LeBron James is not only one of the greatest basketball players of all time but also the NBA's first billionaire active player. Forbes recently announced that LeBron's net worth has surpassed $1 billion, making him the first billionaire athlete in significant American sports history to reach this milestone while still playing.
LeBron is the highest-paid player in the NBA, earning $39.22 million for the 2022-23 season. But it's not just his basketball skills and business acumen that have made LeBron NBA's first active billionaire; it's also his marketability. He's one of the most popular and recognizable athletes in the world, which has led to several high-budget endorsement deals. In fact, LeBron makes more money from endorsements than his NBA salary. He has deals with major brands like Nike, Pepsi, and AT&T, bringing in an estimated $90 million annually. Additionally, LeBron has made many smart investments in real estate and business ventures.
More than anything, LeBron is also a savvy investor. He has made several lucrative investments, including stakes in Beats by Dre, Blaze Pizza, SpringHill Company, and Fenway Sports Group. LeBron was one of the earliest investors in Beats by Dre, a headphone company that was sold to Apple for $3 billion in 2014. He reportedly made an estimated $700 million from his investment. LeBron is also a founding investor in Blaze Pizza, a made-to-order pizza chain with stores across the U.S. and Canada. He turned down a $15 million endorsement deal with McDonald's to invest in Blaze Pizza, now valued at over $1 billion.
LeBron also has stakes in Maverick Carter, an entertainment and production company. SpringHill has backed projects such as the film Space Jam: A New Legacy, the talk show The Shop: Uninterrupted, and the Netflix film Hustle. In 2021, Maverick Carter sold shares of their company to a group of investors for $725 million. But don't worry, LeBron's keeping only some of that money for himself; he's using it to help others. He started several foundations supporting education, youth development, and social justice. So, there you have it. LeBron James is a billionaire baller. And he's not even done playing basketball yet.