LeBron James is a Forbes billionaire — the first NBA star to do so while playing

LeBron James made the Forbes billionaires list.

The Los Angeles Lakers star has now earned more than $1 billion between his on-court and off-court endeavors. according to the latest Forbes estimate.

James has earned more than $385 million from his NBA contracts with the Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, the Treasury reported Thursday, and more than $900 million from various off-court deals including sponsorships, his media ventures and investments .

Sportico, a media company covering the business side of sport, had already done so crowned King James a billionaire last year.

James is the first US athlete in the big four sports to amass $1 billion while still active in his or her sport. Michael Jordan is the only other known basketball billionaire, but he crossed that threshold years after retiring from the game.

Golfer Tiger Woods, boxer Floyd Mayweather, and international soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have all earned at least $1 billion during their playing careers CBS.

See also: Kobe Bryant has made over $300 million playing basketball — here’s how he invested his money

Millions of dollars in sponsorship and endorsement over the years from companies such as Coca-Cola KO,
mcdonald’s mcd,
and the Hyundai HYMTF,
-Own Kia’s have all contributed to James’ fortune, but it was some clever business moves that really boosted his portfolio.

When LeBron James chose Nike and Rebook in 2003, he gave up $28 million. Shortly thereafter, Rebook discontinued its basketball program. But years later, Nike NKE,
and James signed a lifetime contract for the basketball star that could exceed 1 billion dollars (although the exact terms are not fully known).

James’ investments in English football club Liverpool FC, Apple AAPL,
Beats by Dre and fast-food chain Blaze Pizza have all netted him millions more off the court.

In addition, his media companies Spring Hill and Uninterrupted have produced television shows for NBC and Starz, built a podcast network, and partnered with Warner Bros. Studios on James’ latest film, Space Jam: A New Legacy, which is the sequel to the film Michael Jordan 1996 film. It grossed $31.7 million in its opening weekend.

Also Read: Tom Brady had made $475 million from the NFL before signing that $375 million analyst deal with Fox Sports

Who could be the next billionaire NBA star?

Kevin Durant appears most likely. Durant has $264 million in basketball earnings and an endorsement deal with Nike worth around $300 million.

Combined with his venture capital investment firm Thirty-Five Ventures, Durant has made impressive early investments in companies such as Coinbase COIN,
acorns, the Uber UBER,
-own postmates.

This article was originally published in July 2021 when Sportico named LeBron James a billionaire. It has been updated with Forbes. LeBron James is a Forbes billionaire — the first NBA star to do so while playing

Brian Lowry

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