After being named the highest-earning NBA player of 2021 last month, LeBron James has officially reached billionaire status. Forbes reports that the Los Angeles Lakers star’s fortune currently sits at an estimated $1.2 billion in pretax earnings.
James, who raked in an estimated $121.2 million last year, is the first NBA star to become a billionaire while actively playing in the league. Michael Jordan, the only other basketball player to surpass one billion in net worth, didn’t achieve that feat until 2014, well into the six-time champ and Charlotte Hornets owner’s retirement from the NBA.
James, who famously inked a $90 million endorsement deal with Nike in 2003 prior to playing in the NBA, previously spoke on joining the billionaire’s club being his most coveted achievement in an interview back in 2014. “It’s my biggest milestone,” the four-time NBA champion told GQ at the time. “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.”
Over the course of his NBA career, James has earned more than $385 million in salary from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers. However, the majority of his wealth has come from endeavors beyond the hardwood, as he’s amassed over $900 million in income from endorsements and other business ventures.
In addition to lucrative deals with megabrands like AT&T, PepsiCo, and Walmart, James has scored big on timely investments, including Blaze Pizza chain, Tonal, and Lyft, among others. He has also made a big splash in the world of entertainment, after launching his own production company SpringHill with longtime friend and business partner Maverick Carter. Last October, Springhill was valued at $725 million, with Fenway Sports Group and Epic Games buying in as investors.