At this point, LeBron James is widely considered one of the two greatest basketball players of all time, with only Michael Jordan potentially ranking ahead of him as the GOAT. LeBron James has received virtually every possible accolade during his 17 years in the NBA. He’s also established himself as one of the canniest businessmen in the league, earning a small fortune along the way.
Of course, James hasn’t done it all alone. On the contrary, he hasn’t hesitated to develop relationships with established financial experts. In particular is James’ unlikely friendship with one of the wealthiest men in the world, Warren Buffett. Here we take a closer look at James’ financial situation, his relationship with Buffett, and what the two men have to say about one another.
LeBron James’ NBA earnings and net worth
Earlier in December, James made headlines when he signed a two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. That deal, which will keep him in LA through the 2022-23 season, is worth a staggering $85 million, according to ESPN. That money represents the most that James will have ever earned in a season.
Including the upcoming 2020-21 season, James has brought in a total of nearly $344 million, as reported by Spotrac.com. Of course, that’s just a drop in the bucket when it comes to James’ overall earnings, which are driven by his numerous endorsement deals. James, in fact, has the top endorsement portfolio in the entire NBA, with Forbes reporting that he brings in as much as $60 million per year through his deals with Nike, Beats, Coca-Cola, GMC, and other high-profile brands.
Meanwhile, James also owns both a production company, SpringHill Entertainment, and a media company, Uninterrupted. Those businesses not only give James his own channel, but they also bring in yet more income. James has also invested heavily in numerous other businesses, including Blaze Pizza. All things considered, James makes over $100 million per year, and has a current net worth of $500 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth.com.
LeBron James’ friendship with Warren Buffett
LeBron James and Warren Buffett first struck up a friendship back in 2007. That year, James made a trip to Omaha Nebraska to shoot a video skit with Buffett for the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway. In the comic video, Buffett and James go head-to-head on the basketball court, with Buffett ultimately coming away with the victory.
Buffett recently wrote about that first encounter with James as part of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019 issue, saying:
“We had a good time, and since that day, I’ve been impressed with his leadership skills, his sharp mind and his ability to stay grounded.”
During that 2007 trip, James actually spent a weekend staying with Buffett. Since then, the bond between the two men has only grown stronger. In 2014, Buffett came to Cleveland to see James’ Cavaliers play. James later posted a photo of the two of them on the sideline, even going so far as to refer to Buffett as “Uncle Warren.”
A source of sage advice
LeBron James and Warren Buffett’s relationship isn’t purely platonic, however. James has made no secret of his interest in taking advantage of Buffett’s one-of-a-kind financial mind. In 2015, he asked Buffett for investment tips in a segment on CNBC. A few years later, Buffett spoke highly of James’ own mastery of finance in an interview with USA Today Sports, saying:
“People really do have minds that function better than other people’s in certain areas that you can’t give a test for. And LeBron, in addition to a lot of other talents, he has a money mind. And he gets stuff.”
Of course, James still has a long way to go if he ever wants to catch up with Buffett financially. According to Forbes, Buffett currently has a net worth of $67.5 billion, which makes him the fourth richest person in the entire world.