LeBron James has hit the $1 billion milestone after nearly 20 years in the NBA.
The 18-time all-star, who earned $121.2 million from May 2021 to May 2022 in on-court salary and off-court earnings, is one of the greatest basketball players in history, landing four NBA championships and four MVP awards.
James seemingly manifested his latest achievement after telling GQ in 2014 that he would be “excited” if he became a billion-dollar athlete.
“I want to maximize my business,” James said. “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.”
Based on Forbes’ estimate, James has raked in more than $385 million in on-court earnings during his nearly 20-year career with the Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.
He’s projected to earn another $44.5 million next season in LA as part of his two-year contract, Forbes reported.
James’ groundbreaking achievement is not just due to his unmatched skills on the court, but also his abilities to negotiate deals off the court that give him equity in the brands and companies he is partnering with.
Some of the companies James has partnered with include California-based Blaze Pizza, home gym company Tonal and transport service Lyft.
James’ income further skyrocketed after taking on a leading role last year in “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” with his production venture SpringHill Company signed on.
The sequel film pulled in $162.8 million in worldwide box office sales.
“King James” is also the biggest stakeholder in the SpringHill Company, the production company built by James and business partner Maverick Carter,
Last October, James sold a “significant minority stake” of the company at a $725 million valuation to several investors, including RedBird Capital Partners, Fenway Sports Group, Nike and Epic Games.
The league’s No. 2 career scorer has also profited $90 million from the Fenway Sports Group, which boasts MLB’s Boston Red Sox, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the EPL’s Liverpool, in which he owns about 1% of the group.
Additionally, he earned $80 million in real estate and $30 million from Blaze Pizza.
Some of James’ largest payouts include investments in Beats by Dre in 2014, and his shares in fitness company Beachbody, which acquired his sports nutrition company Ladder in 2020, according to Forbes.
The record-breaking hall-of-famer is known for his dedication to the sport, and has more game-changing plans for his future.
James, who told the LA Times last year that he would like to become the owner of an NBA franchise, told the publication at that time: “I got so much to give to the game. I know what it takes to win at this level. I know talent. I also know how to run a business as well. And so, that is my goal. My goal is to own an NBA franchise, and it will be sooner than later.”
Michael Jordan has been the only other professional basketball player to become a billionaire, but as Forbes noted, he didn’t secure the achievement until more than a decade after his retirement when he invested in the Charlotte Hornets.