The character the story is about is NBA basketball superstar LeBron James. Last year, he joined the world billionaires club with a fortune of about 1 billion USD.
James is the first NBA player to become a billionaire while still playing. Before that, basketball star Michael Jordan also became a billionaire. However, he achieved the title in 2014, more than a decade after his career as an athlete ended.
For LeBron James, this result is not due to luck but to the wise business decisions he has made over the years.
Good judgment and good business vision
In May 2003, LeBron James was hunted by the people of the American basketball village and the media. Therefore, there are many brands that want to sign contracts with James, mainly Reebok, Nike and Adidas.
At that time, Reebok was the name that offered the highest amount with a contract worth 100 million USD for 10 years. This was a huge amount of money at the time. In the same year, Kobe Bryant – an NBA name who won 3 championships, also signed a $40 million contract with Nike alone.
However, 19-year-old LeBron James is not just looking to make a quick buck but has deep thoughts. So James signed with Nike because he believed that the brand would be a better choice for his future. However, Nike only offered a 10-year contract worth $ 70 million and a bonus of 10 million, but so far James’ decision has been proven correct.
Since then, James has become one of the key faces of Nike and they have made him famous all over the world through their marketing strategies.
And yet, James’s business acumen is also demonstrated through wise decisions. James will only participate in the business project if he has a voice and control.
He also refused all offers for brands he did not use or was interested in, regardless of the contract amount. Once, James used Beats headphones under the brand created by music legend Jimmy Iovine and rapper Dr. Dre. Produced by Iovine. He decided to use it as a way to advertise the product and in return for a small share of the company’s shares.
In 2011, LeBron James also decided to buy back 2% of the shares of the Liverpool club for $ 6.5 million even though they had not won the Premier League. But James showed his ability “clearly” when Liverpool Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League. The club’s value has soared and James’ stake in Liverpool is now worth around $44 million, a nearly seven-fold increase in 12 years.
Warren Buffett praised
Along with his business acumen, LeBron James is admired by Warren Buffett. Buffett is one of the most famous and successful investors in the world. He is currently the Chairman, CEO and largest shareholder of the multinational company Berkshire Hathaway.
In 2019, sports journalist Brian Windhorst published the book ‘LeBron, Inc.: The Making of a Billion-Dollar Athlete’ which follows the life of the multi-talented LeBron James, from the talented player of basketball to the world’s billionaires. In addition, the book also documents the extraordinary transformation process of becoming not only a four-time NBA champion, but also a businessman who “has numbers”.
The book contains a comment from Warren Buffett about LeBron James that: “LeBron is very good at business. I wish I was as wise as he was at his age.”
The praise of investment legend Warren Buffett confirms the talent of the 39-year-old billionaire.
Windhorst also said James spoke with Buffett to ask his opinion on investments. At that time, he was only 23 years old.
He is always looking for good investments. For example, in an interview, James once said, “I know how to spot talent and know how to run a business. So my goal is to own an NBA franchise, and I hope that everything will happen as soon as possible.”