At What Age Did Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant Become Billionaires?

Published 10/10/2021, 8:00 AM EDT


The NBA is now one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. Three players who have contributed the most in popularizing it are Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant. Not just basketball fans, almost any sports enthusiast will name these three if you ask them to name three basketball players.

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Michael Jordan played for Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards throughout his career and won six NBA titles. Kobe Bryant spent his entire career with Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA titles with them. LeBron James has played for multiple teams in the NBA and has won four championships.

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These three played in different eras but have redefined the game of basketball completely. However, they earned multi-millions through salaries, endorsements, businesses, and investments throughout their career. Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron amassed over a billion in terms of earnings and became a part of the billionaire club. But at what age did they become billionaires?

Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant: When did they become billionaires?

Michael Jordan

CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 02: Michael Jordan watches a shot during the po-am at the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club on May 2, 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Jordan became a billionaire in 2014 at the age of 51. It took some time for him to become a billionaire, but he was still the first NBA player to cross this mark. According to celebrity net worth, Michael Jordan’s net worth is $2.2 million. Jordan crossed the two billion mark last year. However, most of Jordan’s income has come from his endorsements and businesses.

He earned just $93 million from salaries in his entire career. But the salary cap was less back then, and it has risen due to inflation. However, he still is the world’s richest athlete, thanks to his deal with Nike.

Lebron James

NEW ORLEANS, LA – FEBRUARY 15: NBA player LeBron James attends GQ & LeBron James NBA All Star Party Sponsored By Samsung Galaxy And Beats at Ogden Museum’s Patrick F. Taylor Library on February 15, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for GQ)

LeBron James joined the elite billionaire club earlier this year at the age of 36. James is now the first active NBA player to earn a billion. James is one of the highest earners in the league, and his salary has amassed over $350 million in the past two decades.

He has reportedly earned 700 million from his several endorsement deals. James is also a Nike athlete and has endorsement deals with Coca-Cola, Beats By Dre, Blaze Pizza, and 2K Sports. As it’s popularly said: ‘James isn’t a businessman; James is a business, man!’.

Kobe Bryant

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 05: Kobe Bryant attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards Nominee Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 5, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant became the second NBA player to join the three comma club after Jordan in 2019. Kobe earned $323 million through salaries during his professional career. He also made around $350 million from several endorsement deals. Kobe made $200 million from his investment in BodyArmor. He has some stake in Bryant Stibel and Granity Studios, which took his career earnings to $1 billion.

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Michael Jordan became the first NBA player to become a billionaire in 2014. Kobe Bryant followed him in 2019. LeBron James became the third NBA player to join the three comma club in 2021. But LeBron achieved this feat at a younger age than Kobe and Jordan. LeBron was 36 when he became a billionaire. Kobe was 41 and Jordan was 51 when they became billionaires.

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LeBron still has 3-4 years of an active playing career with him. During that time, he will make more of his salaries and endorsements. His career earnings are only going upwards from here. However, it is yet to be known what future holds for him and how he will increase his earning after retirement.

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Do you think LeBron James can become the richest athlete in the world in the future by overcoming Michael Jordan?

WATCH THIS STORY: Michael Jordan and Charlotte Hornets, LeBron James and Liverpool FC, & Other NBA Players Who Own a Stake in Sports Franchises

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Abhishek Singh

192 articles

Abhishek is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports with over two years of journalistic experience with Chase Your Sport and Dribl. A Football Management graduate, he has previously interned in the Indian Super League, I-League and the AFC Champions League. In addition to being a Michael Jordan fan, Abhishek is an ardent Steph Curry and Warriors guy, and believes they have a few more championships in store before the former retires.

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