LeBron James Becomes First Active NBA Billionaire

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Lakers forward LeBron James has another accomplishment to add to his resume, as he has now become the first active NBA billionaire.

Forbes reports that the 37-year-old made $121.2 million from May 2021 to May 2022 in on-court salary and off-court earnings. That was just short of Paris Saint-Germain FC star Lionel Messi, who made $130 million over the same timeframe to become the highest-paid athlete in the world.

It’s the fulfillment of a goal for James, who told GQ back in 2014 that he’d be ecstatic if he reached the billion-dollar mark.

“I want to maximize my business,” James said. “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.”

James is estimated to have made more than $385 million on the court in salary over the course of his 19-year career with the Cavaliers, Heat and Lakers.

However, it’s James’ off-court projects which have carried him to the milestone. James is fresh off starring in “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which made $31 million at the box office its opening weekend and later grossed $163 million at the global box office, per ESPN.

In addition, James sold a minority stake in his production company, SpringHill, at a $725 million valuation. Forbes estimates that James made more than $500 million from cash and investments, as he made big bucks off the sale of Beats By Dre to Apple in 2014. He also has a share in the fitness company, Beachbody.

James made $90 million from Fenway Sports Group, as he has been a minority owner of Liverpool FC since 2011. He later exchanged that for a 1% ownership stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns multiple sports franchises. Those include the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool and most recently the Pittsburgh Penguins, who they purchased for $900 million.

James is showing no signs of slowing down on the hardwood after averaging 30.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 6.2 APG in 56 games this past season.

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.


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