LeBron James joins Michael Jordan as second NBA billionaire

LeBron James is officially a billionaire. According to Forbes, the Los Angeles Lakers star is worth an estimated $1 billion, making him the first active NBA player to join the billionaire club.

The only basketball player to be worth seven figures is Michael Jordan, who earned the moniker 11 years after retiring when his stake in the Charlotte Hornets increased to 89.5% in 2014.

While James earned more than $385 million in pre-tax salary during his 19-year NBA career, he has built the bulk of his fortune off the court over the past few years through some savvy business moves, according to Forbes. Those investments have helped him boost his net worth to the estimated $1 billion threshold he only recently crossed.

Even more incredible, James embodies this milestone after he said in a 2014 interview with GQ that he wanted to be a billionaire.

if it happens. This is my biggest milestone. obviously. I want to maximize my business. If I happen to get it, if I happen to be a billion dollar athlete, hehe. great! Oh my god I would be so excited.

where lebron makes his money

Forbes breaks down James’ biggest source of income from his various endeavors:

Spring Mountain: $300 million: A combination of James’ robotics company marketing agency, athlete brand Uninterrupted and SpringHill Entertainment.

Fenway Sports Group: $90 million: James owns 1% of FSG, which itself owns the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park and Liverpool FC. The group also holds stakes in Roush Fenway Racing, the New England Sports Network and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Real estate: $80 million: James owns at least three properties – in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Akron, Ohio.

Fire Pizza: $30 million: James invested $1 million for a 10% stake in 2012, and the company has since grown to more than 300 stores in the U.S. and Canada. He also personally owns 18 franchise stores in Florida and Illinois.

Miscellaneous investments: $500 million: Forbes estimates James has an additional net worth of $5 billion, which includes other lucrative investments such as Beats by Dre, sports nutrition company Ladder, Tonal and Lyft.

James’ other pursuits

Becoming the first active billionaire basketball player wasn’t the only thing James wanted to accomplish in his life. He opened an elementary school – I Promise in his hometown of Akron, Ohio in 2018 through his LeBron James Family Foundation, and has acted in several films – one of which was Space Jam 2 by him and Produced by Maverick Carter’s production company.

Since 2016, James has also talked about having his own NBA team, which could happen sooner or later after The Ringer’s Bill Simmons suggested that Fenway Sports Group could be involved in a potential NBA expansion team.

Either way, LeBron James has cemented himself as one of the richest NBA players of all time, and he could eventually surpass Jordan’s estimated net worth of $1.7 billion before his career is over.

LeBron James’ path to the billionaire club has included many savvy investments. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

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