LeBron James has added another title to his collection: billionaire. Forbes estimated the Los Angeles Lakers star’s net worth at $1bn in a report published on Thursday. He is the first active NBA player to reach the status.
Michael Jordan, whose net worth Forbes has pegged at $1.7bn, didn’t reach billionaire status until 11 years after he retired. Forbes estimated James earned $121.2 million last year, a figure eclipsed only by Lionel Messi, who brought in $130m.
“If it happens. It’s my biggest milestone,” James 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.”
Despite earning close to $400m in salary during his NBA career with the Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, James’ off-court earnings far eclipse that. Forbes estimated James, 37, has brought in more than $900m from business investments and endorsements.
Those include his entertainment group, SpringHill, which he sold a minority stake in for $725m, according to Forbes. SpringHill has produced shows such as The Shop and a docuseries on Naomi Osaka, as well as the film Space Jam: A New Legacy, which James starred in.
He also has a 1% stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns Liverpool FC, the Boston Red Sox and recently agreed to buy the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. James bought a 10% stake in Blaze Pizza for less than $1m in 2012, which Forbes says is now worth $30m.
The 37-year-old’s real estate portfolio is estimated to be worth $80m, and includes a $10m property in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and two homes in Los Angeles worth a combined $60m.
James was raised by a single mother in Akron, and has put significant money back in his hometown, opening a school and planning housing and a community center to assist families and children.
On the court, James has won four NBA championships, been named league MVP four times and been selected to 18 All-Star teams. He also has won two Olympic gold medals.