LeBron James might eventually go down as the best basketball player to grace the hardwood, but that will not be the only part of his legacy. James has his heights set for greatness to continue well beyond the moment he drops his last bucket.
James is more than the brightest basketball star in the game. The 33-year-old has long been the face of companies, both big and small. Moreover, James has prioritized the growth of his own business ventures, and he’s made certain to give back to his community through his foundation.
Let’s take a look at how "King James" has accumulated his immense wealth and ensured he will be relevant long after he leaves the game.
What is LeBron James' NBA salary?
At the ripe age of 19, James signed his first NBA contract worth $12.9 million across three seasons. James, who surpassed 30,000 career points this season (good for seventh all-time), is not surprisingly also near the top of the list for the league’s greatest earners.
According to Spotrac, James will have earned $233.89 million across 15 NBA seasons, including 2017-18, making him the sixth-ranked NBA earner of all time. Counterparts ahead of James on the all-time list are Tim Duncan ($240.1 million), Dirk Nowitzki ($246.6 million), Shaquille O’Neal ($286.3 million), Kobe Bryant ($323.3 million) and Kevin Garnett ($334.3 million). James will move into fourth place after next season and has a chance to finish his career at the top of the heap.
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James is currently in the middle season of a three-year, $100 million deal with the Cavs. During the 2016-17 season, James was the highest-paid player ($31 million) in the league for the first time in his career. His $33.286 million base salary this season is the second-highest in the game behind Stephen Curry.
What sponsorship deals does LeBron James have?
Being among the game’s best players since stepping foot on the court, James has been sought after by many companies to be their face. James currently reps the following companies: Beats by Dre, Coca-Cola, Intel, Kia Motor and Verizon. While this is certainly an impressive list, the bulk of James’ sponsorship earnings come from Nike.
James has sponsored Nike since he was 18 years old, when he signed his first sneaker deal worth $90 million across seven years. In December of 2015, James inked a lifetime deal with Nike that has the potential to earn him $1 billion. James’ Nike brand sneakers are the best-selling among current NBA players, according to a Forbes report from March of 2017.
Did you know?
Despite raking in over $300 million in annual revenues since 2013, James’ branded sneakers fall well short of the haul NBA legend Michael Jordan’s sneakers bring to Nike. The athletic company reported 2016 revenue of $2.8 billion in Jordan’s sneakers. It seems this in an area James might never catch Jordan.
What businesses does LeBron James have?
Besides earning extreme cash courtesy of his playing salary and from his image, James has direct and indirect involvement in the business world.
James owns a reported 10 percent of the Blaze Pizza franchise. In about five years, James and his partners have turned a near $1 million investment into $25 million based on a recent valuation of the company. James also generates earnings from Blaze Pizza via promotional sponsorships.
James is co-owner of SpringHill Entertainment with his agent, Maverick Carter. SpringHill produces four television shows (“Survivor’s Remorse” on STARZ, CNBC’s “Cleveland Hustles,” Disney XD’s “Becoming” and NBC’s game show “The Wall”). The entertainment company has also produced two movies (“I am Giant: Victor Cruz” and “More than a Game”). SpringHill Entertainment is behind James’ multimedia company Uninterrupted, which provides a digital avenue for athletes to tell their stories.
SpringHill Entertainment isn’t a short-term project — instead the company’s vision is grandiose, as Carter explains.
"LeBron and I have always been interested in the long game,” Carter told ESPN. “And the long game here is to build a media company. To really, truly build a media company."
How many followers does LeBron James have on social media?
James is fairly active on social media, and his reach is tremendous. As of Feb. 14, 2018, James has 40.7 million followers on Twitter, 35.3 million followers on Instagram and 22.7 million followers on Facebook. When James posts on any of his social media accounts, his fans respond in huge numbers.
"Every time LeBron tweets about Blaze, it's like a sonic boom," Blaze co-founder Elise Wetzel told ESPN’s Darren Rovell. "It jump-starts the conversation with tens of millions of people in the U.S. and around the world and leads to a genuine interaction between people who know and love the brand and people who haven't heard of us.”
LeBron keeps his followers in tune with the businesses he is associated with, but also utilizes his feeds to promote his charities, which is of utmost importance to him.
What kind of charity work does LeBron James do?
The LeBron James Family Foundation is the pulse of James’ charitable ventures. The foundation partners with several groups, including Akron Public Schools, The University of Akron and JP Morgan Chase in an effort to improve the quality of life for school age children through their formative years to adulthood.
“The LeBron James Family Foundation’s mission is to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives. We believe that an education and living an active, healthy lifestyle is pivotal to the development of children and young adults.” — Michele Campbell, LeBron James Family Foundation
At the heart of the foundation, there are two schools: one for elementary-aged children and another for secondary school students. James separately continues to support his former high school, St. Vincent - St. Mary High School in Akron, OH. Finally, James has long supported the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
James is not simply a face plastered on the respective group materials and website, but rather he spends an exorbitant amount of personal time in foundation activities from top to bottom management and in the collective fundraising efforts.
What is LeBron James' net worth?
In Forbes’ “2017 World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities,” James had estimated earnings of $86.2 million, which ranked second among athletes to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo ($93 million). James was ranked 10th among the entire group with Sean "Diddy" Combs ranked No. 1 at $130 million.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, James’ fortune is estimated to be $400 million. As James continues to play the game he loves and cultivates his many off-court ventures, it would be no shock to see James become a billionaire.