LeBron James’ journey as he becomes the second athlete in history to be worth $1 billion

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, the man who defined a generation of the NBA, now has a net worth of $1 billion according to Forbes – becoming the first active NBA player to make the billionaires list

LeBron James only missed the playoffs for the fourth time in his storied career this season – but he got some good news off the court as he became a billionaire

LeBron James is an 18-time NBA All-Star, four-time NBA champion, four-time NBA MVP and two-time Olympic gold medalist. Now the king is also a billionaire.

Despite a disappointing campaign with the Lakers in 2021-22, which means he has to watch the NBA Finals from the sidelines after missing the playoffs, James has achieved something no NBA star has. never done. According Forbes he officially became a billionaire while continuing to be an active gambler.

He is the first active NBA player to make the billionaire list, as Michael Jordan – the only other basketball billionaire – joined the ranks in 2014, nine years after the Chicago legend retired Bulls. James has passed the billion mark for his net worth after a year with earnings totaling $121.2m (£97m).

While Jordan made his wealth largely through his iconic Air Jordan brand and his purchase of the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise, James maxed out his business ventures to generate $1.2 billion in pre-tax profits. He revealed his plans to run such a lucrative off-court career in 2014, when he said QG he wanted to be a billionaire – and James has now achieved the lofty goal eight years later.

During his illustrious career, James earned more than $385m (£307m) in salary from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers as the NBA’s highest-paid active player. Even away from the sport, James has earned over $900m (£717m) in income from other business ventures and lucrative endorsements due to his stature and popularity with fans around the world.

This journey from teenage prodigy to billionaire active athlete is particularly impressive given the King’s background. Born to a 16-year-old single mother in Akron, Ohio, James reportedly moved a dozen times in three years, but his basketball talent shone as he became the most anticipated high school prospect in all the time, with a crushing weight of expectation.

At 18 in 2003, James turned down offers from Reebok and Adidas to sign a deal with Nike and after more than a decade of success he signed a lifetime deal with the brand to pay him tens of millions over a annual basis. Along with deals with AT&T, PepsiCo and Walmart, the 37-year-old was the second highest-earning athlete in the world in 2021.







LeBron James was in attendance at the Stade de France in Paris as Liverpool lost in the Champions League final to Real Madrid last weekend
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Image:

DeFodi Images via Getty Images)


How did James orchestrate a billion dollar fortune? Well, he cleverly arranged deals to grant him shares in brands he partnered with while running various businesses himself.

James’ key business is The SpringHill Company, which is worth around $300m (£239m). The entertainment development and production company – founded by James and his business partner Maverick Carter in 2020 – was named after the apartment complex where James and his mother eventually settled amid his tumultuous youth.

This allowed James to combine three companies – marketing agency Robot Company, athlete platform Uninterrupted and SpringHill Entertainment, which was founded in 2007 to produce the award-winning documentary More than a game which chronicles James’ high school career. The SpringHill Company was launched after James and Carter received $100m (£80m) in investment, with backers including Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of billionaire Rupert. Last October, James sold a minority stake at a valuation of $725m (£578m) to investors including Fenway Sports Group, Nike and Epic Games.

SpringHill helped produce the 2021 film Space Jam: A New Legacy after playing James, as well as the recent Netflix docuseries about tennis star Naomi Osaka. He is currently working on a biopic about James’ young life.

James has been open about owning an NBA team one day, but the Lakers star already owns stakes in baseball, football, and hockey teams, among others. The basketball star has a deal with Fenway Sports Group, which has a large portfolio of sports teams, and it means James has a minority stake in Liverpool FC, the English Premier League team that won the double FA Cup and League Cup in 2021-22. .

The 37-year-old acquired the stake when his sports marketing agency teamed up with FSG in 2011, and he and Carter swapped their Liverpool stakes for group co-ownership last year. James is estimated to own around 1% of the group, which owns the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, Liverpool and the NHL franchise Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as half of Roush Fenway Racing and 80% of the New England Sports Network. His stake is valued at around $90m (£71.8m).







LeBron James and Adam Sandler star in Netflix movie ‘Hustle,’ which SpringHill helped produce
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Do you think LeBron James will own another sports team? Let us know in the comments section.

In 2015, James left his endorsement with McDonalds to invest in and partner with Blaze Pizza. He helped promote the company dramatically, often going behind the counter and taking to the streets to help the brand run. Forbes estimates James’ stake in the chain — plus his cut of 18 Blaze franchises in Florida and Illinois run by restaurateur Larry Levy — at around $30 million.

In addition to these investments, James has over half a billion dollars (£399m) in net assets beyond what has been mentioned. That includes shares in brands like Tonal and ride-hailing mammoth Lyft, as well as Beats by Dre and the publicly traded fitness company Beachbody, which James co-founded with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

James also has a property portfolio valued at $80million (£64million) thanks to homes in Akron and LA, and he recently bought a 13,000sqft mansion in Beverly Hills for £36.75million. dollars (£29.3 million).

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