LeBron James has become the NBA’s first billionaire, having recently surpassed the $1 billion milestone in total earnings.
Although many Michael Jordan fans would point to Jordan’s now astronomical net worth as proof that he was the first to do it, it should be emphasized that Jordan never reached the billion-dollar milestone during his playing career.
Even if his earnings had been inflation adjusted, he would have not made a billion dollars while reigning the basketball court.
LeBron has made $330 million from his playing career since being drafted to the NBA in 2003. This means that merchandising, licensing, his media business, and sponsorships have accounted for the majority of his earnings.
In fact, he earns more than $100 million a year via collaborations with AT&T, Beats, Blaze Pizza, GMC, Nike, PepsiCo, Rimowa, and Walmart.
LeBron is not only the first active NBA player to hit the billion-dollar mark, but he’s also the the first athlete in a US team sport to do so.
As an active athlete who has become a millionaire, he joins the elite group that include the likes of Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Roger Federer.
It won’t be long until another NBA superstar does the same. Thanks to his ten-year deal with Nike and impressive investments through his Thirty-Five Ventures, Kevin Durant, who is presently worth $580 million, is predicted to make $1 billion throughout his playing career.
In addition, Steph Curry’s career earnings ($430 million currently) are expected to surpass $1 billion.
How does Lebron spend his millions?
James paid US$36.75 million in 2020 for a Mediterranean-style estate in Beverly Hills. was once owned by actor Charles Boyer and Howard Hughes, who leased it to Katharine Hepburn, his sweetheart.
There are four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, two guest homes, a tennis court, and a cinema in the mansion. It is situated on a one-hectare (2.5-acre) plot with great city views.
Since 2011, James has been a part-owner of Liverpool FC, an English Premier League soccer club.
He has his own production firm (SpringHill Entertainment) and media organization, as well as the NBA’s top sponsorship portfolio (Uninterrupted).
In 2018, James founded Ladder, a health and wellness company alongside Cindy Crawford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Lindsey Vonn.
In Chicago and South Florida, James and his partners operate 19 Blaze Pizza locations.