Lakers' LeBron James Becomes 1st Active NBA Player With $1 Billion in Career Earnings

Adam WellsJuly 22, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) controls the ball during Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns Thursday, Jun 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Thanks to his legendary NBA career, a thriving production company and his recent turn as the star of Space Jam: A New Legacy, LeBron James is the NBA's first active player with $1 billion in career earnings. 

Per Kurt Badenhausen of Sportico.com, James recently passed the $1 billion mark split between $700 million in earnings off the court and $330 million in salary as an NBA player. Michael Jordan also passed the mark but did so post-playing career.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar has been arguably the biggest sports star in the United States since his first NBA game during the 2003-04 season. 

James was well-known long before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. He graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as a junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School with the headline "The Chosen One" in 2002. 

On the court, James has been named an All-Star 17 times, won four NBA MVP awards and four NBA championships. 

Off the court, James has several lucrative endorsement deals. His business partner, Maverick Carter, hinted to Mark Anthony Green in a May 2016 interview with GQ that James signed a lifetime contract with Nike that is worth in the ballpark of $1 billion. 

James and Carter founded their production outfit, SpringHill Company, in 2020. Space Jam: A New Legacy is its highest-profile production to date, but its previous iterations also helped launch HBO's The Shop and NBC game show The Wall