LeBron James Obtains Billionaire Status, Becomes First Active Player to Hold That Distinction

According to Forbes, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has been officially named a billionaire.

The NBA Hall of Fame-bound player is the first active basketball player to obtain that status while still competing in the league. The only other player to become a billionaire is the man to who he is constantly being compared as the greatest athlete to play the sport, Michael Jordan.

While time is running down on James’ career, he may be in the league for several more years with the way he’s played in the last year. Jordan became a billionaire in 2014 but didn’t hit that magical mark until he was retired for more than 10 years.

Last year, Sportico reported that James became the first active billionaire player in basketball.

“King James” reportedly earned $121.2 million last year to surpass that billion-dollar status. Although that is an extremely high amount for an athlete to bring home, he still made less than another athlete. Soccer player Lionel Messi from Argentina has the title of the richest athlete in the world, as he took home an estimated $130 million.

James will be eligible for an extension with his current team when his contract is up after next season. According to a report by CBS Sports, he can sign for an additional two seasons while making $97.1 million. The 19-year veteran has taken home $387 million in salary during his playing career, according to Spotrac. Since he came into the NBA straight from high school in 2003, he has earned about $900 million just in endorsements.

According to Forbes, Jordan, who James has stated many times is his hero, is ahead of him as he has an estimated $1.7 billion in his account. Although Jordan “only” made $90 million as an NBA player, the sum of his endorsements is an estimated $1.8 billion. With James’ current business portfolio and depending on how he finishes his career, he is sure to surpass that once his basketball shoes are hung up in several years.