The playoff chances for the Los Angeles Lakers looked bleak in late February, with the team clinging to one of the final spots in the NBA’s play-in round and LeBron James suffering what was thought could be a season-ending foot injury.
Yet James miraculously returned to the court a month later, after he says a doctor told him he was “healing faster than anybody before they’ve seen with the injury.” The Lakers have won three of four games since, and appear likely to be playoff-bound with a handful of games to play.
It’s just the latest in a long string of superhuman feats James has accomplished since entering the NBA in 2003–both on and off the court. In June, Forbes named him a billionaire, making James and Tiger Woods the first ever athletes to hit a ten-digit net worth while still active in their respective sports.
James’ and Woods’ fortunes are anchored by massive and sustained earnings across two decades, both on the field of play through unparalleled athletic success and with endorsement deals equal to their icon status. Along the way, each has used the cash to build impressive investment portfolios.
The duo headline a group of 12 newcomers to the 2023 World’s Billionaires rankings, all of whom earned their spots thanks to the booming business of sports. In particular, these dozen new billionaires can thank the financial windfall that has come from ballooning media rights deals, which have sent team values and athlete earnings sky-high across several leagues. With good reason. Last year, 94 of the 100 most-watched linear telecasts in the United States were sporting events. And that doesn’t even include the value of new media like Netflix, which turned Toto Wolff, team principal and part-owner of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, into a celebrity billionaire with the effect of its “Drive to Survive” series on the value of Formula 1 teams.
Read the full story on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattcraig/2023/04/04/lebron-james-tiger-woods-toto-wolff-and-9-other-new-sports-billionaires-2023/?sh=5a2c3c417d90
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