King James has made history yet again.
Not only is LeBron James still breaking NBA records at his big age, but he’s also made sure he’s had that staying power off the court with brand deals. The 37-year-old has now been named the only NBA billionaire alongside Michael Jordan. However, he is the first to get that big of a bag while still playing in the league.
As that active player, his talent has earned him upwards of $400 due to his pretax salary during his storied 19-year career. Like Jordan, most of his net worth came from endorsement and growing businesses on the side.
Forbes has discovered that James is so ahead of the pack that the only athlete who made more than him from May 2021 to May 2022 is global soccer star Lionel Messi who raked in $130 million, compared to James’ $121.2 million.
The King has followed in Jordan’s footsteps in many ways, and acquiring that much wealth was something that’s been on his mind since he was a part of the big three in Miami.
“I want to maximize my business,” James told GQ in 2014. “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.”
Off the court, Forbes estimates that James’ business moves got him the rest of that billi, along with starring in “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” Behind the camera, he’s also got his SpringHill production company which he reportedly sold a minority stake in for $725 million. James also made a gang of cash when Beats by Dre was sold to Apple in 2014, selling his stake in Liverpool FC to become a part-owner of Fenway Sports Group and of course, the mansions he owns across the country in his hometown of Akron, Ohio and Los Angeles.
One of the most ballsy business moves he’s ever pulled is when he decided to end his partnership with McDonald’s and invest in the growing Blaze Pizza chain, which is now reportedly worth over $30 million.