Tiger Woods and LeBron James have been recognized among the world’s ‘new sports billionaires’ on Forbes’ billionaire list. Toto Wolff, Jessica Steinbrenner Swindal, Hal Steinbrenner, Irving Grousbeck, Amy Adams Strunk, Mark Davis, David Blitzer, Larry Tanenbaum, and Robert “Woody” Johnson are among the others.
According to Forbes, the NBA superstar arrived on the list with a net worth of $1 billion, while Woods arrived with a net worth of $1.1 billion.
With both sports stars in the spotlight, here are some highlights of how they became billionaires.
Tiger Woods went from grace to grass and rebounded to reclaim his position as the world’s leading golfer. He made $2.1 billion over his career and benefited from a long-standing Nike connection.
However, Woods’ career suffered as a result of a publicized divorce due to adultery, which resulted in the loss of many endorsement deals, a few run-ins with the law, and a succession of injuries.
The athlete, on the other hand, was able to put his history behind him and prove his critics wrong. The 47-year-old won his fifth Masters championship at the Augusta National in 2019, capping off one of the greatest comebacks in athletic history. It was his first major triumph in 11 years.
Woods’ historic victory was praised on social media by Barack Obama, President Donald Trump, LeBron James, Serena Williams, and his longstanding partner, Nike, which stuck by him throughout his turbulent years.
According to Forbes, LeBron James is the first active NBA player to become a billionaire. Though Michael Jordan is the NBA’s only other billionaire, he did not achieve that status until 2014, years after he retired from the league.
Forbes also notes that the Los Angeles Lakers star has “maximized his business,” to more than $1.2 billion in pretax earnings. “He has commanded more than $385 million in salary from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, as the NBA’s highest-paid active player. Off the court, he has raked in upwards of $900 million in income from endorsements and other business ventures,” Forbes wrote.
However, he owes his billionaire status to his principal sources of revenue outside of basketball. “James has long structured deals to give him equity in brands with which he partners, giving him a share of the upside rather than a quick paycheck.”
In 2015, James walked away from a McDonald’s endorsement deal for an estimated $15 million over four years to invest in the fast-growing Blaze Pizza franchise. He’s invested in companies like Tonal, a smart gym, and Lyft, the ride-hailing giant.”
The four-time NBA champion is also behind TV and movie studio, SpringHill Entertainment, which helped produce “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” a movie he starred in, which earned $163 million in box office receipts worldwide.