LeBron James Is Second on 'Forbes'' Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes List, Populated Only by Men

James, 37, follows Argentinian soccer player Lionel Messi on the list with a total price tag of $121.2 million

LeBron James
LeBron James during the 2022 NBA season. Photo: John McCoy/Getty

Basketball star LeBron James again finds himself on Forbes' Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes List, at the number 2 spot behind Argentinian soccer player Lionel Messi.

LeBron, a 37-year-old player for the Los Angeles Lakers who is also active in the film and TV world, scored a price tag of $121.2 million on the site's power list, combining a $41.2 million for on-the-field play and $80 million in revenue for off-the-field projects.

Those projects can include endorsements, appearances, memorabilia and licensing fees, as well as cash returns from businesses operations and equity stakes sold plus the advent of cryptocurrency ventures, the site said.

In James' case, his off-court revenue comes from his starring role in last year's Space Jam: A New Legacy (as Forbes counts all projects from May of the preceding year), as well as moving his talk show, The Shop, from HBO to YouTube.

The site also detailed that James sold a minority stake in his production company SpringHill last October, at a valuation of about $725 million, pushing his net worth to an estimated $850 million.

The NBA star also announced a lucrative endorsement deal with Crypto.com in January, and appeared in a Super Bowl commercial in support of the site the following month.

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He also recently invested in two companies, home gym venture Tonal, and sports tech startup StatusPRO.

Last year, James already set a record for an NBA player on the list, earning an impressive $96.5 million. Forbes added that he became only the tenth athlete ever to surpass $100 million in a single year this year.

His financial success comes in spite of the fact that his team the Lakers failed to make the NBA playoffs this season.


Messi, 34, plays for Paris Saint-Germain and topped off the list with a whopping $130 million in combined earnings.

Other top earners to make the cut included more soccer stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, as well as tennis player Roger Federer, boxer Canelo Alvarez, football star Tom Brady and other basketball pros including Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

MMA fighter Conor McGregor, who topped the list last year thanks to his $150 million sale of his Irish whiskey brand, failed to make the top ten this go-round.

While female athletes like tennis stars Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams are sure to make Forbes' full list of the 50 highest-paid athletes for 2022, no women were included in the list of top 10 highest paid players.

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