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According to Forbes, LeBron James is the NBA’s highest earning player with total earnings of $71 million this year. The man who signed the first lifetime contract in Nike history makes twice as much money off the court than on.
Years ago, James was quoted as saying he wants to become a billionaire. In this report from Forbes, James is closing in on $600 million earned throughout his career which means he is well on his way to his goal, especially with that Nike contract.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant is the NBA’s second highest earning player with $56.2 million. KD is followed by Kobe Bryant who is set to earn a total of $50 million this year. Bulls guard Derrick Rose is at No.4 with total earnings of $34.1 million and James Harden rounds out the top five with $32.8 million in earnings. Check out the details below via Forbes.
Leading the way for the second straight year is four-time NBA MVP Lebron James at $71 million. James’ salary with the Cleveland Cavaliers is $23 million, third highest in the league. James opted out of his two-year Cavs’ contract last summer and signed another two-year year deal at a higher rate that again allows him to opt-out after the first year. It is a way to maximize his salary and take advantage of the rising salary cap.
James makes more than twice as much off the court as on with an estimated $48 million. Nike NKE +1.69% has been King James’ chief backer since he entered the NBA out of high school in 2003 with a seven-year, $90 million contract from the Swoosh. The $31-billion-in-revenue sportswear giant doubled down on James this season with the first lifetime contract in the company’s 44-year history. James’ final tally from the Nike deal will ultimately be determined by shoe sales going forward, but it is expected to soar past $500 million. James was the NBA’s top shoe salesman in 2014 with Nike selling $340 million of James’ signature kicks.
James has expanded his empire with a series of deals outside the traditional NBA space. He launched a production company, SpringHill Entertainment, in 2008 with business partner Maverick Carter (it signed a deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment last year). In 2011, James joined forces with Fenway Sports Management, which netted him a seven-figure payout, and a stake in soccer club Liverpool. James invested in assembly-line pizza franchise Blaze in 2012 and secured franchise rights for the Chicago and south Florida markets. James currently has seven franchises in Chicago and four in Florida with more on the way.
The lifetime Nike deal and outside business interests keep James climbing the ladder towards his stated goal of becoming a billionaire. James’ career earnings are approaching $600 million, including endorsements.