Lakers’ LeBron James is the first active NBA player to become a billionaire: report
Lakers missed the playoffs for second time since James’ arrived in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is now a billionaire, becoming the first active NBA player to achieve the milestone, according to Forbes.
The only other NBA player to become a billionaire is Michael Jordan, who did not become one until after his playing days.
Per Forbes, James joins the billionaire list after making $121.2 million last year. He has made over $385 million in NBA salary during his 19-year career, and will make $44.5 million next season in the last year of his contract with the Lakers.
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But it’s the off-the-court money that puts James in the exclusive club.
James had made close to $900 million in endorsements and other business investments since joining the league in 2003.
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In 2010, James became an investor in Blaze Pizza for less than $1 million. His investment is now worth around $30 million. In 2011, James’ sports marketing group got involved with Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC, and Fenway Park. Forbes estimates that his investment is now worth $90 million.
"It’s great to be with such a great group, with FSG. They’ve done so many great things over the year, and just that collective group of people, they’re just amazing to be partners with," James said, according to the LA Times. "As far as the Red Sox, obviously a historical franchise and we know the history of the World Series championships that they’ve brought home to Boston and players that have come through there and the legacy that they hold in that area."
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"So, I think for me and for my partner, Maverick, to be the first two Black men to be a part of that ownership group in the history of that franchise, I think it’s pretty damn cool," James continued.
James has not been shy about stating his desire to one day own an NBA franchise, telling reporters last year that NBA ownership is a goal of his.
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"I got so much to give to the game. I know what it takes to win at this level. I know talent," James said, according to the LA Times "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."
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James has also made around $300 million from The Spring Hill Co., a venture he and his business partner Maverick Carter created in 2007. Spring Hill helped in producing "Space Jam: A New Legacy."
While James is now a billionaire, NBA fans won’t be seeing him on the court until the 2022-2023 season after his Lakers squad failed to make the postseason for the second time since he arrived in Los Angeles.