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Born on 30 December 1984 in Akron, Ohio, LeBron James is an American basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. He has won various NBA championships with the Lakers (in 2020), the Cleveland Cavaliers (in 2016), and the Miami Heat (in 2012 and 2013).

James is the all-time leading scorer in NBA history and is a four-time NBA championship winner. The four-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) award winner, James was fourth on Forbes‘ list of the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes in 2023 and the highest-paid basketball player or from any sport apart from football in the list. 

From the NBA, Lebron James has earned up to US$300 million since being drafted in 2003, along with bringing in a whopping US$700 million from endorsements, merchandising, licensing, and media. On top of that, he has had a lifelong deal with Nike since 2016 which brings him US$30 million a year.

Lebron James is easily one of the most iconic athletes of all time. He is also the first-ever athlete to make US$1 billion in earnings while still playing, a point he has reached due to his savvy business investments and brand deals. 

Let us take a look at all his business deals outside the NBA. 

Also read: NBA’s first ever active billionaire: LeBron James

Sponsorship deals and brand endorsements

The Lakers star has well-paid endorsement deals with many brands. According to Forbes, James’ endorsement deals netted him an additional US$75 million on top of his salary as an NBA player in 2023. Some of his brand endorsements include AT&T, Beats Electronics, GMC, KIA Motors, Nike, RIMOWA, Walmart, Ruffles, Tonal and Mountain Dew amongst others. Below are details of a few of his endorsements. 

Ruffles

LeBron signed a multi-year partnership with the official NBA chips brand Ruffles to introduce the fans to new ridges campaigns. The aim of these campaigns is to inspire Americans to embrace life’s obstacles and achieve their goals. James became the face of this campaign, which initially started in December 2020 and includes multiple campaigns across retail, social media, and more. 

Tonal

In 2019, Lebron James became an investor in Tonal, a “smart” home gym. LBJ has the brand’s equipment in his own gym and via co-branded campaigns shows the importance of health and fitness as he maintains his place as one of the all-time greatest athletes. 

Tonal helps athletes in improving their strength conditioning, and Lebron is just one of 30+ brand investors which include the likes of Serena Williams, Steph Curry, and many more top athletes. Tonal also has 90% of the market share in the strength conditioning industry, showing what a great investment it has been for the Lakers player. 

Mountain Dew

In 2020, LeBron James became an integral partner of Mountain Dew’s new launch of the MTN DEW rise energy, a new kind of energy drink formulated to kick off the morning with mental boosts and improve immunity support of the body.

The multi-year PepsiCo partnership with James includes Beverages with MTN DEW RISE ENERGY and activates PepsiCo’s portfolio in unique and unexpected ways, including the Snack category. 

AT&T

AT&T has in place with James a long-term partnership that looks to use technology, entertainment, and innovation towards social advancement and promote new products and services of the telecom giant.

As part of the deal, James appears in the national advertising campaign for AT&T TV, which launched in March 2020. Also, as part of this multifaceted campaign, AT&T is committed to developing a learning institute dedicated to the Lebron James Family Foundation and building graduate hotels for students and families in immediate need of safe and stable housing. 

Rimova 

James has been a brand ambassador of luxury luggage brand Rimova since May 2019.

Nike

Nike’s association with LeBron James began in 2003, which was later converted into a massive US$1bn lifetime sponsorship deal.

Crypto.com

Crypto.com has already onboarded many stars and even has the naming rights to the Lakers’ home court. It partnered with LeBron and The LeBron James Family Foundation (LJF) in January 2022. 

Beats by Dre

James signed with Beats in 2008 for promotion, which earned him more than US$1 million per commercial, before he invested in a minor stake of the company. A few years later, LeBron bagged US$30 million when Apple acquired the company for US$3 billion. The super star is said to have earned even more than US$500 million after the takeover.

LIFEWTR

In July 2022, James teamed up with premium bottled water brand LIFEWTR on a multi-year deal. The partnership is built around James’ passion for community empowerment. 

Walmart 

Walmart and James teamed up in May 2019. This partnership is built around James’ commitment towards developing communities and work towards investing in education, fighting hunger, and helping people live better. 

GMC 

In February 2020, General Motors revealed James as a brand ambassador for the Hummer EV.

Calm 

James announced a multi-year partnership with meditation and relaxation app Calm in December 2019. James aims to educate people about the importance of mental fitness through the partnership and also voices original audio content on the application apart from appearing in multiple advertisement campaigns.

Sony

In March 2023, James teamed up with Sony to release limited-edition PlayStation 5 consoles, which were designed by James himself. 

Ruffles

In December 2021, James signed a multi-year partnership agreement with American chips brand Ruffles, which is also the Official Chip of the NBA. The partnership has James promoting the product and starring in various advertisement campaigns for the brand.

Investments

Charity work

Also read: LeBron James’ Greatest Rivals