LA Lakers forward LeBron James is the first active NBA player to become a billionaire, according to Forbes Magazine.
The publication says the four-time NBA MVP and 18-time All-Star has a net worth of $1 billion. Two other NBA legends, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, also hit ten figures, but after their playing careers were over.
James, 37, made $121.2 million last year in earnings, ranking him as the second-highest paid athlete in the world, behind Paris Saint-Germain soccer star Lionel Messi. James said that reaching $1 billion is something he has been thinking about for some time now.
“I want to maximize my business,” James told GQ in 2014. “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.”
Off the court, James starred in “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and, according to Forbes, sold a minority stake in his production company, SpringHill, at a $725 million valuation. SpringHill produced the “Space Jam” sequel, which grossed $163 million worldwide; “The Shop,” which moved from HBO to YouTube last year; and a docuseries with tennis star Naomi Osaka. The company is also producing a remake of the 1990 comedy “House Party.”
Forbes have estimated that James made the rest of his $1 billion from his $500 million from cash and investments. Additionally, with SpringHill, James made money from the sale of Beats by Dre to Apple in 2014 and has shares in fitness company Beachbody.
$90 million from Fenway Sports Group. James was at one time a minority owner of Liverpool FC. He exchanged that for an estimated 1% ownership stake in Fenway Sports Group. The group owns Liverpool, Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox and half of Roush Fenway Racing and recently agreed to spend $900 million to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins.
About $80 million in real estate holdings, including a $10 million mansion in Akron, Ohio, and two homes in the Los Angeles area for which James paid a combined $59.75 million.
Interests in the food and beverage industry that include $30 million in pizza chain Blaze Pizza, which James bought a 10% stake in for less than $1 million in 2012.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: OUTSIDER.COM
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