Most people in the US know that LeBron James is debatably the best basketball player who ever lived but not many know that he is also a billionaire entrepreneur and successful investor. In 2022, LeBron James’ net worth crossed $1 billion, making him the first active NBA player to be a billionaire. Michael Jordan is also a billionaire, but he hit these figures a decade after he retired thanks to various endorsements and smart investments he made during and after his career. In 2023, LeBron James’s net worth exceeds $1.2 billion.

Today, LeBron James is not only one of the best and most exciting basketball players to watch. He’s also a wealthy entrepreneur with a multimillion-dollar real estate portfolio. To learn more about his earnings and how LeBron James’ net worth hit a billion, keep reading.

LeBron James Net Worth Breakdown:

LeBron James’ net worth reached a billion in 2022, but in 2023, it has likely surged even higher. Because of the incredible amount of interest he draws, he regularly secures extraordinarily lucrative deals as one of the top-earning athletes worldwide, and his endorsement earnings often go above $100 million a year. These many endorsement deals, combined with his income from the businesses he is invested in, make his net worth exceed $1.2 billion today.

Asset Contribution to Net Worth
Cleveland Cavaliers, LA Lakers, and Miami Heat salaries $479+ million (total)
First Nike endorsement deal $90 million over 7 years
Other endorsement deals $50 – $100+ million per year
Spring Hill Company Approx. $300 million stake
Stake in Blaze Pizza $40 million
Fenway Sports Group Minority stake of 1%, approx. $90 million
Stake in Beats by Dre 1% sold for approx. $30 million to Apple
Stakes in other businesses N/A
Real estate Approx. $80 million
TV appearances N/A
Social media sponsored posts $400,000+ per post
Watch collection Approx. $500,000
Car collection $1.5+ million
Total Net Worth $1.2 billion

LeBron James’ Early Life

LeBron James is an American basketball player born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio. His mother was only 16 years old when she gave birth to LeBron, and he was raised by her alone. In a tribute to his single mom, LeBron says: “She’s my champion”.

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The small family of two moved many times over the years before LeBron James found his fame as a high school basketball prospect in high school.

LeBron started playing basketball in elementary school, and his skill was immediately noticed on the court. Following elementary school, LeBron James studied at St Vincent St Mary High School, where he also played basketball.

In his senior year in high school, LeBron became the youngest person to join the All-USA first team of USA Today. When he reached his junior year, he received the title “Gatorade National Player of the Year”, as well as the nickname “King James”. He actually refers to himself as “just a kid from Akron”.

LeBron was so good, it was impossible not to notice him on the court. When he was still in high school, he attracted the attention of popular magazines and he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and SLAM.

It seems like people knew even back then that he would become great in the world of basketball. And they were right to do so since, in the 2003 NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers chose him to join them. He was the youngest player to be voted “Rookie of the Year” and scored 40 points in a single game (which only a small handful of players have ever done).

Today, LeBron James is married to his high school sweetheart Savannah Brinson. The couple married in 2013 and have three children.

LeBron James Net Worth: The Athlete’s Path to Success

In 2014, LeBron was asked what he thinks about becoming a billionaire:

It’s my biggest milestone. 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.

A year ago, he succeeded in this goal. But, how exactly did he get to this point? Let’s dig into his story.

LeBron James’ Basketball Career

To date, LeBron James is a four-time NBA champion, a four-time league MVP, and a 19-time All-Star Champion. If there is a record in the NBA, he’s broken it. During the 2023 season, when everyone anticipated his retirement, he broke the record of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the “all-time leading scorer” title.

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In 2023, LeBron James is in his 20th season, counting one of what will probably are the last years he will be on the basketball court. He said that he’s thinking of retirement, though we don’t know when this will happen. He is currently the oldest active player in the NBA, though he is still playing like he is 20 years younger.

LeBron’s First Years in an NBA Team

LeBron James decided not to enroll in college because he was allowed to join the pros right out of high school. He was drafted in 2003 by his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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During his first decade in the NBA, LeBron James earned over $126 million in salary, and this doesn’t count the millions he got from endorsements.

His first contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers earned him $18.8 million for the first four years, followed by a $60 million extension for $13 to $15.8 million by the 2009-2010 season.

LeBron at the Miami Heat

In 2011, LeBron decided to leave the team and join the Miami Heat. In Miami, he earned approximately $110 million over six years, aiming to win the NBA championship alongside legends Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

His decision was abrupt and unexpected. He announced that he’s leaving his home team in a televised special called “The Decision”. This decision is one of the most controversial moves in the history of sports as it felt to many fans that he was abandoning them.

He spent four seasons playing with The Heat and won 2 titles in 2012 and 2013 before he returned to Cleveland in the 2014-2015 season. However, since he already achieved substantial fame by this point, he only agreed on one-year contracts because it allowed him to boost his earnings each subsequent season.

Returning to the Cavs

James immediately made the Cavs into championship contenders but they lost to Stephen Curry and Golden State Warriors in the 2014-2015 finals. In 2016, right when he won the NBA championship for the 3rd time (1st with the Cavs), LeBron James signed a new three-year deal with the Cavs worth $100 million, making him the highest-paid player in the league.

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers

Fast forward to the 2018-2019 season, and LeBron decided to leave the team once again. He signed his first four-year $153 million deal with the Lakers, followed by an $85 million contract extension, followed by his second two-year deal with the Lakers in 2022 worth $99.02 million.

The 2022 contract makes LeBron James the highest-paid NBA player – and he will surpass Kevin Durant, another basketball legend, in earnings over time. When his last contract expires, LeBron will have earned over half a billion in NBA salaries alone. And still, this won’t be his biggest source of income – he’s earned a lot more from endorsements over the years.

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Endorsement Deals

Most of LeBron James’ net worth comes from endorsement deals. Over the years, the athlete has earned nearly a billion from his deals with Nike, Kia, Microsoft, Beats by Dre, Baskin Robins, Samsung, and more. Reportedly, he earns between $50 and $100 million per year from endorsements alone. It is speculated that endorsements and business ventures earned LeBron James over $900 million by 2022.

Let’s check out his most publicly discussed and biggest endorsements over the years.

Nike

The biggest endorsement deal for LeBron James so far is with Nike. When he was only 18 years old, Rebook and Adidas offered him endorsement deals, but he rejected them, which was one of the best calls he ever made.

As soon as he completed high school and went to the pros, Nike signed LeBron for a seven-year deal worth $93 million.

In 2015, LeBron signed a landmark lifetime endorsement deal for Nike worth a whopping $1 billion.

Reportedly, he now earns $30+ million per year from the company from his signature shoe line, his salary, and royalty payments.

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This has been the biggest deal in the history of Nike so far. The King’s logo is now pasted on a dedicated facility on the Beaverton campus by Nike in Oregon. They named it the “LeBron James Innovation Center”. This facility is a center for research and engineering to improve the athlete experience.

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Beats by Dre

For some time, he endorsed Beats by Dre, but he also had a 1% minority stake in the company. The brand was sold to Apple for a total of $3 billion, giving LeBron James a cut of $30 million – and this doesn’t even include the money he got for the initial endorsement.

McDonald’s

For years, LeBron James was an endorser for McDonald’s. In 2015, LeBron James decided not to sign an endorsement agreement worth $15 million with McDonald’s to pursue another venture – his investment in the Blaze Pizza chain.

PepsiCo

Years after he signed an endorsement deal with Coca-Cola (2003), LeBron James decided to sponsor the company’s biggest rival, PepsiCo. In 2021, LeBron James followed the NBA’s lead and signed a deal with PepsiCo and Mountain Dew. We don’t know his earnings from this deal.

Movie Appearances

LeBron James has not only dominated the basketball court – he is also making a splash in Hollywood. From movie appearances to guest spots on several TV shows, he shows that he is a charismatic actor. Whether he plays a fictional role or plays himself, this has added yet another success to his already successful career. Let’s go through his most notable appearances:

  • “Flintown Kids” in 2005
  • “High School Phenoms” in 2006
  • “The Story of SpongeBob Square Pants” in 2009
  • “Trainwreck” in 2015
  • “Cleveland Hustles” in 2016
  • “Smallfoot” in 2018
  • “American Trial: The Eric Garner Story” in 2019
  • “Kobe Bryant” since 2020
  • “LeBron James’ Space Jam 2 a.k.a Space Jam: A New Legacy” in 2021
  • “Black Ice” in 2022
  • “Hustle” in 2022
  • “Shooting Stars” in 2023
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His earnings from movie roles are generally not public information.

Philanthropy

LeBron James might be a billionaire NBA superstar, but he hasn’t forgotten about his roots. He has donated to various causes over the years and even set up his own foundation, the LeBron James Family Foundation.

The LeBron James Family Foundation has achieved great things over the years and has been involved actively in philanthropic ventures. It focuses on various initiatives to help children and families, boost education, support community programs, and address social issues. Some of the most notable activities include:

  • Mohammed Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum
  • After-School All-Stars program, aimed to help at-risk children
  • Donation to ONEXONE, a program that supports children
  • Donation to the Boys and Girls Club of America
  • Funding for the ‘I Promise School’
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LeBron James on Social Media

Part of LeBron James’ net worth comes from his social media presence. The King earns a lot from his social media channels, seeing how he uses them for sponsored posts. To date, he has over 159 million followers and reportedly earns over $400,000 per sponsored post.

LeBron James’s Business Ventures and Investments

Yes, a significant portion of LeBron James’ net worth is derived from his lucrative endorsements and successful basketball career. However, LeBron, The King, has also accumulated millions through various business ventures and holds substantial investments in real estate, vehicles, and luxury watches.

Business Ventures

LeBron James has founded – or co-founded – several highly profitable businesses over the years.

SpringHill Entertainment

LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter co-founded a very successful production company called SpringHill Entertainment in 2007. The TV and movie production brand is a major success today. Some of its investors include Fenway Sports Group, the Boston Red Sox owner, and Epic Games.

lebron james springhill
Source: Bloomberg

SpringHill is named after the Akron apartment complex where LeBron James lived with his mother, and it combines three companies: the athlete platform Uninterrupted, the James’ Robot Company marketing agency, and SpringHill Entertainment.

It was SpringHill Entertainment that produced the 2021 “Space Jam” movie. LeBron also used the production company for his “More Than a Game” award-winning documentary, which recounts The King’s high school years.

The company is valued at $725 million today and while his exact stake in it is unknown, LeBron James is one of the biggest stakeholders of Springhill Entertainment.

Blaze Pizza

When he was still under contract with McDonald’s for an unknown sum, LeBron decided to invest in a startup called Blaze Pizza. Soon after, he turned down the extension offer from McDonalds and decided to go all-in with the pizza brand. Today, he owns over 20 Blaze Pizza franchises and has a stake that’s valued at around $30 – $40 million.

lebron james blaze pizza
Source: Fox Business

Fenway Sports Group

Over the years, LeBron has frequently spoken about his dream to own an NBA team. While he hasn’t made this dream come true yet, he has a stake in several sports clubs, starting with the soccer team Liverpool FC.

In 2011, LeBron bought a 2% stake in Liverpool F.C. from the Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Red Sox. In 2021, he joined the group as one of their partners, so he’s now a part owner of the Boston Red Sox, RFK Racing, New England Patriots, and Liverpool FC.

The exact value of LeBron’s stake in the group is unknown, but it’s estimated to be around 1% of the group. This is worth around $90 million today.

Other Business Ventures and Investments

These three might be his biggest business investments, but they aren’t the only ones.

LeBron is an investor in Lobos 1707 tequila, a brand that sells bottles worth up to $160 each. He also bought a stake in Canyon Bicycles with Maverick Carter, reportedly spending $30 million to obtain it.

Real Estate Portfolio

Back when the family lived in Miami, LeBron lived in a mansion in Biscayne Bay worth $9 million in 2010. In 2015, he sold this property for $13.4 million, reaping quite a profit from it.

A year later, LeBron bought a $21 million mansion in Brentwood, Los Angeles. He sold this property, too, in 2021 for $19.6 million.

In November 2021, he bought a new Brentwood mansion worth $23 million, which he probably still owns to this day. He also bought a mansion in Beverly Hills in 2020 worth $36.8 million and had it demolished to build his dream home.

In Ohio, LeBron James owns one of the most luxurious homes worth $9.5 million. He bought his property in 2003 after joining the NBA, and probably still owns it.

Today, he owns at least three properties worth $80-$90 million.

Finally, LeBron and Arnold Schwarzenegger joined a group that invested in an office building in Manhattan, located at 787 Eleventh Avenue, New York City.

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Car Collection

All the money in LeBron James’ net worth has allowed him to create quite the luxury car collection over the years. At one point, LeBron and Dwayne Wade bought matching Porsches, though we don’t know if he still owns one today.

LeBron bought a car for his mother, too, a Porsche for her birthday, as well as a Ferrari Testarossa for his wife, Savannah.

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Here are some of the cars LeBron has owned so far:

  • Bentley Continental GT worth around $218,400
  • Dodge Challenger SRT worth $60,000 to $80,000
  • 2010 Chevy Camaro SS worth $18,000 to $25,000
  • Ferrari 599 worth $200,000 to $300,000
  • Ferrari F430 Spider worth $130,000 to $180,000
  • Kia K900 worth $50,000 to $65,000
  • Ferrari 458 Spider worth $230,000 to $300,000
  • Mercedes-Benz Maybach 57S worth $150,000 to $200,000
  • Lamborghini Aventador Roadster worth $450,000 to $550,000
  • Porsche 911 Turbo S worth $200,000 to $220,000
  • 1975 Chevy Impala worth $10,000 to $20,000

Luxury Watches

Finally, LeBron often posts about his luxury watch collection on social media. Some of the watches he owns are:

  • Gold Rolex Day Date II, worth $40,000 to $60,000
  • Special edition gold Royal Oak, worth $50,000 to $70,000
  • 18-carat white gold set with 608 diamonds, worth $200,000 to $300,000
  • Patek Philippe Grand Complications Celestial 6102R, worth $300,000 to $400,000
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What Can We Learn From LeBron James’ Success?

LeBron James is a marvel of human talent, perseverance, and dedication to a craft. However, as former President Obama said “They might think they’ve got a pretty good jump shot, or a pretty good flow. But our kids can’t all aspire to be LeBron or Lil Wayne,” most people won’t ever reach such incredible heights of skill, talent, or success. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from people like LeBron James.

The most important lesson to be learned is to find something you love and pursue it with as much passion and dedication as you can and you will probably find success eventually (assuming the goal is somewhat reasonable of course).

We can also learn from LeBron’s success outside of his basketball career. He knows the importance of skilled negotiation and informed decision making. Some of his decisions, such as turning down McDonald’s for $15 million to invest in a business have been surprising – but have turned out to be extremely profitable.

LeBron’s highly profitable endorsement deals are massive drivers of his tremendous wealth. This may not seem relevant to everyone but it shows the importance of building a brand, whether it’s for yourself or a business. He’s demonstrated how powerful it is to align with the right companies to enhance personal and professional credibility.

LeBron James’ commitment to his roots is incredible, too. He could have left his hometown behind when he became a star and never looked back but he didn’t. He’s a grand philanthropist and his foundation exemplifies the positive impact one can have on his community. He’s built a legacy that extends beyond personal wealth, which serves as a big lesson in the importance of using one’s influence for good.