American basketball player LeBron James managed to transcend the boundaries of basketball and sports and become a global star. This made him break the dominance of football stars like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of earnings and reach the top of the list of the highest-paid athletes in the world. In addition to the money he makes directly from basketball or sponsorships, LeBron James also has a portfolio of businesses that have made him a millionaire in dollars.
What is LeBron Jame’s net worth?
At the time this article is written, the American entrepreneur and professional basketball player LeBron James has a net worth of $600 million. In terms of salary alone, he is the sixth-highest-paid player in the NBA, with an annual base salary of $1.4 million.
Besides sports, LeBron James is one of the highest-earning and globally powerful stars in the entire world. He has a $1 billion lifetime contract with Nike and makes more than $60 to $90 million per year in endorsements. He created a real business empire with his wealth and fame, investing in various start-ups. Also, he owns a part of Liverpool F.C.
Taking into consideration his actual investment and earnings pace, it is estimated that by 2035 LeBron James will be a billionaire.
- LeBron James owns approximately $80 million worth of real estate
- He was paid $90 million for his first Nike contract over 7 years
- He refused a more valuable contract with Reebok
- During his career, LeBron earned $800 million from endorsements and salary
- He makes anywhere between $50 and $90 million per year from endorsements
- LeBron earns $42.5 million per year in base NBA salary
- In his first decade in the NBA LeBron James made $450 million from endorsements and salary
- LeBron James is about to become a billionaire by 2035
Revenue per year
LeBron James makes almost $55 million each year from endorsements and almost $40 million from his NBA salary. It results in a total income of approximately $100 million per year. LeBron made $86 million between June 2016 and June 2017, while the next year he earned $85.5 million and in 2019 he made $85 million.
LeBron James earned more than $126 million only in salary during his first ten seasons in the NBA. Also, he made almost $326 million from endorsements during that period of time. This results in a total income of $452 million during his first decade as a sportsman. Also, he signed a contract with the LA Lakers that ends in 2023 and is valued at $85 million.
LeBron James has endorsement agreements with various companies such as Nike, McDonald’s, Samsung, Microsoft, Baskin Robbins, State Farm, Dunkin-Donuts, Beats by Dre, Coca-Cola, and many more. Also, LeBron owned 1% of the Beats by Dre company and earned royalty payments of $1 million. He made $30 million when the company was sold to Apple for $3 billion.
James will continue with the Lakers until at least 2024, as he has an option included in his contract for an additional season until 2025. The new contract makes LeBron James the highest-paid player in NBA history, with a guaranteed income of $532 million.
James’ previous contract expired in 2023 and guaranteed him an annual salary of $44.5 million.
With four NBA championship rings, James has been playing for the Lakers since 2018, with whom he won the title in 2020. Previously, LeBron won the title with the Miami Heat (2012, 2013) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (2016).
SpringHill Co. – the business with which LeBron James made a fortune
“The King”, as he is nicknamed, learned that you have to spend money to make money. Thus, James laid the foundations of several businesses, and all of them turned out to be real hits. James’ most important investment is SpringHill Co., a company he made with his childhood friend, Maverick Carter.
The company was founded in 2020 when the two managed to raise $100 million in funding. SpringHill brings together three of James’ businesses. It is about his marketing agency, Robot Company, which had companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Beats By Dre, and Sprite among its clients. Also in the portfolio is SpringHill Entertainment, the media company founded in 2007 that was behind the production of the documentary “More Than A Game”, about the athlete’s high school career.
Last but not least, the company also owns Uninterrupted, a platform through which athletes can communicate directly with fans, through media, social media, and podcasts.
In October 2021, James and Carter sold a minority stake in SpringHill Company, for which they received no less than $725 million. Investors include Epic Games, Fenway Sports Group, RedBird Capital Partners, and Nike. James remains, however, the company’s president, while his business partner, Maverick Carter, has retained his position as CEO, Forbes says.
LeBron – a shareholder in Liverpool F.C.
Perhaps LeBron James’ most significant investment was when he became a minority partner in the investment group Fenway Sports Group, which owns two top sports franchises, the baseball (MLB) team Boston Red Sox and the soccer team Liverpool FC.
James became one of the patrons of the Anfield club, in which he already owned shares since 2011. Then, the basketball player bought 2% of Liverpool FC, for the amount of $6.5 million, when the English club was in decline. James’ shares in Liverpool are now worth tens of millions.
Blaze Pizza Investment
In 2012, James went on his own “business taste” and fell in love with Blaze’s pizza. He liked it so much that he turned down a contract extension with McDonald’s, for which he would have received $15 million, and invested $1 million in Blaze. Ten years later, James has opened 19 Blaze Pizza restaurants across the US, and his shares in the franchise are now worth 40 times more.
The most important sponsorship that helped LeBron become an international brand is Nike. “The King” turned down $28 million when he signed with Nike over Reebok’s $115 million offer, according to the biography written by the ESPN journalist Brian Windhorst, “LeBron, Inc.: The Making of a Billion-Dollar Athlete”. James, however, felt that the connection with Nike was stronger and accepted the offer of “only” $87 million. And the confidence of the basketball player was rewarded in 2015 when the American manufacturer of sports equipment offered James a lifetime contract, estimated at more than $30 million annually.
The money earned by LeBron James throughout his career was also spent on the whims of a luxurious life, not just investing in businesses. James can boast, for example, of a collection of 15 luxury cars, estimated at $2.5 million. He also spent $23 million on a mansion in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, where he has actors John Travolta and Jim Carrey as neighbors.
Childhood and Career Beginning
James was born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio. At a young age, James showed a natural talent for basketball. He was recruited by St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to join their basketball team in 1999.
He led his basketball team to three state titles and was named “Mr. Basketball” in Ohio for three consecutive years. He decided not to go to college and went straight to the NBA, where he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA.
With a fulminant sports career, LeBron is one of the few top athletes, financially successful, who laid the foundations of a small business empire already during the sports activity, without waiting for “retirement” to think about how to make money.