LeBron James is the greatest basketball player on the planet. Debate all you want about whether Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time, but even at 36 years old, King James continues to show the rest of NBA teams why he’s still a superstar.
Four NBA Championships, four NBA MVP awards, four NBA Finals MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals are only part of why James is the king of basketball still. The 6-foot-9 power forward has been a threat to other NBA players since the Cleveland Cavaliers selected him No. 1 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School of Akron, Ohio. No one in the United States had ever seen a prospect of his magnitude, and “The Chosen One” has lived up to the hype.
The King currently ranks third all-time on basketball’s all-time scoring list ahead of Jordan and Kobe Bryant. He could overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for No. 1 when his career is all said and done. He’s accomplished pretty much everything one can in the NBA, and all that’s left is playing with his son, LeBron James Jr., in the league one day.
King James has made a boatload of cash over his 18-year career, and he stands to make more on the court than anyone ever has. Michael Jordan may be a billionaire, the highest-paid athlete ever and undoubtedly the GOAT of professional athlete income, but James is coming for that crown.
Let’s take a look at how LBJ has built his enormous fortune throughout the years.
At 19, James won the NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging more than 20 points per game for the Cavs. Ever since his production has been off the charts, and he’s been compensated well for his work in re-writing NBA history.
According to Spotrac, the All-Star has made more than $387 million to date in career earnings playing basketball. That figure is spread across 11 seasons with the Cavaliers, four with the Miami Heat (after he joined Dwyane Wade as a free agent), and four with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’ll have made close to $500 million in basketball earnings alone when he finally decides to call it quits.
In 2018, James decided to trade in Cleveland for Hollywood and joined the Lakers on a $153-million four-year contract. He could stay in California alongside Anthony Davis for the remainder of his career, as his son plays near Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, Los Angeles. James has said he’d love to play with Bronny James in the NBA one day, and he may very well do that.
In 2020, the 35-year-old reached his 10th NBA Finals after the Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets. The NBA superstar led the Lakers to his fourth championship in the NBA Finals, a 4-2 victory over the Miami Heat. He signed a two-year, $85 million contract extension in December 2020.
However, injuries plagued the Lakers in 2021, and the Phoenix Suns eliminated LeBron’s team in the first round for the first time in his career. Make no mistake, though, LeBron will be back in 2022 to prove he’s the best player in basketball despite stars like Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Nets’ Kevin Durant and Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo in the league.
Nike Deal, Endorsements & Business Ventures
James signed his first significant shoe deal as an 18-year-old in 2003, opting for $87 million from Nike rather than a much more considerable amount Reebok was willing to offer him. That decision has paid off for James, who signed a billion-dollar lifetime deal with Nike in 2015. The lifetime endorsement deal is expected to pay him $1 billion by the time he turns 64.
The Nike deal is just a snippet of James’ diversified business portfolio.
LeBron has done sponsorship and endorsement deals with companies like McDonald’s, Microsoft, State Farm, Walmart, Beats by Dre Headphones, Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, Samsung, KIA Motors, 2K Sports and others. When Beats Electronics was sold to Apple for $3 billion, James cashed on his one-percent stake in the company and took home $30 million from the sale.
He purchased an ownership stake in English Premier League soccer club Liverpool F.C. after the Fenway Sports Group acquired the team in 2010. He and his partners own numerous Blaze Pizza franchises scattered around Chicago and in Florida.
James also launched a media company, Uninterrupted, that received a $15.8 million investment from Time Warner in 2015. The businessman has also teamed up with Cindy Crawford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lindsey Vonn to start a health and wellness company called Ladder.
According to Forbes, James is one of the rare basketball players to earn more each year from endorsement deals than his NBA salary. He earned $36 million on the basketball court and another $53 million from endorsements in 2019. He earned an estimated $60 million off the court in 2020.
James has done plenty for local communities and given back a great deal of his wealth. In 2018, the LeBron James Family Foundation opened an elementary school, the I Promise School, aimed at at-risk children. He plans to spend $41 million to send these children to college.
How Much Will LeBron Make From Space Jam 2?
Beyond a pizza chain, James and his business partner Maverick Carter formed production company SpringHill Entertainment, which has produced shows like “The Wall” and has movies like “Space Jam 2.” In June 2020, SpringHill Entertainment signed a two-year deal with ABC Studios for scripted series.
“Space Jam 2: A New Legacy” will premier in July 2021. It will be the first time NBA fans have seen the Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson in two seasons. The star-studded cast includes other NBA players Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving, as well as actors like Michael B. Jordan and Steve Harvey.
It’s unknown how much money James will take home from the movie, but Forbes estimated the NBA champion could take home as much as $5 million.
LeBron James Wife & Kids
LeBron’s wife is Savannah James. They met each other in their hometown of Akron, Ohio. Their first date was a basketball game followed by a delicious meal at Outback Steakhouse. They’ve been strong ever since.
The Jameses didn’t tie the knot until 2011, seven years after Savannah gave birth to their first child, LeBron James Jr., in 2004. They welcomed a second son, Bryce Maximus James, in 2007. In 2014, she gave birth to their third child and first daughter, Zhuri Nova.
LeBron James Net Worth 2021
King James is more than a basketball player––he’s the king of cash and the colossus of the coin. He’s a businessman, father and husband. He’s used his money, power, and influence to do right.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, LeBron James’ estimated net worth is $500 million in 2021. He checked in at No. 5 on the Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid athletes in 2021, earning a cool $96.5 million. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos better watch out.
This article was originally published on January 16, 2020 but has been updated.