After another monster year of earnings, totaling $121.2 million before taxes and agents’ fees over the last 12 months, Forbes estimates that James has officially become a billionaire while still playing hoops.
“It’s my biggest milestone,” James told GQ in a prophetic 2014 interview. “Obviously. I want to maximize my business. And if I happen to get it, if I happen to be a billion-dollar athlete, ho. Hip hip hooray!"
James’ business interests are both wide-ranging and valuable. His production company, SpringHill Entertainment, has a multi-million-dollar deal with Warner Bros. and its subsidiary HBO. He also has a lifetime partnership with Nike that is reportedly worth more than $1 billion. In addition, James has a stake in Beats Electronics, the headphone and speaker maker that was bought by Apple for $3 billion in 2014. He also has investments in Blaze Pizza, a chain of fast-casual pizzerias, and Liverpool F.C., one of England’s most popular soccer clubs. With such a diverse and valuable portfolio of assets, it is no wonder that James is now worth an estimated $1 billion.
LeBron James is one of the most generous athletes in the world. Not only does he regularly give back to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, but he also helps to support causes that are important to him. For example, his family foundation invested $20 million into the LeBron James Family Foundation School, a public elementary school that provides free meals and small class sizes for children at risk. In addition, the foundation gives $1 million a year to help pay for teachers' salaries and to help keep class sizes manageable.
With LeBron James setting a new bar for the Black athletes turned entrepreneurs, we wanted to also celebrate some of the achievements of the OGs that paved the way for LeBron and others.
Athlete-Entrepreneur: The OG Series, Part I Spotlight on Willie D. Davis, (1934 - 2020) two-time Super Bowl Champion and founder of All Pro Broadcasting, Inc.
As a defensive end, Willie D. Davis was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1960s. After his football career, Davis turned to business. He is the founder of All Pro Broadcasting, Inc., and has had a successful business career that has spanned over 45 years. He's also sat on the board of directors of several Fortune 500 companies. Davis was a trailblazer in both the sports and business worlds, and has been an inspiration to many.
"One day I called Coach Lombardi [Vince Lombardi]… and I said, 'Coach when I started out in football… I didn't know that it was gonna turn out as well… I think I'm gonna drop out of the University of Chicago.'… and he said, 'The Willie Davis I know has never quit at anything'… my last two quarters at the university, I was on the dean's list. Which… was one of the greatest achievements that I ever had equal to anything I ever did on the athletic field." - Wille D. Davis
Looking back, Davis said: "The first eight boards that I sat on, I was the first and the only black… some of that was driven by football… But I think the real invitation came when they discovered that I also had my… M.B.A."
Willie D. Davis is amongst a dynamic list of athletes turned athletes who have helped to pave the way for the LeBron James. At BPM, we honor the OGs and the GOTs who together raise the bar for Black success in business.