Eleven reasons LeBron James is the biggest athlete on the planet

Either way, big names like Neymar, Jamie Foxx, and the wonderfully titled American footballer, Juju Smith-Schuster, were clearly impressed enough by the link-up to comment on Instagram. Who knows, maybe Neymar can only dream of getting brought on stage to drop a few bars with the big man Champagne Papi? It’s some power move.

LeBron might go by the moniker ‘King James’, but for people not that immersed in the NBA, just how big a deal is he? Is LeBron James the biggest athlete in the world rn?

We outline the case for why the answer to both of those questions is a confident “yup”.

1. He’s worth more than Messi and Drake

LeBron laughingGETTYIMAGES

Let’s get straight down to the meat and potatoes. We know what you all wanna know here – how much is this fella carrying?

According to Celebrity Net Worth, his bank balance is estimated at around $440m (£335.72m). According to Google, his salary is $35.65m (£27.20m), which would mean that he is, officially, coining it in more than Lionel Messi – just $400m (£305.20m) for Leo, according to the same source. That also makes him worth 4 times as much as both Drake and Eminem, who, according to Forbes, both have a net worth of $100m (£76.30m) each.

Wedged mate. Wedged.

2. He has more followers than Cara Delevigne

The big fella has 43 million followers on Instagram. For reference, his NBA nemesis Steph Curry has 22.1million followers and his predecessor as King of LA, Kobe Bryant, is way back on 8.9 million. Elsewhere in the sporting sphere, Tom Brady has 4.4 million followers and Serena Williams is rocking 10 million. Healthy, yes, but meagre in comparison.

To compare with a few big-hitting celebrities, Cara Delevigne has 41.4 million followers, Lady Gaga has 30.3 million, Harry Styles has 24.3 million, and Adele 32.4 million. He’s just a few mil shy of his mate Drake, who has 48.8 million followers.

AND he’s done all that despite his annual, post-season social media black-out – which he calls Zero Dark Thirty 23.

Rihanna absolutely loves LeBron and doesn’t care who knows it. Here she is temporarily emblazoning his number on her stomach for posterity.

If you’re going to have someone Stan you, you want it to be Rihanna.

4. Lil Wayne performed at his 21st

Lil Wayne performs at LeBron's 21stGETTYIMAGES

Two days before his 21st birthday back in 2005, LeBron celebrated with friends, family and VIPs. Tickets for the do reportedly ranged from $50 to $300, with proceeds going to charity. Better than a night in the social club hey.

Squad goals.

5. Beyoncé and Jay-Z performed at his wedding

He married his long-time girlfriend Savannah Brinson in 2013 and, instead of getting a wedding band, Bey and Jay performed ‘Crazy In Love’.

And it seems like Jay-Z doesn’t even mind being a third wheel in these memes the internkeeps providing about Queen Bey and King James.

6. He’s one of three players to get a lifetime deal with Nike

LeBron signed a lifetime deal with the sports brand in 2015. That was believed to be the first time Nike had announced any such deal for an athlete, although it’s assumed they also had a similar, existing deal with Michael Jordan and they have subsequently announced a lifetime deal with Cristiano Ronaldo too.

He was the NBA’s top sneaker salesman of 2017, according to market research, with his signature sneakers, putting him ahead of Kyrie Irving (2nd) and Kevin Durant (3rd) – who both also have signature sneakers with Nike.

7. He’s going to be in the new Space Jam

Space Jam 2 is happening and LeBron is going to be taking the lead role that Michael Jordan played in the original.

His own production company, SpringHill Entertainment, is behind the project.

His previous roles in front of camera include the film Trainwreck, where he played himself (and beautifully so, may we add) alongside Amy Schumer. He’s also got his own HBO show called ‘The Shop’ and produced the YouTube series ‘Best Shot’.

Renaissance man.

8. He owns 2% of Liverpool FC

King James is a big Liverpool fan. So, in 2011, he bought a 2% stake in the club. Why not eh? A senior writer for ESPN reported earlier this year that that stake had grown five times in seven years – originally worth $6.5 million, now more like $32 million.

In the black with the Reds.

9. He set up his own school

Earlier this year, he opened his own school for underprivileged children. The I Promise School will take in 240 at-risk students in LeBron’s hometown of Akron, Ohio.

Every kid in the school will receive a bike. James has said that this was so important for him as a kid, in terms of being able to escape from dangerous parts of his neighbourhood and getting to explore.

Good lad.

10. He’s ‘more than an athlete’

When he talks, people listen and he’s used his status to try and bring about social and political change. After Fox News host Laura Ingraham objected to LeBron criticising US President Donald Trump by suggesting that stars like him should “shut up and dribble”, he responded he was “more than just an athlete” and created the hashtag #wewillnotshutupanddribble

He’s been involved in activism before, famously wearing a T-shirt before a Cavs game in 2014 that had the slogan, “I can’t breathe,” – the last words of Eric Garner, who died following a confrontation with a New York police officer and whose story was a catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement.

11. Oh, and he’s quite good at basketball too

LeBron with trophiesGETTYIMAGES

Some stats for you to munch on…

NBA Championships: 3

NBA Season MVP: 4

NBA Finals MVP: 3

NBA All-Star selections: 14

Big. In. The. Game.

So, yeah, he’s pretty massive.

Source: BBC Sport