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For any Michael Jordan fans that see LeBron James as a personal affront to your childhood, avert your eyes.
King James is building a Jordanesque brand.
In February, we wrote about the continued success of the Jordan brand. This month, His Airness became the first NBA player with a net worth over $1 billion. LeBron has stated that he would like to be (like Mike) a billion-dollar athlete someday. And LeBron is well on his way.
According to Forbes, LeBron has already earned over $50 million from endorsements this year. Sales of his Nike shoes top $300 million on an annual basis. In addition, LBJ reportedly made $30 million from his stake in Beats Electronics, which Dr. Dre sold to Apple earlier this month. You may remember LeBron's cameo in the Beats by Dre World Cup ad.
When LeBron opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat earlier this week, it was reported that the Heat's value - which has increased from $364 million to $770 million since LeBron arrived - could decrease by as much as $100 million if Lebron leaves. Every team in the NBA is well aware of the value LeBron's brand could bring. A value the NBA has not seen since, you guessed it, Michael Jordan.
So the comparisons continue. It may not be Coke versus Pepsi, but it will be interesting to see if LeBron's brand can enjoy the same staying power as MJ's when his career ends. If it does, it could help place James with Jordan in the rarified air of the billionaire's club.
While we will never get to see LeBron versus MJ on the hardwood, maybe someday we will get LeBron versus MJ in the boardroom. The staredown would be epic.
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