By Weston Blasi
LeBron James is officially a billionaire.
According to Sportico , Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has now earned over $1 billion dollars between his on-court and off-court endeavors.
James has earned $346 million from his NBA contracts and $700 million from various off-court deals like sponsorships, his media companies and investments.
James is the first U.S. athlete in the four major sports to accumulate a billion dollars while still active in his or her sport — Michael Jordan is the only other known billionaire basketball player, but he crossed the billion-dollar threshold years after his playing days were over.
Golfer Tiger Woods, boxer Floyd Mayweather, and international soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have all earned at least $1 billion during their playing careers, according to CBS .
See also: How the Tokyo Olympics ranks among the most expensive Games of all time
Multi-million dollar sponsorships and endorsements over the years from companies like Coca-Cola /zigman2/quotes/209159848/composite KO -0.28% , McDonald’s /zigman2/quotes/203508018/composite MCD +0.67% and the Hyundai /zigman2/quotes/204364212/composite HYMTF -0.96% -owned Kia all contributed to James’s fortune, but it was some savvy business moves that really boosted his portfolio.
In 2003, when LeBron James chose Nike over Rebook, he gave up $28 million . James clearly made the right decision because shortly after that Rebook folded its basketball program. Years later Nike /zigman2/quotes/203439053/composite NKE -6.26% and James inked a lifetime contract for the basketball star that could exceed $1 billion (while the exact terms are not fully known).
Investments in English soccer club Liverpool F.C., the Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.06% -owned Beats by Dre and fast food chain Blaze Pizza all have made James millions more off the court.
James’s media companies Spring Hill and Uninterrupted have produced television shows for NBC and Starz, created a own podcast network and partnered with Warner Bros. Studios on James’s latest movie, Space Jam : A New Legacy, a sequel to the movie Michael Jordan film from 1996.
See also: Medical chief says 83% of U.S. athletes at the Tokyo Olympics have been vaccinated
Who could be the next billion-dollar NBA star?
Kevin Durant appears the most likely. Durant has made $264 million playing basketball and has a roughly $300 million endorsement deal with Nike.
In combination with his venture capital investment firm Thirty-Five Ventures, Durant has made impressive early investments in companies such as Coinbase /zigman2/quotes/225893452/composite COIN -2.39% , Acorns, the Uber /zigman2/quotes/211348248/composite UBER +2.53% -owned Postmates