The COVID-19 pandemic may have dealt the NBA a serious financial blow, but league star LeBron James is about to become a billion-dollar man.
The self-proclaimed “King” and arguably the greatest player to ever pick up the rock is expected to pass the $1 billion mark in career earnings this year.
A four-time MVP, James is the league’s top-earning player for the seventh straight year and is expected to make $95.4 million this year.
Endorsements, memorabilia, and media will make up $64 million of his income to go along with his $39.2 million salary for the Lakers, twenty percent of which will go into escrow per the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
James’ 2020-21 earnings will be the highest ever for an American athlete in team sports, and he will become the fifth active athlete to reach the billion-dollar milestone, joining Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Rolando.
James has a billion-dollar lifetime deal with Nike and just signed a contract with Pepsi after leaving Coke.
For those who have been following King James’ career, the news comes as no surprise.
In an interview with GQ magazine, the four-time champion said, “Obviously. I want to maximize my business. And if I happen to get it, if I happen to be a billion-dollar athlete, ho. Hip hip hooray! Oh, my God, I’m gonna be excited.”
But James isn’t making money for the sake of making money.
In 2019 James told The Athletic that he wanted to own an NBA franchise.
LeBron would be the second player to do so, after Michael Jordan who took over control of the Charlotte Hornets in 2010.
According to Forbes, the Hornets, who could have the Rookie of the Year in LaMelo Ball, are worth a reported $1.5 billion.
LeBron has said he wants to play with his son Bronny, but Bronny may end up playing for his Dad.