Forbes says.
He made more than $500 million from investments and endorsement deals with companies like Nike, AT&T, Blaze Pizza, Pepsi, Lyft, fitness startup Tonal and Walmart.
James’ SpringHill company also cashed in on lucrative media deals – including earnings of $163 million from the 2021 hit film “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and the company’s HBO documentary, “What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali.” The company is said to have a $725 million dollar valuation.
Add to that James’ minority stake in Fenway Sports Group and real estate holdings, and his net worth is even higher.
After the Forbes article was published, James shared a photo of the cover image on Instagram with the caption “NOT CHECKERS.”
NBA legend Michael Jordan is the only other basketball player to reach billionaire status, but he did so more than a decade after he retired from playing the game.
People weighed in on social media.
“Amazing watching you reach all the goals you spoke into your life my brother. Keep going,” James’ longtime friend and former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade commented under his Instagram post.
“Regardless of how you feel about LeBron on the court, the man has done everything right off of it,” Twitter user @JuanSolo84 wrote. “Which is a more impressive achievement given the temptations and ways it could’ve gone wrong for someone with that amount of fame/money at the age he entered the league.”
“Biggups! Congratulations [King emoji] well deserved hard work pays off!!! Now … lemme hold Sumn,” comedian and actor Jamie Foxx wrote.
“LeBron is really gonna be an active hooper while being a billionaire, this man is all types of different,” @RunItBron tweeted.
IN THE ORIGINAL PHOTOS:
LeBron James at the premiere of “Space Jam: A New Legacy” held on July 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. File Photo by: zz/GOTPAP/STAR MAX/IPx
NBA player LeBron James accepts the award for best championship performance at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)