LeBron James: NBA superstar on Forbes’ billionaires list

Cast members LeBron James and Adam Sandler attend a premiere for the film Hustle
LeBron James is the largest single shareholder in SpringHill, one of the production companies for the new Adam Sandler film Hustle

Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James has become the first active NBA player to make Forbes’ billionaires list.

Forbes estimates James, 37, is the world’s second highest-paid athlete behind footballer Lionel Messi.

The four-time NBA champion, who has been the league’s most valuable player four times, earned $121.2m (£96.5m) over the last year, with $80m (£63.7m) of it coming off the court.

The American business magazine puts James’ net worth at $1bn (£796.4m).

His earnings over the last 12 months beat his own record of $96.5m (£76.8m) for an NBA player that he set last year.

The 18-time all-star player has earned more than $385m (£306.4m) in salary from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Lakers – but most of his income has come from endorsements and business ventures.

For example, his stake in SpringHill – the television and movie production company James built with business partner Maverick Carter – is believed to be worth $300m (£238.8m).

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan became a billionaire in 2014, but that was 11 years after the six-time NBA champion finished playing.

In March, James moved second in the NBA’s list of all-time scorers and he currently has 37,062 points, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).

Only Jordan (six), Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell (both five) have been named the NBA’s MVP on more occasions than James.