NBA superstar LeBron James has a lot to celebrate this week.
James’ latest film, “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” dominated the box office in its opening weekend, grossing an estimated $32 million. The sequel to the original “Space Jam” movie dropped Marvel’s “Black Widow” down to second place. In addition, the Los Angeles Lakers star reportedly became the first active NBA player with nine zeros in has career earnings number.
Sportico reported Thursday that the four-time NBA champion recently joined the exclusive boys and girls club of folks to have earned at least $1 billion thanks to his whopping $330 million NBA in career salary and another $700 million from merchandise, endorsements, his media company — seemingly SpringHill Entertainment as well as Uninterrupted — and other non-sports-related endeavors he’s racked up. The four-time NBA MVP’s partnerships include deals with AT&T, Beats, Blaze Pizza, GMC, Calm, PepsiCo, Rimowa, and much more, which reportedly rake in an estimated $100 million a year.
Perhaps the most monumental business deal in James’ career is the historic lifetime Nike contract he and his business manager and childhood friend Maverick Carter negotiated in 2015. It was the first of its kind and ultimately established the athlete as more than just a player but a powerhouse brand.
Many people online argued that Michael Jordan might have been the first basketball player to earn the title, having surpassed the $2 billion mark in net worth. However, the Chicago Bulls star achieved that status only after his playing career.
“LeBron is the first active player billionaire stop hating. He also did it in record time. Stop comparing MJ to King James cuz Bron is superior and it’s not even close,” wrote one Twitter user in defense of the 36-year-old. They added, “Bron’s business savvy is just superior. That’s why he’s a billionaire at 30. Jordan wasn’t business smart.”
Another user commented, “He’s a BLACK Billionaire with a BLACK baddie on his side. Love to see it LeBron & Savannah.”
“Good Morning to all LeBron fans! The GOAT is a Billionaire!!” wrote a third.
James joins a reported group that includes the likes of Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Roger Federer, who were all active players in their respective sports when they passed 10 figures in earnings. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are also thought to be next in line to cross this significant threshold.