LeBron James is still going down in history as one of the wealthiest athletes of all time. A little more than two months after Forbes reported that James’ net worth had surpassed $1 billion, the 37-year-old has signed a contract extension that will see him become the NBA’s highest earner ever.
Kevin Durant took the top spot last year after signing a four-year extension with the Brooklyn Nets that guaranteed him more than $498 million in past and future earnings. According to Spotrac, James has earned $387.3 million in his career. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, James’ new contract with the Los Angeles Lakers guarantees him $532 million in contracts.
When future earnings are excluded, James’ career earnings of $387.3 million rank first. Kevin Garnett ranks second all-time in NBA earnings with $334.3 million.
For the 2022-23 season, James will earn $44.47 million. His two-year extension is worth $97.1 million and begins next year. According to ESPN, the extension could be worth up to $111 million if the NBA’s salary cap increases in the 2023-24 season.
For the second time in his NBA career, James will earn more than $40 million next season. From 2016 to 2020, James earned at least $30 million per season.
In the 2003 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected James with the first overall pick. It took James six seasons to amass the amount of money he’ll earn with the Lakers in 2022-23.
According to Forbes, only soccer star Lionel Messi earned more money than James between May 2021 and May 2022. During that 12-month period, James is estimated to have earned $121.2 million. James’ salary with the Lakers accounted for only one-third of that total.
No other NBA player has ever been active while becoming a billionaire. Michael Jordan’s net worth in retirement reached the tens of millions of dollars.
Through business ventures and endorsements, James has amassed a sizable fortune. According to Forbes, James’ SpringHill Entertainment is worth around $300 million.
Along with his lifetime contract with Nike, James earns $90 million from Fenway Sports Group, which owns soccer club Liverpool, the Boston Red Sox, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as $80 million from real estate properties and $30 million from an investment in the Blaze Pizza franchise, according to Entrepreneur.