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LeBron James – billionaire among athletes. How did he earn?

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Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James managed to pull off another feat. He is not only the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, but also the highest-paid player and, above all, the first billionaire to play, according to Forbes.

On February 7, James scored 38 points in a 133–130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and overtook Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the leading scorer in NBA history. The previous record of 37,387 points stood for almost 40 years. For James, this is another achievement in an already rich resume – he has 19 All-Star appearances, 18 All-NBA (Top 15 Players of the Season) selections, four MVP awards for the MVP and four NBA championships.

“Breaking the record in the presence of a great legend like Kareem means a lot to me,” James said with tears in his eyes after breaking the record, adding: “I would never, in a million years, dream it better than this.” what happened tonight.

LeBron James a billionaire – how did he get rich?

LeBron James’ dominance on the NBA court can only be matched by what he does off the court. In October, he was ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ list of the NBA’s highest-paid players, earning $124.5 million before taxes and agent fees for the 2022-23 season.

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James makes his fortune mostly off the court, where he earns over $80 million thanks to lucrative deals with Nike, AT&T and Beats By Dre, among others. According to the magazine’s estimates, LeBron’s career earnings will approach $1.3 billion (before taxes) in 2023.

James is not only an athlete and a celebrity who earns money on the dance floor and on commercials. It is extremely important for him to run businesses, which, however, is not reflected in the estimates of “Forbes”.

As the magazine explained, LeBron also receives compensation from stock ownership, such as from fitness technology company Tonal. In 2015, he stepped down from his $15 million deal with McDonald’s over four years to join Blaze Pizza as an investor. Moreover, James also co-founded sports supplement company Ladder and recently invested in Major League Pickleball, German manufacturer Canyon Bicycles and milk brand Neutral Foods, Forbes reported.

He added that James in 2020 co-founded an entertainment development and production company called SpringHill Company, which in 2021 was valued at approximately $725 million. He is one of the producers of Space Jam: A New Legacy and the HBO documentary What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali. James remains the company’s largest shareholder.

LeBron James

LeBron JamesGetty Images

LeBron James – the first NBA billionaire still playing

These investments saw James reach another milestone – he became the first active billionaire athlete. Forbes estimated that LeBron’s net worth exceeded $1 billion thanks to his interests in SpringHill, Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC, Fenway Sports Group, Blaze Pizza, real estate and earnings from basketball and advertising. Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan are the only other athletes to achieve billionaire status, with MJ doing so more than a decade after he turned basketball retirementand Woods jumped onto the billionaire list a few days after James did, the magazine pointed out.

He added that even eight years before he became a billionaire, James considered the possibility in a 2014 interview with GQ. “If that happens, it’ll be my greatest achievement – if I’m a billion-dollar athlete.” (…) I will be excited – said James at the time.

“Forbes” emphasized that this may not be the end of LeBron’s exploits – neither on the court nor off it. James has been open about owning an NBA team – he would have followed in Jordan’s footsteps when he bought the Charlotte Hornets (then the Bobcats) in 2010. In October 2022, James expressed interest in starting a band in Las Vegas.

For now, James is waiting for his first child, Bronny, to play in the NBA. James has repeatedly emphasized that he will end his career only after he can play with his son. Bronny will be eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft. James extended his contract with the Lakers for two years for $97.1 million with a player option for the 2024-25 season.

“I know I can play for a few more years,” James said after the record-setting match on February 7.

Main photo source: Getty Images

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