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LeBron James becomes first active billionaire in the NBA

According to Forbes, LeBron James is officially a billionaire.
Credit: AP
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) smiles during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Los Angeles, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

AKRON, Ohio — In a 2014 interview with GQ, LeBron James stated his goal of becoming a billionaire.

"If it happens. It’s my biggest milestone," the four-time NBA MVP said at the time. "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."

Eight years later, James can officially celebrate.

On Thursday, Forbes revealed that after another year of big-time earnings, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar now qualifies as a billionaire. In doing so, James becomes just the third NBA player to reach such status, alongside Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and the first to do so while still an active player.

While the Akron native has amassed more than $387 million in earnings via his NBA contracts since first entering the league in as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, a slew of endorsements, business deals and investments have helped him cross the billion-dollar threshold. 

Forbes breaks down James' fortune as follows:

  • The Spring Hill Company: $300 million
  • Fenway Sports Group: $90 million
  • Real estate: $80 million
  • Blaze Pizza: $30 million
  • Cash and other investments: More than $500 million

Last month, Forbes also revealed that the 37-year-old James was the second-highest earning athlete of the past year, trailing only soccer star Lionel Messi. Of James' reported $121.2 million in earnings, $41.1 million came from his salary with the Lakers, while he totaled an estimated $80 million in off-field earnings.

Entering the final season of his contract with the Lakers, James is currently eligible to sign a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the franchise, although it remains unclear whether or not he will do so.

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