LeBron James is on top of the world. As you're reading this, he's preparing to play Game 4 in the NBA Finals, the world's largest stage for basketball. He's paid well -- extremely well -- to go out there and put a ball through a hoop, but it's his endorsements and investments that bring in the serious money. For example, when Apple acquired Beats Electronics
for $3 billion last month, Sir James opted to sell his stake in the company for a cool $30 million.
That's about $11 million more than what he'll make playing for the Miami Heat this year. That's also more than half of everything he earned in 2013, which included about $19 million in salary with the Heat and $39 million in various sponsorships.
The comparative sum to his income isn't the only reason why this is a big deal. According to SBNation
, this is believed to be the largest such payout for an athlete. The next closest is when David Wright of the New York Mets reportedly received around $20 million when Vitaminwater changed hands -- the business savvy baseball player endorsed the company for a 0.5 percent stake instead of accepting payment for appearing in ads. When Coca-Cola purchased Vitaminwater in 2007 for $4.1 billion, Wright scored a big payday.
There are other story lines to examine if you're a basketball fan (or sports fan in general), one of them being whether or not James would accept a discount to stay with the Heat beyond his contract. With his $30 million payday from the Apple-Beats deal, James could accept a lesser amount from the Heat if he was feeling generous, which would give the team room to sign other players and keep what looks to be a dynasty going. Of course, the more pressing matter for James is to even up the series with the San Antonio Spurs and win the race to four victories, which isn't looking at that likely at the moment.
Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Keith Allison)