It’s official. LeBron James achieves billionaire status

Forbes says James has reached a net worth of $1 billion, making him "the first active NBA player to make the billionaires list."

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Basketball superstar LeBron James has officially reached billionaire status. 

As reported by Forbes, the four-time NBA champion made $121.2 million in earnings on and off-court in 2021. He has now, by their estimate, reached a net worth of $1 billion, making him “the first active NBA player to make the billionaires list.”

LeBron James attends last July’s premiere of Warner Bros.’ “Space Jam: A New Legacy” at Regal LA Live in Los Angeles. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

As reported previously by theGrio, per Sportico, since being drafted in 2003, James, the 37-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star, has earned $330 million in playing salary. When it comes to endorsement deals, merchandise, licensing and his production company, the Ohio native and 18-time NBA All-Star has earned $700 million off the court. 

In 2018, James signed a four-year, $153 million deal with the Lakers. And ESPN reported that he agreed to a two-year $85 million contract extension with the team, which would see him earn $39.2 million for the 2020-21 season, $41,180,544 the following season, then $44,474,988 for 2022-23.

James’ 19-year career playing with the Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat has reportedly earned him $385 million in salary. Forbes estimates that he has also bagged an additional $500 million from cash and investments, $90 million from Fenway Sports Group, $80 million in real estate holdings and $30 million from his 10% stake in the Blaze Pizza chain.

The outlet writes: 

Forbes still believes James has more than a half-billion dollars in net assets beyond what’s listed above. This includes proceeds from major scores, like the $3 billion sale of Beats by Dre to Apple in 2014 (James was a spokesperson and owned a small sliver) and shares of publicly traded fitness company Beachbody, which acquired Ladder, the sports nutrition company James cofounded with Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 2020 for $28 million in stock.

James once spoke about reaching $1 billion in earnings during a 2014 interview with GQ.

“I want to maximize my business,” James told the publication, as reported by ESPN. “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’ current endorsement deals reportedly earn him over $100 million a year. They include brands such as AT&T, Beats by Dre, Blaze Pizza, GMC, Nike, PepsiCo, Rimowa and Walmart.

Despite his new billionaire status, James currently trails soccer superstar Lionel Messi on Forbeshighest-paid athletes list.

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