When you think of legendary basketball players, LeBron James is most likely one of the first players to cross your mind. James had already begun receiving attention during his high school basketball career, and the media was right when they predicted his future success. Currently, he plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but beyond his basketball career, James has been outspoken about controversial issues and has advocated for various causes.
LeBron James’ Estimated Net Worth as of 2018: $86 million
Let’s see how the NBA player became one of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
1984 – 2003
Wow time sure does fly! 15 years ago to this date I was Chosen to be on the cover on SI. To me I just thought it was cool and all cause the magazine was always something my boys and I would look at and read in the library every time another issue dropped but I have no idea the magnitude of being on the cover as a high school kid would bring!! I guess that's why nothing ever fazed me cause I was so unaware of it all. Just wanted to play ball, go to school(so I could see my brothers, learn something, see some girls) and spend time with moms. Anyways I can say that I've done something right with my opportunity and life giving! #StriveForGreatness🚀 #TheKidFromAkron👑
James grew up in Akron, Ohio with a single mother, who later decided to move him into a more consistent environment. He stayed with a football coach, who introduced him to sports at a young age. As a freshman in high school, James earned a spot on the varsity basketball team, averaging high stats. During home games, games had to be played at large arenas in order to fit fans and scouts, who were all eager to watch James play. James balanced playing basketball and football throughout his high school career, with many wondering about his potential to play in the NFL had he ultimately chosen football.
While he was still a sophomore, James became Ohio Mr. Basketball and gained a spot on USA Today All-USA First Team, which shed light on the best high school basketball players in the USA. By the time James became an upperclassman, he was already receiving much of America’s attention. In 2002, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, his first of many. Around this time, he attempted to declare for the NBA draft, but was unsuccessful due to still being in high school.
2003 – 2010
Once James graduated high school, the Cleveland Cavaliers declared him their first pick of 2003 NBA draft. He received endorsement offers and signed with Nike, over Reebok and Adidas, for $90 million.
In 2004, James represented the US during the Olympics in Greece, though he was benched most of the time.
During his early professional career, he set records for his stats and was named Rookie of the Year. By 2006, he had become the NBA All-Star Game MVP. His averages increased, with his progression at 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 1.6 steals. Following several brutal losses, this would be his last season with the Cavaliers at the time.
In 2008, the US team qualified for the 2008 Olympics in China and the team won their first gold medal since 2000.
2010 – 2016
Damn you're Stunning!! Lead to the way Beautiful!! Happy Beautiful B-day my 👸🏽!! Proud of everything you've become and what's more exciting is you're still growing into your own! I'm lucky I get to be apart of it all! Love you so much and it's an honor to be your husband but more importantly your best friend! Oh by the way this is a mother of 3 kids(all natural birth) #Sheesh😬#VannahLove #happybirthdayV #livelaughlove😁🤣❤️ photo c/o @celebritywotnot
In 2010, James became a free agent, and later announced that he would sign with the Miami Heat. His decision drew heavy criticism, especially from his fans and the Cavaliers owner. James led the Heat to victory in the 2012 Conference Finals. Following this momentum, the Heat began a 27-game winning streak and James continued to be named MVP. During the 2012 Olympics, James co-led the team with Kobe Bryant and the team won gold once again.
In 2011, James married his high school girlfriend. The couple currently has three children.
By 2014, James became a free agent once again and announced his intentions to return to the Cavaliers. It was during the 2015-2016 season when James helped the Cavaliers famously break Cleveland’s 52-year sports curse, by claiming the 2016 NBA title. He was also elected the first Vice President of the NBPA.
The following year, James tried his hand at acting with his performance as himself in the film, Trainwreck.
2016 – Present
Spent the last 2 weeks with these boys and I swear it's been 1 day since we all went separate ways and I miss these boys already!! Being with them brought the purity back to the game that i grew up loving and still love to this day!! These kids wasn't playing for a contract, shoe deal, endorsements, likes, mentions, etc etc! Simply playing cause they love to hoop! Love you boys!! #NCBC🏀 #striveforgreatness🚀
Besides killing it on the court, James supports multiple causes and charities, from Boys & Girls Club of America to the Children’s Defense Fund. James has created multiple endeavors in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He began his own charity foundation, the LeBron James Family Foundation, which holds an annual bike-a-thon in order to raise money for diverse organizations. In early 2017, James announced his plan to open a school in Akron for at-risk children, set to open next year.
LeBron James worked up a sweat at the Cavs practice facility with no other than LeBron James Jr, his 13-year-old son.