LeBron James Becomes First Active NBA Player To Become A Billionaire
By Jason Hall
June 2, 2022
The four-time NBA champion netted $121.2 million in total earnings last year, increasing his official net work to $1 billion, joining the likes of Michael Jordan and the late Kobe Bryant, both of whom exceeded their respective $1 billion net worths after retirement from their Hall of Fame playing careers.
"It’s my biggest milestone,” James told GQ in 2014 about the potential of one day becoming a billionaire. “Obviously. I want to maximize my business. 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 currently the NBA's highest-paid active player and has earned more than $385 million during his 18-year NBA career during stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2003-10; 2014-18), Miami Heat (2010-14) and Lakers (2018-present), as well as upwards of $900 million in endorsements -- which include a lifetime agreement with Nike paying tens of millions annually, as well as AT&T, Pepsi and Walmart -- and other business ventures, which includes a stake in Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins and Liverpool F.C.
James's $121.2 million earned in 2022 also ranked as the highest-paid athlete in North America and the second-highest-earning athlete in the world, trailing only Paris Saint-Germain's Lionel Messi, who made $130 million in 2022.