When future Basketball Hall of Famer LeBron James debuted in the NBA in 2003, he was an 18-year-old with the weight of enormous expectations on his shoulders. One example? Before even joining the league, he signed a $90 million shoe deal with Nike—a contract that was worth more than his rookie agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Legend has it that King James spent only $2,000 of the initial Nike windfall. Regardless of whether it’s true, it indicates a certain financial savvy James has maintained over the course of his storied, two-decade career.
Now worth north of a billion dollars, James has managed to build an impressive real estate portfolio. We’ve chronicled his many moves over the years and have always appreciated his taste for luxury properties.
As the ageless wonder continues his reign on the court in the 2023 NBA playoffs, he’s also shown serious property acumen off the court. Let’s take a look at James’ impressive real estate lineup.
Home, sweet home in Ohio
There’s plenty of evidence that James did spend more than $2,000 in 2003. We’re not sure if he dipped into his shoe-contract money or his Cavaliers loot, but he did plunk down $2.1 million on a property in his hometown of Akron, OH, two decades ago. The existing home on the property was razed so James could build a custom mansion.
The sprawling residence tops 30,000 square feet and has six bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and six half-baths. Baller amenities are said to include a bowling alley, recording studio, and barbershop.
For a sense of the home’s massive scale and serious seclusion, check out this drone video:
And before the huge house was completed in 2007, James purchased an adjoining 2,989-square-foot property for $425,000 in 2006. That five-bedroom home is now connected to the mansion via a long driveway.
Sojourn through the Sunshine State
After spurning the Cavaliers and taking his talents to Miami to form a superteam with the Heat, James needed a fabulous place in Florida.
He purchased a six-bedroom, waterfront mansion for $9 million in the Coconut Grove neighborhood in November 2010. He even snagged a bargain on the home, which had been listed for $11.9 million.
After four seasons and two rings with the Heat, James returned to Ohio, promising to deliver Cleveland a long-awaited championship.
James put his 16,000-square-foot Coconut Grove home back on the market in October 2014 for $17 million, a serious markup after four years.
It was an ambitious gambit, but James wound up reducing the price to $15 million and eventually selling it in August 2015 for $13.4 million.
James’ former house changed hands again in 2021 for $12.75 million. It appears the mansion underwent a makeover and landed back on the market last month with a $21.9 million price tag. There’s no sign of James’ former presence, but the bay views are still sublime.
Brentwood, then Beverly Hills
In the midst of his second stint with the Cavs, James’ eyes wandered out West. In 2015, Cleveland fans were dismayed to learn he had picked up a six-bedroom mansion for $21 million in Los Angeles’ tony Brentwood neighborhood.
By this time, James had made his entertainment-industry ambitions clear, so the purchase of a home near Hollywood seemed logical—even if it left Cavs fans worried that he had one foot out the door again. But then he delivered the NBA Championship to Cleveland, in an improbable upset of the Golden State Warriors in 2016. The win guaranteed him lifetime cred with Ohioans.
However, in 2017—amid rumors of his intention to eventually join the Los Angeles Lakers—he purchased another home in Brentwood, this time for $23 million. The brand-new spec home featured eight bedrooms, marble floors, and walls of glass that open to the Southern California sun.
One year later, the rumors proved true and James signed on to rejuvenate the Lakers franchise. He was content with his pair of Brentwood homes. Then in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the league shut down, and James went house hunting.
He wound up with a true trophy—a compound in Beverly Hills once owned by the creator of the soap operas “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” The prestigious property had been on the market for $39 million, but James sealed the deal for $36,750,000 that September.
The spread offers two detached guesthouses, a screening room, and million-dollar views.
At the time of his purchase, agents cited the property’s seclusion and size (2.5 acres) as huge advantages. It ticks the boxes of land, views, and privacy—a rare trifecta in this extremely wealthy enclave.
After buying the Beverly Hills home, James decided to unload one of his Brentwood properties. He put the house he purchased in 2015 back on the market in 2021 for $20.5 million, a little less than what he had paid. After a few months, it was sold for $19.6 million, a rare loss for an all-time winner.