Cleveland, Ohio - A couple of million Americans will be watching closely as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors compete for the 2018 NBA championship. LeBron James, a 6'8, 250 pound man who plays for the Cavaliers is the King James Version of basketball.
I was recently in Cleveland, Ohio while the Indiana Pacers were in town. Interestingly the Pacers were staying in my hotel and I saw them often on the elevator or the hotel lobby. The evening I was there I went down to the lobby in search for a snack and then headed back to the elevator when two men walked across the lobby area briskly and entered into the elevator first. I followed them on and was a bit awestruck that one guy with a baseball cap was large. He was maybe 6'8 or 6'9 and very stocky. I never mean to stare but this man looked familiar. He never looked at me to engage but kept his eyes on the elevator. By the time they got off the elevator I knew I was riding with the king of basketball - LeBron James.
Two weeks later I was back in Cleveland and had the opportunity to watch James and the Cavaliers play the Boston Celtics in the third game of their series. He scored 27 points and had 12 assists, just another night's work for James.
While NBA television viewership doesn't sound big, the NBA reached a television deal with ESPN and Turner Sports for 24 billion dollars over a nine year stretch in October of 2014. Thus, all NBA players earn very nice paychecks but especially King James. Forbes says James earned $86 million in 2017, including a $31.2 million salary and a whopping $55 million in product endorsements. James penned one Nike endorsement deal for $90 million dollars while he was still in high school. He has a net worth of $400 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. His salary for 2018 is $33,285,709. His total earnings for 2018 are reported to be about 85.3 million dollars. His salary is actually the second highest behind Stephen Curry who reportedly makes $34,682,550. This does not include Curry's endorsement money.
While LeBron's salary is mind boggling his stats as a player are whopping numbers as well. He has averaged 27.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds every game in 2018. For his entire 15 year NBA career he has averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists every game. So far during the NBA 2018 finals he has scored over 40 points seven times putting him hot on the heels of Jerry West who scored over 40 points eight times in the NBA playoffs in 1965 when he was 26 years old.
I predict he gets over 40 at least twice in the Golden State series and expands his kingdom's reign.