LOS ANGELES — Editor’s note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
It appears that time has come.
According to Kurt Badenhausen of Sportico, James recently surpassed $1 billion in career earnings, putting him in even more rarified air among athletes. Per Badenhausen, James is the first U.S. athlete in a team sport to earn $1 billion while active, with the only other athletes to do so being Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Roger Federer.
Selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 1 pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, the Akron, Ohio, native has earned $330 million in team salary over the course of his 18-year playing career, which has also included stops with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. Additionally, James has earned $700 million in endorsements, merchandise, licensing and his media business, SpringHill Entertainment, with companies such as AT&T, Beats, Blaze Pizza, GMC, Nike, PepsiCo, Rimowa and Walmart comprising his current portfolio.
Last week, the 36-year-old James made headlines when his newest movie, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” debuted at No. 1 in the box office, grossing $32 million. The movie served as the long-awaited follow up to the 1996 film “Space Jam,” which starred Michael Jordan, who didn’t top $1 billion in career earnings until after his playing career had ended.