The NBA superstar has earned more than $1 billion in his career, but that doesn’t mean he’s worth that much yet.
NBA great LeBron James has parlayed his towering achievements on the basketball court into lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Walmart and other top brands as well as a starring role in Space Jam: A New Legacy, opposite Bugs Bunny. But contrary to recent reports, there’s one jump shot the four-time league MVP has yet to hit: billionaire status.
James has earned more than $1 billion during his 18-year career, with nearly $400 million in salary and more than $600 million in off-the-court earnings, but that doesn’t make him a billionaire. After accounting for taxes, spending and investment returns, Forbes estimates James’ net worth to be about $850 million.
On the court, James’ Lakers contract makes him the NBA’s fifth-highest-paid player, but it’s his off-court savvy that puts him in a league of his own. Over the last year, James brought in an estimated $65 million through endorsements, memorabilia and appearances—a record for an active NBA player and $21 million more than Kevin Durant, the NBA’s off-the-court No. 2 for the same 12-month period. James’ biggest sponsor is Nike, which inked a lifetime endorsement agreement with him in 2016 that pays him tens of millions annually.
James has taken those millions in earnings and pumped them into a number of well-timed investments, high-end real estate and businesses of his own. His ability to turn star power into big money means one thing is a solid bet: The 36-year-old is on track to become a billionaire before his 40th birthday in December 2024, joining Michael Jordan (who hit the mark well after his retirement) as the second NBA player to do so. A spokesperson for James declined to comment on Forbes’ estimates.
Here’s a breakdown of LeBron James’ net worth and assets today.
The SpringHill Company: $300 million
James and his childhood friend and business partner, Maverick Carter, formed the SpringHill Co. in 2020, after raising $100 million from backers including James’ investment advisor, Paul Wachter, founder of Main Street Advisors; financial services firm Guggenheim Partners; Elisabeth Murdoch’s production company, Sister; and the University of California’s UC Investments. The company set out on an unapologetic mission to “empower greatness.”
SpringHill is named for the apartment complex in Akron, Ohio, where he and his mother finally found stability after living with an assortment of family members, friends and neighbors. It combines three companies into one: his marketing agency, the Robot Company—which counts among its clients JPMorgan Chase, Beats by Dre and Sprite—and SpringHill Entertainment, founded in 2007 as a production vehicle for the award-winning documentary about James’ high school years, More Than A Game. Its later scripted and unscripted projects include the recent reboot of the Michael Jordan hit Space Jam, the HBO documentary What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali, and unscripted series including the NBC competition show The Wall.
The third business, Uninterrupted, gives athletes a platform to directly reach consumers through social and traditional media, podcasts, in-person events and merchandise. It produces the HBO talk show The Shop, which features celebrities chatting in barbershops around the country. It also sells custom apparel, such as a line of hoodies designed by soccer star Megan Rapinoe to commemorate Pride Month.
The Information first reported in July that James was exploring a sale or investment that could value the business at $750 million; a source close to James confirmed to Forbes that the deal could happen in the next 60-90 days. James is the company’s largest single shareholder, although his stake is believed not to exceed 50%. Forbes values his stake at a more conservative $300 million, reflecting the uncertainty surrounding how much James owns and the fact that a deal has yet to be announced.
Real estate: $100 million
James has also pumped some of his earnings into real estate. He owns at least four properties, worth about $100 million in total. In Ohio, he built a $10 million mansion in his hometown of Akron. In California, James has snapped up three properties, two in the tony Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles that he bought in 2015 and 2017 for $21 million and $23 million, respectively. Last year, he shelled out $36.75 million for a 13,000-square-foot Beverly Hills spread that he is likely tearing down to build an estate.
Fenway Sports Group: $70 million
Another substantial holding: his investment in Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, half of Roush Fenway Racing and 80% of the New England Sports Network.
James acquired a minority stake in the English Premier League team in 2011 when his sports marketing group, LRMR, entered into a partnership with Fenway Sports Group in a deal brokered by Wachter. This year, Wachter, James and Carter exchanged their stake in the soccer club for part ownership of FSG. The transaction was part of a larger deal in which RedBird Capital Partners reportedly paid $750 million for a roughly 10% stake in the group.
Blaze Pizza: $30 million
In 2015, James walked away from an endorsement deal with McDonald’s worth an estimated $15 million over four years. He gambled on fast-growing Blaze Pizza, reportedly paying less than $1 million for a 10% slice of the made-to-order assembly-line-style pizza chain; Blaze now has more than 300 company-owned and franchised stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. James also owns a small share of 18 Blaze franchise stores in Florida and Illinois that are run by restaurateur Larry Levy.
Cash and other investments: $350 million
Even after assuming high taxes, an A-lister’s spending and hefty agent and management fees, Forbes estimates that James has at least $350 million worth of assets besides his stakes in SpringHill, Blaze and Fenway Sports Group and his real estate portfolio. That includes a collection of luxury cars, proceeds from the sale of Beats by Dre to Apple for $3 billion in 2014 (James owned a small sliver) and shares of publicly traded fitness company Beachbody, which acquired Ladder, the sports nutrition company James cofounded with Arnold Schwarzenegger, for $28 million in stock last year.