“I want to be the first billionaire while playing basketball” LeBron James’ meteoric rise to billionairedom

LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers star, has nearly accomplished everything that can be accomplished as an NBA player on the court, taking his name to the height of an NBA brand. Now, he reached another huge milestone off the court as the 4 time NBA champion joins the billionaire club as the first ever active basketball player.

After a gigantic earning of $121.2 million over the last year, the 37 year old Lakers star is listed officially by Forbes as a billionaire while still appearing on the court. No other player in the history of NBA has ever achieved this feat except for LeBron James. Both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had joined the billionaire club before, but that was after their retirement from the court. 

Despite LeBron’s huge earning from his salary during his NBA career, which amounts to nearly $400 million, he has earned the lion’s share of his wealth from his off court endeavors. Forbes estimated that the Lakers legend has brought in more than $900 million from these investments and endorsements, which include his entertainment group Springhill, his stake in the Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Liverpool football club, and his stake in Blaze pizza. 

Talking about 2 time Olympic gold medalist’s achievement in the ESPN First Take, sports journalist Stephen A. Smith says that the LeBron brand transcends the game of basketball. When asked about LeBron missing the playoffs and whether the LeBron brand will be affected by it, Stephen A. responded that the LeBron brand will always be prolific in its own right, on and off the court. 

Sports analyst and former NBA player Kendrick Perkins also shares his thought on ESPN First Take regarding the Lakers legend joining the big buck club. Perkins has been associated with LeBron since the seventh grade, and has watched the growth of LeBron James from up close as a friend. 

“I got to see the side of LeBron James growing up that nobody else saw. I witnessed a kid, a 16 year old kid that was before his time.” Perkins became nostalgic in his answer. “I remember when he got drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. They have an interview out. He was 18 or 19 years of age. And he said right then, he said ‘I want to be the first guy to reach a billion dollars while playing the game of basketball.’ And, damn it, he did it!”

In an interview with GQ in 2014, LeBron mentioned that hitting the billionaire milestone is one of the biggest for him. “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.”

And he did exactly that, he hit his biggest milestone, taking the LeBron brand to new heights where no one ever reached before. 


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