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LeBron James: NBA Superstar Reaches Billionaire Status

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers has become the first active NBA player to be named on Forbes’ billionaires list.

James, 37, is the world’s second highest-paid athlete, after soccer Lionel Messi, according to Forbes.

The four-time NBA champion and four-time Most Valuable Player made $121.2 million (£96.5 million) last year, with $80 million (£63.7 million) coming off the court.

James’ net worth is estimated to be $1 billion (£796.4 million) by an American business publication.

His earnings in the last 12 months surpassed his previous high of $96.5 million (£76.8 million) for an NBA player, which he established last year.

The 18-time all-star has made more than $385 million (£306.4 million) in pay with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, but he makes the majority of his money through sponsorships and business enterprises.

For example, James’ interest in SpringHill, the television and film production firm he co-founded with Maverick Carter, is estimated to be worth $300 million (£238.8 million).

Michael Jordan, the six-time NBA champion and Chicago Bulls star, became a billionaire in 2014, 11 years after he retired from the game.

James moved into second place on the NBA’s all-time scoring chart in March, with 37,062 points, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).

Only Michael Jordan (six), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (five), and Bill Russell (five) have won the NBA MVP award more times than James.