As far as NBA is concerned, LeBron James is one name that can never be forgotten in a hurry. The 37-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star player has written his name in gold in the sands of the history of the National Basketball Association. Since the inception of his career, the outstanding small forward has won lots of accolades, set many franchise records, and recorded incredible milestones more than his peers in the NBA.
What’s more, he is also one of the highest-earning players in the history of basketball. In 2021, he was named the only active player in NBA history to record over $1 billion in career earnings. LeBron has accumulated a staggering net worth of $500 million. Besides basketball, he also rakes in money from endorsements and other business investments. Being a prominent figure, there are many interesting age milestones worth knowing about the young and successful basketball star. Keep reading!
LeBron James was Introduced to Basketball When He Was 9 Years Old
Born to Gloria Maria James and Anthony McClelland on December 3, 1984, LeBron James is a native of Akron, Ohio. Life wasn’t so rosy for the young LeBron as his father had a massive criminal record and was not involved in his upbringing. His mother struggled to make ends meet. However, when she realized her son would need a stable family environment.
As a result, Gloria allowed James to live with Frank Walker, a local football coach, who would later introduce James to basketball when he was nine years old. While in fifth grade, LeBron started playing organized basketball with Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars. The team competed in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball championship, and James helped the team, alongside his friends, Willie McGee, Sian Cotton, and Dru Joyce III, to attain success on the local and national level.
Dubbed the Fab 4, James and his friends would later attend high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. During his high school career, LeBron James helped The Fighting Irish post win the Division III state title in his freshman and sophomore years, garnering serious attention from NBA teams and the media. He was named Ohio Mr. Basketball and USA Today All-USA First Team consecutively.
In 2002, the Fighting Irish lost in the Division II Championship finals after posting a record of 23-4. The star player would later help the Irish win the Division II Championship title in 2003 while declaring for the NBA draft.
He Started His Professional Basketball Career at Age 19 in 2003
LeBron James turned pro in 2003 after he was chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA as the first overall selection for that year’s draft. He debuted in a game against Sacramento Kings, setting an NBA record for most points scored by a prep-to-pro player with 25 points. At the end of his first professional season, James averaged 5.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 20.9 points per game and was named the NBA Rookie of the Year.
He also made history as the youngest NBA rookie to record a triple-double in the playoffs. The star player got his first NBA All-Star team selection in the 2004-2005 season, where he finished with 6 assists, 8 rebounds, and 13 points to help the Eastern Conference win. He scored 56 points against the Toronto Raptors during the regular season, setting a new single-game points record for his team.
At the end of the season, he averaged 7.2 assists, 7.4 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 27.2 points per game. He spent his first seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, after which he left for the Miami Heats. Since the inception of his professional career, LeBron James has played for three NBA teams in his 19-year-old career. Although he started his career with Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, he left the team in 2010.
Joining the Miami Heat in 2010, he spent the next four years with the team before leaving in 2014. James returned to Cleveland, where he played from 2014 to 2018. Since 2018, he has been with the Los Angeles Lakers to date.
He Became the Youngest NBA Player to Reach 5000 Career Points in 2006
LeBron continued to improve his skills on the court with massive scoring ability, such that he became a formidable force in no time. Among all the most famous NBA Legends, none ever accomplished what James did. During the 2005/06 season, he made history as the youngest NBA player to notch 5,000 career points after scoring 51 points against Utah Jazz.
At the time, he was 21 years old, and even though he had a knee injury, he was able to help the Cavaliers seal the win. Two years later, during the 2007/08 season, James posted yet another milestone, scoring his 10,000 career points. With that, he became the youngest to achieve such a feat in NBA history. He completed his 10,000 career points in 368 games at the age of 23 and 59 days.
With that, he was a year younger than Kobe Bryant, who reached such a milestone in 2003 at the age of 24 and 193 days. More so, James became the Cavaliers leading all-time scorer in 2008, after he ended Brad Daugherty’s 14-year reign as the all-time best scorer in the franchise history. While it took Brad 548 games to record 10,389 points, James got 10,414 points in 380 games at the time.
Since then, James has continued to record this trend season after season, and currently, the NBA forward has become the 3rd all-time scorer in the NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
At 28, He won His First NBA Championship with Miami Heat in 2012
LeBron James spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, he didn’t win the NBA Championship with the team. Nevertheless, he became a force to reckon with, as he created several career records in the league. After his contract with the Cavs ended in 2010, James signed a contract with the Miami Heat in July.
During his welcome party, LeBron predicted multiple championships for the Heat, which didn’t take long to materialize. However, entering the 2010/11 season, the Heat witnessed much media scrutiny, which negatively affected the team and made LeBron play with anger. Although they started the season with a 9-5 record after 17 games, they later turned their season around and finished as the East’s second seed.
LeBron averaged 7 assists, 7.5 rebounds, and 26.7 points per game. Although his team made it to the finals, they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. After the loss, James worked hard to improve himself, which paid off in the following year, during the 2011/12 season. He led the team to their second consecutive NBA final, where he clinched his third MVP award, as the Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the coveted championship title.
The championship was the second for the Heat and the first for LeBron James. He finished the season with a record of 1.9 steals, 6.2 assists, 7.9 rebounds, and 27.1 points per game.
LeBron James Currently Has the Most Championships Among Active Players
Among the active members in the NBA, LeBron has the most championships as of 2022. Nevertheless, he is not the player with the most championships of all time. The player with the most championships in NBA history is Bill Russell (11 championships), followed by Sam Jones (10 championships), both of whom played for the Boston Celtics. LeBron has won four championships with three NBA teams since the inception of his career, with his first with the Miami Heat in 2012.
(June 21, 2012) “It’s about damn time” LeBron won his first NBA title. 🐐
— LeBron Factory (@LeBronFactory) June 21, 2021
After his first championship, he led the Heatles to their third consecutive NBA final in the 2012/13 season. As expected, he won his fourth consecutive MVP award, as he helped the Miami Heat to win their second championship back-to-back. At the end of the season, LeBron averaged 1.7 steals, 7.3 assists, 8 rebounds, and 26.8 points per game, and Miami Heat finished the league and franchise-best record of 66-16.
In his last season with the Heat, LeBron led the team to their fourth consecutive finals, but they were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs in five-game series to claim the title. At the end of the 2013/14 season, James opted out of his contract with the Heatles and returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the next four years of his career, he led the Cavs to win the NBA championship in 2016.
He also set many franchise records and career highs that season. However, after losing 4-0 to the Golden State Warriors 2017/18 NBA finals, LeBron, once again, ended his contract with the Cavs and joined the Los Angeles Lakers. James had a groin injury during the 2018/19 season, which affected his performance that season. The following season, at 35 years and 287 days old, he posted an average of 8.5 assists, 11.8 rebounds, and 29.8 points per game.
He led the Lakers to clinch the NBA title and his fourth championship in the 2019/20 season. He helped the Lakers to reach the 2020/21 NBA finals, but they were defeated by the Phoenix Suns. Currently, he plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and is in his 19th season.
He Won His First Olympic Gold Medal with the US National Team At Age 28 in 2012
LeBron James is an all-rounder when it comes to the game of basketball. He has made tremendous achievements in the NBA and even more with the US National Basketball team. The talented player has won three Olympic medals, including two Olympic Gold medals and one bronze medal. He made his Olympic debut at the Athens Olympics in 2004, but the US national team finished third, going home with a Bronze medal.
He was also among the Us team that clinched the Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and London Olympics in 2012. Also, in 2012, he was named the USA Male Basketball of the Year. Asides from the Olympics, he was also part of the US national basketball team that clinched Gold at the FIBA AmeriCup Championship in 2007 and Bronze at the FIBA World Cup in 2006.
A Look at LeBron’s Achievements Outside Basketball
LeBron’s achievements have placed him among the greatest basketball players of all time. However, he has equally made his mark off the court, thus adding entrepreneurship and philanthropy to his portfolio. James has been involved in various successful business projects off the court, including investments and authoring children’s books.
He is also a social media influencer. James has over 111 million followers on Instagram, more than 50.7 million Twitter followers, and much more on other social media platforms. According to reports, the NBA star makes over $300,000 through sponsored posts on Instagram alone. He has also signed lucrative endorsement deals.
At 37, LeBron Has Made Over a Billion Dollars From Endorsements
LeBron James is undoubtedly one of the most successful NBA stars on and off the court. Currently, he is famed as the only active NBA player in history to have accrued $1 billion in career earnings. According to a report, LeBron has made up to $330 million in salaries since the inception of his NBA career. More so, he has earned over $700 million through brand endorsements, media, and merchandise sales.
LeBron’s partnership deal with notable brands such as PepsiCo, AT&T, Rimowa, GMC, Blaze Pizza, Walmart, and Beats are said to be fetching him more than $100 million every year. However, James makes even more through his partnership deal with Nike. The player has been making $30 million annually after signing a lifetime deal with the brand in 2016.
While LeBron James is the first NBA star to reach the $1 billion career earnings mark, he is the sixth athlete worldwide to record such a feat. Other players such as Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Cristiano Ronaldo, Floyd Mayweather, and Roger Federer have also reached that mark. LeBron is closely followed by Steph Curry ($430 million) and Kevin Durant ($580 million).
He Co-Founded SpringHill Entertainment Company in 2020
SpringHill Entertainment is a media company founded by LeBron and his long-term business partner, Maverick Carter, in 2020. The company integrates three companies, including the Robot Company, a marketing, brand, and culture agency founded by Paul Rivera, Maverick Carter, and LeBron James, and UNINTERRUPTED, founded in 2015.
Serena Williams is also a member of the board of directors. In June 2020, the company penned a two-year scripted TV deal with ABC Signature, a subsidiary of Disney Television Studios. Later in the same year, they signed another four-year deal with Universal Pictures.
SpringHill Entertainment has produced commercially successful movies such as What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali (2019), Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street, Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), and TV shows like The Wall (2016-Present) and Survivor’s Remorse (2014-2017). As of 2021, SpringHill Entertainment was valued at $750 million.
LeBron Became a Fenway Sports Group Partner in 2021 at the age of 37
At the peak of his career in 2021, LeBron James joined Fenway Sports Group. The company is the parent company of Liverpool FC, Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, and Boston Red Sox of the Major League Baseball, making LeBron a part-owner of these franchises.
As of this writing, LeBron owns a two percent stake in the Premier League Club, Liverpool. He also has stakes in New England Sports Network and Roush Fenway Racing, among others. It is believed that proceeds from these investments have contracted greatly to LeBron’s massive net worth of $500 million.
The NBA Star Has Been Involved in Activism and Many Philanthropic Activities
Over the course of his career, LeBron James has actively lent his voice to several causes, including racism, political issues, and human rights injustice in America. The NBA star has used his influence to take a stance on several controversial issues. He has been a staunch supporter of Democratic leaders like Hillary Clinton and Obama. LeBron founded the More Than a Vote organization in 2020 to raise awareness and protect black people’s voting rights in America.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 21, 2020
LeBron has never stopped giving back to society, even though he never had a wonderful childhood. His successes on the basketball court, lucrative endorsements, and other business endeavors have earned him so much wealth and fame that comes with it. Through his foundation, LeBron James Family Foundation, Bron, as some fondly call him, has been making tremendous donations to charity.