LeBron James Becomes First Active NBA Player to Make $1 Billion in Earnings

March 15, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ opening to $31 million at the box officeLos Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James‘ pockets just got a lot deeper, as the four-time champion was just announced as the first player in NBA history to make $1 billion in career earnings while still playing, per Sportico. That’s no small feat, and it’s a testament to the diversity in projects and endorsements James has his hands in off the court.

According to the Sportico, LeBron has earned $330 million in playing salary since getting drafted in 2003, while bringing in a whopping $700 million through endorsements, merchandise, licensing and media. His endorsements with AT&T, Beats, Blaze Pizza, GMC, PepsiCo, Rimowa and Walmart bring in over $100 million annually alone. That’s on top of the gobs of money he makes through his partnership with Nike, with which he signed a lifetime deal back in 2016 that brings in $30 million annually on its own.

Not only is LeBron the first player in NBA history to pass that threshold while active, but he’s also only the sixth athlete globally to reach that mark, a list that includes Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Roger Federer. Amongst other NBA players, the next closest player to reach him is Kevin Durant, who is currently sitting at $580 million in career earnings, followed by Stephen Curry at $430 million.

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SOURCE: CBS Sports, Jasmyn Wimbish

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