As the face of basketball, and (arguably) the NBA's greatest player ever, it should be no surprise that LeBron James rakes in the dough. This season alone, the 36-year-old superstar is set to make over $39 million.
And while it's impossible to tell exactly how much James is really worth today, it's not hard to figure out the dude is close to becoming a literal billionaire. Next year, he'll be on track to reach a major and pretty unbelievable financial milestone in 2021: career earnings of $1 billion. According to Forbes, he will be one of just five players worldwide to hit that mark while still being an active player.
"LeBron James is the NBA’s top-earning player for the seventh straight year, including off-court income (2016-17 was the only season of his career James had the highest playing salary). He’s expected to earn $95.4 million, including an estimated $64 million from endorsements, memorabilia and media. It is a record haul for an NBA player and the highest ever in American team sports. The historic year will push his career earnings to $1 billion, including $700 million off the court. He joins Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in reaching the three-comma club while still an active athlete.
The four-time MVP’s salary with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2020-21 season was set to be $39.2 million, but James and every other NBA player will have 20% of their pay placed in an escrow account to help balance the 50-50 split in leaguewide revenue, as defined by the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. Altogether, he will lose out on about $8 million and a chance to enter the rarefied club of athletes who have earned $100 million or more in a single year. The only other Americans to reach that peak as active athletes were Woods and Mayweather."
LeBron James has grown his brand well beyond the basketball court. With a foot in clothing, business, culture, and even politics, he has become a global figurehead with enormous power and tons of revenue.
The craziest part is, he's only 36-years-old. With a couple more years on the court, and some thought-out tactics after retirement, he can continue to grow his brand and sphere of influence for decades to come.
Like it or not, LeBron James has become a pretty big deal and that's not likely to slow down any time soon.