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Be Wealthy & Smart

Jun 20, 2016

Learn what smart moves LeBron has made that are very different from other successful pro athletes, high-paid actors and lottery winners.

Congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers for winning the 2016 NBA Championship!

I’ve been reading about LeBron James and what a smart businessman he is.

I have to agree.

1. He knows a good deal when he sees one.

LeBron signed a contract right out of high school. Under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, he signed a 3-year deal worth a maximum $12.96 million.

2. He keeps his options open.

“Next year, LeBron is expected to have the highest salary in the NBA for the first time in his 13-year career. He knew this in 2014, which is why he became the first megastar player to take a one-year contract (with a one-year player option) in the midst of his prime, and why he did the same this past summer, positioning himself to cash in on the upcoming salary-cap spike.”

3. He takes equity positions.

When a headphones company called Beats came to him in 2008 looking for marketing help, LeBron put an equity stake ahead of making immediate cash. He gave pairs of Beats headphones to his Team USA teammates. Perhaps he knew images of the product at the Beijing Olympics would help launch the brand. Beats later sold for $3.2 billion to Apple, and James made tens of millions.

4. He thinks long-term.

Just signed a lifetime deal to wear Nike shoes. It is believed to be the first lifetime deal in the shoe and apparel company's 44-year history. No disclosure on the amount of the contract. Also, there are no personal blemishes to his reputation.

5. He thinks outside the box to create new roads less traveled.

His production company, SpringHill Entertainment, currently has deals for shows with Starz, Disney, Showtime and NBC, and a development deal with Warner Bros. He’s not afraid to think of new projects and to do something that hasn’t been done before.

6. He thinks like an owner.

That’s why he recently left McDonald's to become an investor in an upstart pizza chain, and why he has cut back on commercials. Harden is getting paid for pitching Taco Bell; LeBron is trying to make his money from owning a franchise like Taco Bell.

The other big-business announcement James made last week was a $15.8 million investment in Uninterrupted, a social-media platform he and his partners created last year that allows direct interaction between athletes and fans.

7. He contributes to charity.

LeBron set up a family foundation and has a program called “I promise”, paying college tuition to qualifiers. His foundation will donate $41 million to pay for 1,100 kids. The irony is he skipped college to join the NBA, but it certainly paid off for him. Now’s he’s giving back in a profound way by investing in young people and providing a way for them to have a better life.