LeBron James Becomes NBA’s First Active Billionaire Player
Michael Jordan is in the billionaire's club as well, but he wasn't back in his playing days
He may not be Michael Jordan’s equal on the silver screen or (debatably) the basketball court, but LeBron James just accomplished something Michael Jordan was never able to do during the course of his career: become a billionaire while being an active NBA player.
The face of Space Jam: A New Legacy and the NBA’s biggest star, James has earned $330 million from his NBA salary and made $700 million from merchandise, endorsements, his media company and other off-court investments and earnings over the course of his career, according to Sportico.
A four-time NBA champion who’s been voted an All-Star 17 times, James has endorsement deals with companies ranging from AT&T and Walmart to Beats and Pepsi. Now located in Los Angeles as a member of the Lakers, James and his production company will only continue to become a bigger presence on television and in Hollywood.
The principal owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and of 23XI Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, Jordan is a billionaire a couple of times over at this point in his life, but he was not a member of the billionaire’s club when he was still playing pro basketball.
Like 36-year-old James, Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have all earned $1 billion while still active in their sports. Per Sportico, Kevin Durant, who has a similar portfolio to James and is four years younger, has a shot at joining them in that accomplishment.
“Durant, 32, is the most likely to reach $1 billion among active players,” according to the publication. “He is still owed $84 million from the Brooklyn Nets over the next two seasons and roughly $85 million from Nike through 2024, when his 10-year Swoosh deal expires. KD has largely eschewed new endorsements in recent years and focused on his investment vehicle, Thirty-Five Ventures, which has made more than 75 investments and has a couple of huge wins with Coinbase and Postmates. Elite athletes have access to opportunities typically reserved for billionaires, venture capitalists and Wall Street insiders.”
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