LeBron James becomes first billionaire playing in the NBA, Forbes says

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player also invests in other sports teams and restaurants

Powered by automated translation

Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James has become the first active player in NBA history with a net worth of $1 billion, Forbes magazine reported on Thursday.

The 37-year-old forward, a four-time NBA champion and four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, ranks second on the league's all-time scoring list and has played in the league since 2003.

In the Forbes list of highest-paid world athletes from May 2021 to May 2022, James ranked second in total income, with $121.2 million, trailing only Argentine playmaker and Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi's $130m.

The Lakers struggled to a 33-49 season and James missed the playoffs for only the fourth time in his career, but he still became the oldest player to average 30 points a game, hitting 30.3 per contest.

In his 19-year NBA career, James has made more than $385m in salary alone as a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Lakers.

Off the court, James took a star turn in Hollywood with the film Space Jam: A New Legacy and sold a minority stake in his production company, SpringHill.

More than $500m of his value comes from cash and investments.

James has an ownership stage in Fenway Sports Group, which owns English Premier League side Liverpool, Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox and has made a deal to buy the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.

His stake in Blaze Pizza is estimated to be worth $30m while his $80m in real estate holdings includes a mansion in his home town of Akron, Ohio, and two homes in Los Angeles.

Updated: June 02, 2022, 11:50 PM