According to Forbes, LeBron James has officially become a billionaire. This makes James the first active NBA player to surpass the billion-dollar mark, and the second NBA player to do it, joining retiring basketball legend Michael Jordan.
James, a small forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, is the NBA’s highest-paid player, earning $121 million in both on and off the court last year.
He was ranked second on Forbes’ list of the 10 Highest-Paid Athletes of 2022, trailing Lionel Messi, who was ranked first.
Overall, James has earned $387 million from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, plus another $900 million from other enterprises and sponsorships, including a lifelong Nike deal, Blaze pizza franchises, and ownership of a video production company, all responsible for bringing his pre-tax earnings to over $1.2 billion!
James, who was born in Ohio, had a rough upbringing since his young mother battled to make ends meet. Thanks to a money lesson from his uncles, James made sure to always set aside part of the little money he did have.
“My uncles always taught me — they taught me how to have a savings account,” James said in a podcast on his web platform, UNINTERRUPTED. “They’d give me a dollar and they’d be like, ‘Listen, nephew, go spend 35 cents of it and keep the other 65.’ Or, if they gave me two dollars, they’d be like, ‘Go ahead and spend a dollar of it, but stash the other dollar.’”
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected James first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. His NBA debut was dubbed “one of the most remarkable in league history,” as he scored 25 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and dished out 9 assists.
James went on to become a four-time NBA MVP, win four championships, and win three Olympic medals!
In 2021, James expressed his hopes to one day own an NBA franchise, after becoming part-owner of the Boston Red Sox.
“I got so much to give to the game. I know what it takes to win at this level. I know talent,” James told interviewers. “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.”