Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James is not only considered to be one of the greatest players in basketball but he’s also among the highest-paid ballers on the hardcourt.
What a lot of people don’t know is that the 35-year-old athlete has other surprising streams of income outside the sport that earns him large paychecks.
For one, James reportedly holds the distinction of being the NBA’s highest-paid social media influencer.
Proof of this is the estimated $300,000 he earns for one sponsored post he publishes on his personal Instagram account, where he has almost 60 million followers. And according to data, the athlete makes almost twice as much for each of his posts than any other of his co-players in the NBA.
James’ endorsements include products from brands like Ladder Sport, Nike, and GMC Hummer. In fact, he’s even struck a lifetime deal with Nike for a reported $1 billion.
His stint as a social media influencer may even end up paying more than his primary occupation of being a pro basketball player. Just two posts on Instagram will already cover his earnings per game with more to spare.
According to celebrity manager Mayah Riaz, James’ appeal is that he has an ‘incredible reach’ on the popular photo-sharing social media site. This means that his followers would be more likely to look at his posts compared to traditional advertisements.
She also emphasized just how significant Instagram has become in people’s lives remarking how over a billion people around the world use it regularly.
What more, it’s not surprising that companies have taken note of this and have found ways to capitalize on it as well.
These same companies have also found that influencer marketing gives them a better return on their investment on ads.
Instagram’s Biggest Earners
While James’ success on Instagram is certainly impressive, his earnings are eclipsed by even bigger athletes-influencers and celebrities. For example, Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly gets paid a whopping $975,000 per post.
That translates to about $47.8 million a year in income. In comparison, his annual salary for playing for Juventus is just $34 million. The 35-year-old athlete has more than $203 million followers on Instagram alone.