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LeBron James is first active NBA player to become a billionaire

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Lakers LeBron James is first active NBA player to become a billionaire
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Lakers forward LeBron James is now the first active NBA player to become a billionaire. According to Forbes, the 18-time All-Star now has a net worth of $1 billion. Michael Jordan became a billionaire as an owner in 2014. Jordan officially retired from basketball after the 2002-03 season. Plus, Kobe Bryant reached billionaire status during retirement.

Based on the Basketball-Reference database, the 19-year veteran has earned $349,331,046 through contracts over the course of his NBA playing career. But this amount excludes Lebron’s bonuses and incentives.

If factored in, Lebron James has earned well over $385 million. Even then, this new amount does not include endorsement deals. His estimated earnings for endorsement deals alone is $900 million. Anyone remember those McDonald’s commercials?

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LeBron James has played for three teams: the Cavaliers, Heat and Lakers. In a total of 11 seasons spent with the Cavaliers, James earned $170 million. Then, after announcing his move to South Beach on ESPN’s “The Decision” in 2010, James played four seasons with the Heat. He accumulated $64 million from 2010 to 2014 under head coach Erik Spoelstra.

Next, the forward has made $153 million so far in only four seasons with the Lakers. During an interview with GQ back in 2014, he was asked about the possibility of becoming a billionaire. “If it happens. It’s my biggest milestone. 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.”

LeBron James increased his net worth by investing

Furthermore, the best method a millionaire can use to reach billionaire earnings is to save via investment. Since 2011, James has been a part owner of the Liverpool FC of the Premier League. According to BBC, he holds a 2% stake in the club. The purchase was made for £4.7 million, which is the equivalent of $5,903,200.

Then, the four-time MVP invested in Blaze Pizza in 2012. Since then, he has earned $30 million off supporting this California-based restaurant chain. They have over 300 locations nationwide.

In March 2021, James joined the Fenway Sports Group, making him a part owner of the Boston Red Sox. Per Forbes, the Red Sox are the third most valuable team in the MLB. They are valued at $3.9 billion in 2022. Their estimated operating income in 2021 was $69 million.

Add real estate to the list | First active NBA player to become billionaire

To add to his earning above, per CBS Sports, the Ohio native has made roughly $80 million in real estate. LeBron James owns three properties that are valued at the same amount. Keep in mind, he turns 38 years old this December. He could play for at least two more seasons.

In 2020, James signed a two-year, $85 million contract extension with the Lakers. He earned $41,180,544 this season and is set to make $44,474,988 in the 2022-23 NBA season. The four-time NBA champion’s net worth has improved drastically since signing with Los Angeles. That’s a massive understatement.


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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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