LeBron James Made $30 Million from His Headphones Deal

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LeBron James is having a pretty awesome couple weeks. Not only is his team in the NBA Finals, as it turns out, he earned a cool $30 million in cash and stock when Beats sold to Apple

ESPN casually mentioned his mega profit in a discussion about his potential new teammates.

While James was leading the Heat to a victory over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals, sources say the 29-year-old was finalizing what is believed to be the biggest equity cash payout for a professional athlete in history as part of Apple’s recent $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics. Sources briefed on the situation say James realized a profit of more than $30 million in cash and stock in the Beats sale after he had struck a deal to get a small stake in the company at its inception in 2008 in exchange for promoting its high-end headphones.

It was a smart move to take the stock as payment when he began promoting Beats, and much smarter than anyone could have imagined at the time. 

As for his future with the company, its unclear if James' stake was negotiated during the sale to Apple. Regardless, this major pay bump means, if he wanted, James could take less money from the Miami Heat, freeing up more for other players. Roger Sherman at SBNation noted, "His off-court earnings make his actual salary somewhat irrelevant. He can afford to take less money, and allow his team to fit in other quality players under the league-mandated salary cap. And the more his team wins, the more he’ll be worth to potential endorsers, now and in the future.”

Win, win, win all around for James, which is what he's used to. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.