LeBron James, the NBA superstar, has been named the highest paid athlete in 2022
The 37-year-old Los Angeles Lakers baller topped Sportico’s list of the highest-paid athletes in the last year, earning a reported $127 million in salary and endorsements to beat out international soccer icons Lionel Messi ($122 million) and Cristiano Ronaldo ($115 million).
James earned $41 million from the Lakers while ranking second in scoring with 28.5 points per game in 2021-22, but it was his side hustle that propelled him to the top.
The 18-time NBA All-Nike Star’s contract remains one of the most visible in sports, but he’s also signed deals with Walmart, GMC, AT&T, and PepsiCo, all of which he can promote to his 200 million social media followers.
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There are also brands in which he has personally invested, such as Calm, Ladder/Openfit, and Lobos 1707 tequila.
Finally, there are the businesses that James owns with his partners, such as The SpringHill Company, a seven-year-old media and consulting firm that, according to Sportico, expects to earn more than $100 million by 2022.
James also owns a stake in Liverpool, which plays in the English Premier League, as well as the Boston Red Sox and their home network, NESN.
NBA players dominated the top-100 list, with Stephen Curry ($86.2 million) and Kevin ($85.9 million) ranking sixth and seventh, respectively.
The top-100 athletes on Sportico’s list earned an estimated $4.5 billion in salary, winnings, and endorsement deals, a 6% increase from the previous year.