In December, the NBA reached a new collective bargaining agreement, cutting out the threat of a potential labor stoppage next season. Both players and owners were struggling to figure out a way to divide the new $24 billion television contract, an agreement worth triple the amount of its predecessors. In the end, there was just too much money on the table to walk away.
As a result of the deal, by the 2020-21 NBA season, average player salaries are expected to reach $10 million. Furthermore, starting next season, the biggest stars in the association will be able to bring in contracts worth more than $200 million over five years.
Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.com reports in his recent article that LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar, is the highest paid player in the NBA for a third straight year, with earnings of more than $88 million, including his various endorsement deals. The last player to rake in more dough in a calendar year than James was Kobe Bryant.
Since his NBA debut in 2003, The King has earned more than $600 million. Now, for the first time in his illustrious career, James has the highest paying salary in the association. This season, James, who signed a three-year/$99.9 million deal with the Cavaliers during the offseason, is slated to make $31 million this season. That places the three-time champion alongside Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only other players to make at least $30 million in a season.
James dropped Samsung and Tencent, but recently added new endorsement deals with Intel and Verizon. James’ new business partners join an already impressive list of heavy-hitters, including Nike (lifetime deal worth $1 billion), Coca Cola (Sprite), Beats Electronics, and Kia Motors (yep, he really drives one).
James has a quickly-expanding production company called Springhill Entertainment. Together with NBC, James serves as Executive Producer on the newly-created game show called “The Wall”. Other Springhill Entertainment productions include: “Survivor’s Remorse” on Starz, “Cleveland Hustles” on CNBC, and “Becoming” on Disney XD.
Speaking of dough, The King and his investment group also have 17 Blaze Pizza locations in South Florida and Chicago. Sales reports from the fast-food pizza chain indicate that business is good. Last year, Blaze Pizza had total sales of $185 million. This year, they’re targeting $285 million.
All things considered, The Kid from Akron has done quite well for himself and his family. And through it all, James remains a true role model.