Lebron James' Net Worth in 2022
Find out if Lebron's in the three comma club.
You may have followed his professional basketball career right from its start with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
You may remember the NBA Championship he won with the Miami Heat.
Maybe you don’t follow sports, so you just recognize his name as a sports star.
More than an NBA All-Star player, LeBron James is an entrepreneur, smart investor, and philanthropist. Over his career, he’s built wealth through brand endorsements, investments, real estate, movies, and creating companies. He’s been focused on the long-game.
Now, LeBron James, age 37, is being recognized as the first NBA player to become a billionaire.
While attaining this level of wealth is an achievement, James also uses his money to give back to families in his hometown: Akron, Ohio. Through his foundation, he helps kids and their parents achieve educational and financial goals through education.
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How much is LeBron James’s net worth in 2022?
Lebron’s net worth is an estimated $1 billion in 2022.
When Celebrity Net Worth wrote their article on LeBron James’s net worth, it anticipated that he would become a billionaire in 2035.
That was a generous timeline. It’s 2022, and James is the first NBA player to make Forbes’s billionaire list.
How did LeBron James make his money?
LeBron James is well-known for his basketball career, and that’s where he first started building wealth. James also diversified and increased his income with brand endorsements, investments, and entrepreneurship.
Starting his basketball career at age 18, James has made more than $385 million as a star basketball player.
He started his career playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers on a $18.8 million four-year contract, and his most recent contract signing was for an impressive $153 million over four years.
James’s career moves haven’t always been about contracts and financial gains. They’ve been about important career milestones and achievements that also made James a more valuable player to have on a team.
James’s salary from his basketball career is impressive on its own. However, James used these financial earnings and his fame to open other doors for additional revenue streams.
Over his career, James has endorsed many brands, including McDonald’s, Microsoft, State Farm, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Samsung.
With his brand endorsements, James has focused on the long-game. It’s reported that his contracts include ownership or equity in the company as part of his compensation, which makes his brand endorsements more lucrative long-term.
One possible example of this approach is Beats by Dre. James endorsed Beats by Dre and also owned 1 percent of the company. From that ownership stake, James received $30 million when Beats by Dre was purchased by Apple.
Arguably, his biggest endorsement partnership is Nike. When he started his basketball career, he signed a seven-year contract for $90 million. James has continued to grow this endorsement partnership with Nike over the years with a signature shoe line, which brings in $20 million each year.
He has also signed a new $1 billion lifetime Nike endorsement contract. It’s Nike’s first lifetime endorsement contract.
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Rather than rely on his sports career for his only income, James has made some savvy investments and some based on his personal interests.
James has a 10 percent stake in Blaze Pizza. When he invested in 2012, it was $1 million. Over the years, that has grown to a $30 million value.
Pursuing his interest in sports and owning a team, James purchased a 2 percent ownership stake in Liverpool F.C. He recently traded this ownership stake for a 1 percent stake in Fenway Sports Group. His stake in Fenway Sports Group is worth $90 million.
James is also an entrepreneur. He has founded multiple companies, including SpringHill and Ladder.
SpringHill is a production company. It has produced sports movies including Space Jam: A New Legacy, which starred James, and a documentary series about Naomi Osaka for Netflix.
The company is valued at $725 million, and James is the majority shareholder. His stake in SpringHill is estimated at $300 million.
James and Arnold Schwarzenegger cofounded Ladder, which is a sports nutrition company. They sold the company to Beachbody, for stock worth $28 million.
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Even while diversifying income streams and making investment decisions, James has also turned down some financially advantageous opportunities. However, these “missed opportunities” show how James balances short-term and long-term goals.
At the start of his basketball career, James opted for Nike’s $90 million contract instead of Reebok’s $115 million. Although these were two good offers, there was a $25 million difference.
Purely from a short-term financial perspective, that’s a $25 million loss. However, James has maintained and developed his relationship with Nike and now has a $1 billion lifetime contract.
Another decision that was a short-term financial loss for James was his move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat. His contract with the Heat was below market value, but he wanted to win an NBA Championship and with Christ Bosh and Dwayne Wade.
That short-term financial trade-off, paid off. James and his team won an NBA Championship, which further increased his value as a basketball player and the value he brought to brand endorsements
A third example of James’s long-term perspective was turning down an estimated $15 million opportunity to endorse McDonald’s again to invest in Blaze Pizza. James’s investment in Blaze Pizza was a good financial move since the initial $1 million is now $30 million.
With all of James’s success, these decisions aren’t really missed opportunities. Instead, they were about pursuing long-term goals. As he was making many of these decisions, James was already quite successful financially and in his career. In other words, he could make choices based on future gains instead of short-term wants.
While short-term financial goals and gains matter, keeping a long-term perspective in mind helps you build wealth.
How does LeBron James spend his money?
LeBron James spends money on real estate and on his community work through The LeBron James Family Foundation.
James owns $80 million worth of real estate, including two mansions in California and his Bath Township home in Ohio.
James’s first California mansion was in Los Angeles’s Brentwood neighborhood. It was 9350 square feet and cost $21 million. James later sold it for $19.6 million and bought a different mansion in the same neighborhood for $23 million.
James also owns a $36.8 million Beverly Hills mansion.
Not one to forget his roots, James also has a home in Ohio. It’s worth $9.5 million and is 30,000 square feet with 20 rooms.
Although James spent money on his properties, they also contribute to his overall wealth and net worth.
Charitable work and The LeBron James Family Foundation
Even before starting his own charitable foundation, James has found ways to give back. As he was deciding between joining the Miami Heat and staying with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he created a documentary called “The Decision” that raised $6 million for charity.
Interested in helping his community at home, James works through his foundation to promote generational change for families. His foundation started with one-off events to contribute to the community. Now, it does something bigger, with much greater impact.
Through The LeBron James Family Foundation, James offers educational opportunities to kids from elementary school to college. Kids benefit from free tuition, uniforms, bikes, helmets, breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The schools also offer free transportation within two miles.
Schools also offer support for parents — assistance earning a GED and job placements. There’s also a food pantry at the school.
Students who meet certain requirements are also eligible for four-year scholarships to The University of Akron. In addition to financial support, students also participate in on-campus programs that support them to graduation.
James’s investment in his hometown is awe-inspiring and the effects of his work will be lasting. Another example of how James keeps his focus on long-term benefits while ensuring that present needs are met.
LeBron James hasn’t let short-term gains keep him from long-term rewards. In some cases, he’s turned down short-term opportunities for long-term benefits. Whether it’s choosing a lower salary from the Miami Heat or another endorsement opportunity with McDonald’s, James’s career and financial decisions show that he plays the long game.
Even his philanthropic efforts through The LeBron James Family Foundation focus on long-term goals – generational change by helping kids achieve academic goals and attend college.
And now, as the first NBA player to make the billionaire list, it’s clearer than ever that playing the long game was a wise strategy.
An important lesson in life and in finance.
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Photo provided by Erik Drost under the creative common's license.