While LeBron James’ success on the court is legendary, his accomplishments off the court may be the most impressive aspect of his career.
Before LeBron James became a professional basketball player, he signed a seven-year, $87 million contract with Nike. It was just the first of many lucrative contracts James would broker during his lifetime. From owning a 2% stake in Liverpool to signing a new lifetime contract with Nike, James has taken his talents on the pitch and turned them into millions.
In the latest Forbes annual ranking of the highest-paid players, James ranked fourth. According to Forbes, James earned $119.5 million last year, with the three athletes ahead of him being soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
James has been on such top 50 lists since the beginning of his career, but for him to still be generating this kind of revenue at the age of 38 is unheard of. Stephen Curry is the second-highest-rated basketball player with an estimated earnings of $110.4 million, proving that Curry and James are connected and competing against each other in almost every aspect of life, with both players aiming to win this season fifth championship.
For fans, James’ income may not have a direct impact or concern on their lives, but it’s a good sign that you see the names of several basketball players on these lists. This shows that the sport is popular and lucrative. These are jobs, and if the pay is good, more people will try to play at a high enough level to earn these types of numbers, and as more people play, interest in the league will snowball, eager to participate. There will also be an influx of young talents.
Compare that to, say, football, where the likelihood of injury is much higher and no player is in the top ten highest paid players. In 20 years, the NBA and football may become the two most popular sports due to their safety and financial security.
James has a player option for the 2023-24 season, so it’ll be interesting to see if he picks it up and continues his tenure with the Lakers, or possibly declines it and accepts less money to play with his son, Bronny James, regardless of whether he Where to be chosen if he declares. Until then, the Lakers were in good financial shape, ranking 15th among the most valuable teams while also paying the fourth-most salaries to their athletes.
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