While nerds (pundits) will continue to argue pointlessly over whether LeBron James or Michael Jordan (or Kobe) is the GOAT, LeBron James has reached a huge milestone.
James is a billionaire.
Forbes reported Thursday that James' net worth surpassed the $1 billion mark after he earned $121.2 million in 2021.
Much like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant before him, James has established a media persona that is larger than just his on-the-court play. Names like "Kobe" and "LeBron" are known in languages across the planet. In 2003, LeBron James was possibly the most hyped prospect in NBA history. He was already called "King James" before he was legally allowed to vote and drink. His basketball skills were never in doubt from the first minute he played in the NBA. His NBA game has earned him $385 million in on-court earnings as part of a 19-year career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers.
Most people are often surprised to learn that players like this often make more from endorsements and outside, off-the-court business ventures. James has earned $900 million for his off-the-court moves. As diversified portfolio as an athlete has ever had, James has money in ventures such as the Fenway Sports Group, (which includes MLB's Boston Red Sox) the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, and the EPL's Liverpool. You can also add $80 million in real estate ownerships and $30 million from Blaze Pizza.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the only NBA players who have ever been worth a billion dollars. Players like Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson have been charted in the areas of $600 million, but not a billion. This wealth is pretty grotesque when compared to the rest of the world, but these athletes have certainly worked hard for their money.
As for LeBron James, he has expressed interest in owning an NBA team after his retirement. This is not only plausible. It's inevitable.