As our beloved state of Ohio prepares itself to tearfully bid goodbye to the King LeBron James (thanks for the win, we love you man) it is time to analyze LeBron’s Top Finance Lessons that keep him on top. Granted, accepting a $153.3 million-dollar four-year deal can make one quite financially comfortable to say the least. Still, many basketball players struggle to translate their high salaries into long term financial longevity. But not LeBron. What is his secret to building wealth, and what can we learn from it?
Lesson 1: Diversify, Diversify, Diversify.
LeBron James doesn't just earn his paycheck from playing basketball, as beautiful as it is. He has comprehensive sponsorships with companies like Nike, Kia, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Beats-by-Dre, Samsung and others; these endorsements make him around $50 million dollars a year. LeBron also invests in restaurants, football clubs, and start-ups. In fact, he earned $30 million dollars from investing in Beats Headphones before it was acquired by Apple. He was also one of the founding investors and spokesperson for Blaze pizza. In addition, James started a marketing and sports representation agency, as well as, a media company that has launched shows on Starz, NBC and Netflix. Lord knows where he found the time, but he even starred in Amy Schumer’s movie Trainwrecked, and will be starring in Space Jam 2 a sequel to the popular basketball movie starring Michael Jordan.
While we can’t all play at his level, we can learn a very valuable financial lesson here: Diversify. We all have the capacity to invest, build passive income, and start a side hustle. The more income streams you cultivate and develop, the more financially stable you will be. Now is the time, and as a Nike’d up LeBron would say - Just do it!
Lesson 2: Be the Best at What You Do
It goes without saying that LeBron James is the best (let’s not get into a James vs. Jordan argument right now). He is the only player in NBA history with 30,000 points, 8,000 assists, and 8,000 rebounds. But besides for God-given ability, being the best requires vigorous practice and hard work. Players have marveled at LeBron’s unparalleled work ethic, exclaiming that he is always the first one in the gym. “He played 38 minutes, he played hard. And the next morning, he was on the Versa-Climber when everybody else got there, and in full sweat doing a massive strength and cardio workout.” He was like, “The playoffs are coming! I’ve got to be ready! I’ve got to be able to play big minutes and play at a high level!”
Yes, we have not all been genetically blessed with LeBron’s natural talent, but that doesn't mean we cannot become the best at what we do by utilizing an unparalleled work ethic. With unrelenting focus, ferocity, and drive you can also become the best in your career. It may not happen overnight, but put in the time and become the best in your department, then become the best leader of your department, then become the best in your company. Never stop learning. Never stop rising. And Never back down.
Lesson 3: Be Your Own Authority & Think Ahead
Plan ahead. Shift your thinking from the next week, and month, to the years and decades that lie ahead of you. LeBron James has only accepted short contracts throughout his career in order to maximize his earning potential. This was true with Ohio's own Cleveland Cavaliers, and continues to be true with his signing only a four-year deal with the L.A. Lakers. While this choice is often critiqued as a risky move from basketball pundits as one injury has the ability to bring him down, his short contracts have allowed him to capitalize on the leagues constantly rising salary caps. This results in him consistently collecting higher earnings throughout his basketball tenure. LeBron always puts himself and his family first, negotiated hard, and planned ahead.
We can all learn from this on our own individual level. Ignore the criticism, ignore people's unwarranted opinions. If your work is holding you back from your potential, ‘take your talents to South beach’ so to speak. Make your success elsewhere. You do what's best for you always, you negotiate for the salary you deserve, and you maximize your goals and potential.
Lesson 4: Give back & Surround yourself with Good People.
LeBron believes in family, community and education. Although he was drafted as a kid out of high school, he didn't get lost in his fame and fortune. He focused on building a beautiful family, taking care of the community, and developing quality relationships. The LeBron James Family Foundation has pledged $41 Million Dollars to help at-risk kids stay in school. It spends $1 million dollars a year on initiatives that help elementary schoolers get interested in school, provides adults with college resources, and help students learn how to code. The foundation focuses on building LeBron’s hometown, our very own Akron, Ohio, but expands way beyond that. James has expressed that this is the most important professional accomplishment of his life. James surrounds himself with intelligent, and successful people who help him grow and build himself up. He is a friend of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, and according to reports he consults them about his potential investments and financial future. Warren Buffet has even said about him, “He’s savvy. He’s smart about financial matters. It’s amazing to me the maturity he exhibits.”
While you may not be able to get prime-time access to these financial giants, we are lucky enough to live in the age of technology. You can easily access their books and lectures, and educate yourself in financial literacy. Spend time giving back to your community, and network with quality people. Surround yourself with the people in your life who build you up, and consistently focus on elevating the good in your life.
LeBron is not just a successful athlete, he is an actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur and investor. LeBron does not limit himself to one label, why should you? Dare to expand yourself. Witkes Law Firm encourages you to embrace these 4 simple lessons that can transform your finances, lead you out of debt, and establish financial stability in your life. What are you waiting for?