NBA superstar LeBron James has racked up a number of honorifics in his career: Three NBA championship rings, two Olympic gold medals, the first high school undergraduate to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. He has half a dozen major endorsement deals, earned rave reviews for his comic turn in Amy Schumer’s 2015 movie Trainwreck and has launched his own production company. In a 2014 GQ cover story, James set a financial goal for himself: He wants to be a billionaire. “It’s my biggest milestone. Obviously. I want to maximize my business,” said James, now 33. “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.”
So is he there yet?
Is LeBron James a billionaire?
Almost! In 2018, LeBron James is moving closer to becoming a billionaire. The longtime Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat star announced he would move to the Los Angeles Lakers this season on a $154 million, four-year contract — making his $38 million annual salary the biggest in the NBA. In 12 previous pro seasons, he has earned $234 million in salary, says the Sporting News. He rakes in about $50 million yearly from his endorsements, making him the top pitchman in pro basketball.
The bottom line: LeBron James’ net worth is about $445 million as of July 2018, according to Forbes. He was one of the magazine’s richest entrepreneurs under 40 in 2016, and he’s the world’s sixth-highest-paid pro athlete in 2018. James’ portfolio also includes smart investments: He owns a piece of the growing Blaze Pizza chain, and a 2% stake in the UK’s Liverpool football team. Overall, the magazine estimates that James has earned $765 million, before taxes and expenses, since 2003.
The LeBron James Nike shoe is one of the best-selling in history, and the move to the high-visibility Lakers puts him in an elite circle, earnings-wise, in the next few years. “The Lakers are the NBA’s most storied franchise, with 16 titles and a staggering assortment of stars where only one name is needed: Wilt, Kareem, Magic, Shaq and Kobe,” writes Forbes’ Kurt Badenhausen. “The Lakers are also a global franchise, based in the heart of the second-biggest city in the U.S., so James and his longtime manager, Maverick Carter, will have business opportunities in almost every space.”