For a long time, it has been a foregone conclusion that sports is a legitimate means of becoming a multimillionaire and there are fewer sports that have proven this to be true than basketball where players make several millions of dollars in career earnings. However, some players have built massive net worths well beyond their career earnings, one of whom is LeBron James. For many who see the disparity between his net worth and his career earnings, the question has been, how does LeBron James make his money?
Well in this article, we dive into how one of the best players in basketball history has turned his talents into an empire. Read on to learn more.
How Does LeBron James Make His Money?
LeBron James, son of Akron, Ohio has been a model professional since he was drafted into the NBA from high school. Not only has his career been without the blemish of controversies that is common among young professionals, but he has also been a role model off the court, making moves that have transformed him into one of the richest players, not just in basketball but in every sport.
With a net worth of $450 million, and a career that has consistently rivaled that of the man arguably considered the greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan, it wouldn’t be amiss to presume his net worth has come from consistently being the highest-paid player in the league, but that is not all the facts.
Over the course of his over 16 years career in the NBA, LeBron James has only ever been the highest-paid player once, a feat he achieved in the 2016/2017 season. Still, he has made over $270 million in playing salary, a figure that places him among the highest-paid players for active and retired players.
So how does LeBron James make his money? That is down to several investments and lucrative brand endorsement deals. His shoe deal with Nike has been a success for the footwear brand, with his signature shoe consistently being the bestseller among active NBA players, a feat only bettered by Michael Jordan. James’ deal with Nike, whom he has been with since he joined the league is believed to be worth $1 billion, expected to be paid out over the rest of his life in a massive lifetime contract.
Aside from his earnings from Nike, LeBron James’ net worth has also come from endorsements with over 15 other brands, which has earned him an estimated $600 million so far.
Other ways LeBron James makes his money include investments in Beats Electronics, which was bought out by Apple in 2014. He also has equity stakes in the English football club, Liverpool, as part of his partnership with Fenway Sports Group. He also owns an equity stake in Blaze Pizza which is believed to be worth $25 million. Aside from his equity stake in the Pizza franchise, he is also a franchise owner with locations in South Florida and Chicago.
Lebron James’ net worth also benefits from his investments in the entertainment industry via his production companies, SpringHill Entertainment, and Uninterrupted. Both companies have produced shows like The Wall and Survivor’s Remorse, all of which have made him a basketball player with a net worth of $450 million.
Is He a Billionaire?
Having answered how LeBron James makes his money, the next question is, is he a billionaire? Well, despite the fact that he has spoken repeatedly of his desire to become a billionaire, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball player is still a couple hundred millions away from becoming one.
However, he has crossed the $1 billion mark in career earnings since he became a professional. The earnings, which are a combination of his playing salary and income from endorsement deals and his investments was achieved when he signed his four-year $154 million deal with the LA Lakers.
However, as a result of factors like taxes, agent and manager fees, not every single dollar of his earnings has remained his. Still, crossing the mark is an important milestone in the player’s career who only has just 35% of his earnings coming from his playing salary.
It is a difference that represents his meteoric rise in the business world and puts him well on the part to achieving his dream of becoming a billionaire.