LeBron James is the most famous basketball player of the century and everything about his profile supports that claim. LeBron suits up on the court every year but his outside interests are beginning to permeate pop culture with more regularity. He starred in Space Jam 2. He started up his own production company. He invested in the Fenway Sports Group to become a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Liverpool FC. All this happened within the last five or so years.
On Thursday, the news we all expected to come eventually appeared: LeBron James has become a billionaire. Per Forbes:
After another monster year of earnings–totaling $121.2 million last year–Forbes estimates that James has officially become a billionaire, while still playing hoops.
The 37-year-old superstar has a net worth of $1 billion, by Forbes’ count. James, who’s missing the playoffs for just the fourth time in 19 seasons, is the first active NBA player to make the billionaires list. (Michael Jordan, the only other basketball billionaire, didn’t hit ten figures until 2014, more than a decade after he retired, thanks to a well-timed investment in the Charlotte Hornets basketball team.)
Does this add another layer to the MJ-LeBron GOAT conversation? Next, on Undisputed.
Nobody is surprised by this, given LeBron has earned $431 million in contracts alone over the course of his career. But I will say that I doubt many expected him to reach the milestone while an active player. As noted by Forbes above, Michael Jordan only got that far after buying a basketball team. Even with the Jordan brand he couldn't get there for a bit. LeBron, at 37, became a billionaire 10 years younger than MJ. Pretty remarkable stuff.
But LeBron still has some catching up to do on Michael Jeffery Jordan, who is now worth $1.7 billion. Always something to strive for.