LeBron James has cemented himself as one of the most popular and bankable athletes ever. He has wisely utilized his good reputation to score numerous endorsement deals, investments, and other lucrative ventures.
In his 17 years playing for the NBA, the basketball superstar has reportedly earned a whopping $307 million just for doing his magic on the court. When other income streams are considered, his lifetime earnings total to somewhere around $600 to $1 billion depending on the source.
While there’s no doubt about James’ proven track record to pull in the big bucks, there are some speculations about the supposed couple hundred million dollars he earned as a silent investor in Beats by Dre.
Apparently, that impressive number may not be too accurate after all.
The $700 million earnings story was shared by the power forward’s fellow NBA player Kendrick Perkins in an interview during a ‘Runnin’ Plays’ podcast.
As Perkins recalled, his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate got a big cut of the contract Dr. Dre signed for the audio product brand. Perkins said that nobody knows that James, as a silent investor, earned $700 million.
The Real Numbers
Looking at the actual numbers though, it seems that Perkins may have overestimated James’ total earnings from the investment.
When Apple bought the Beats brand from its founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine in 2014, the basketball player only owned a mere one percent of the company. Putting that stake next to the $3 billion Apple paid to acquire Beats, James would’ve more likely got $4 million worth of Apple shares and $26 million in cash.
That’s a total of $30 million, which is very far off from the $700 million Perkins claimed.
For James to actually earn $700 million from Beats’ sale, his initial stake of the company would have to be upwards of 20% at least. However, that would make him a material investor, whose identity would have been disclosed during the acquisition.
The confusion surrounding James’ earnings from the Beats acquisition may be attributed to the reported $750 million the brand’s founders received. It could be possible though that Dr. Dre, Iovine, or their other partners may have awarded investors like James with a bonus.
Whether or not he received such rewards, the three-time NBA champion remains incredibly wealthy on his own with an estimated net worth of $480 million.