LeBron James has made a significant impact to the NBA and now making history as he signed with Los Angeles Lakers on a whopping sum of $154 million for a four-year contract.
The 33 year old player left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to become the best-paid NBA player in history, a contract which will now make his billionaire; a landmark achievement which only few find themselves.
This announcement was made by Klutch Sports Group, the agency that represents James. Hence, James will also have a new work address come next season.
The four Most Valuable Player awards and three championship rings joined the Lakers from the Cleveland Cavaliers, his hometown club.
James, who has now become a free agent now, has a new contract that will pay him $35.6 million for the upcoming 2018-2019 NBA season and its annual value will increase each year until it hits $41 million for the 2021-2022 season, according to sports contract website Spotrac.
Spotrac’s ranking of the NBA players with the all-time highest career earnings currently has only five players ahead of James. Four of those players (Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan) are retired, so they won’t be earning any more salary as NBA players. The fifth player ahead of James in career salary is Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, who earned just $5 million last season and, at 40 years old, is likely to retire after another season or two and will not earn any further blockbuster NBA contracts.
Part of the way through his third season in Los Angeles, James will pass Garnett’s career earnings of $334 million, according to Spotrac, to take the top spot. And James isn’t the only active NBA shooting up the list of all-time career earnings. Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul’s, 33, new four-year contract, which will also pay him $35.6 million this year, will leave him with a whopping $346.5 million in career salary after the 2021-2022 season, which will place him just behind James.
So why do we vote that this James deal is unlikely to be beat by other deals, at least for the now. NBA has rigid salary structure, which does not allow players to earn more than a maximum amount that’s set for each season, it is extremely unlikely that any player will be able to swoop in with a mega-deal to pass James on the career salary earnings rankings over the next four years.
Of course, LeBron James’ income is not dependent on his NBA salary. The future hall-of-famer will collect an estimated $52 million in 2017 (or about 60 percent of his annual income) from massive endorsement deals with brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Beats By Dre headphones, according to Forbes.
In total, Forbes estimates that James has already made $765 million between his NBA salary and off-court earnings since he turned pro 15 years ago. So, James’ liftetime endorsement contract with Nike that’s reportedly worth roughly $1 billion overall (according to a James associate), definitely puts him on his way to the billionaire club.
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