The Lessons LeBron James Teaches Reach Beyond the Basketball Court

LeBron James is without a doubt one of the best NBA players of all-time, and there’s a case to be made for him being the greatest ever. But at this point of his career, his fame extends far beyond the basketball court.

He is involved in TV shows and movies, both in front of and behind the camera, but he has also built up a strong reputation in the business community for his leadership ability there as well. James goes out of his way to teach lessons to others that help them excel in whatever they do in life, using the experience he has gained from being in the spotlight since his teenage years.

How successful is LeBron James?

Entrepreneur wrote about some lessons that James likes to share with people who he mentors. One of the biggest lessons he goes over is to focus on long-term goals rather than short-term gains.

When James became the top pick in the 2003 NBA draft, he received two offers for shoe deals; Nike offered him $87 million, while Reebok was willing to give him $115 million.

That extra $27 million would have been a big help to James’ family in the short-term, but James was thinking about the future and went with the smaller endorsement deal with Nike.

That decision seems to have paid off. It is estimated that the Nike contract will end up paying James $1 billion during his lifetime. On the other side, Reebok does not currently sponsor any NBA players.

Don’t start from scratch

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Another lesson people can learn from LeBron James is to not start businesses from scratch. In most cases, it is better to buy existing companies that you can help build up and sell for a profit, then start the cycle again with another company.

Focusing your investments this way saves you from having to deal with the obstacles that many startups face and allows you to apply your skills and knowledge to an already-known and respected brand.

An example of this from James’ portfolio is Beats by Dre. The audio company was already a successful and thriving business when James invested in it in 2008.

He helped to build the company from that point, and it paid off. HTC bought a 50.1% share of the company in 2010 for $309 million, and four years later Apple acquired the company for $3 billion. It is estimated that James made $700 million off of his investment in Beats.

Other athletes should aspire to be like LeBron James

With the huge contracts that professional sports stars sign nowadays, they have a lot of money that they can use to make investments to grow their wealth and fame outside of sports.

James is seemingly the prototype of how to do that, and he continues to pave the way for athletes to set their sights beyond just the sports world. He has a production company that makes TV shows on movies, he has his own HBO show, and he’s starring in the upcoming Space Jam sequel, following in the footsteps of fellow NBA great Michael Jordan.

All of his work and businesses outside of the NBA, including his endorsements with Nike and other companies, has helped his net worth grow to an estimated $480 million — and it’s only going to keep growing.

At 36 years old, James still has tremendous earning potential ahead of him. And younger athletes in the NBA and other leagues should be paying attention to what he does and emulating it because he is setting an example that shows there is the potential to earn a lot of money outside of sports if you do things right and frankly follow his lessons.