Lebron James and Dr. Dre on the field at Fenway Park

Even though his team is down a game in the NBA Championship series against the San Antonio Spurs, athlete LeBron James does have something new to smile about. As part of Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, James is due to net a profit of $30 million:

In a recent example, while James was leading the Heat to a victory over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals, sources say the 29-year-old was finalizing what is believed to be the biggest equity cash payout for a professional athlete in history as part of Apple’s recent $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics. Sources briefed on the situation say James realized a profit of more than $30 million in cash and stock in the Beats sale after he had struck a deal to get a small stake in the company at its inception in 2008 in exchange for promoting its high-end headphones.

This $30 million comes from James’ stake in Beats, which he acquired in 2008 as part of him promoting the Beats line of headphones (as seen in the above image with Dr. Dre). Today’s report comes in light of the Miami Heat seeking to add superstar Carmelo Anthony to its roster during this upcoming NBA offseason. As part of signing Anthony, James would need to take a salary cut, and James is looking at new off-the-court business initiatives (like the Apple/Beats deal) to make up for that lost income.

According to ESPN, this payout results in the biggest payout of its kind for an athlete.

It is unclear if James will continue to work with Beats following the closing of the Apple acquisition. James is well-known to be the top spokesperson for Apple’s main rival, Samsung. This is not Apple’s first connection to a top NBA player. A couple of weeks ago, we broke the news about a meeting between LA Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Apple design chief Jony Ive at Apple’s Cupertino campus. It is unclear what the Bryant/Ive meeting was in regard to, but we speculate that perhaps Apple is lining up some sports sponsorship partnerships for its upcoming push into the health and fitness arena.

Apple announced its plan to acquire Beats by Dre and Beats Music and bring both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine into the Apple fold in May. The acquisition is expected to close in Q4 2014, and Apple has already promoted Dr. Dre via a phone call demo at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference and Iovine alongside services chief Eddy Cue at the recent Code Conference in Los Angeles. Apple (and James) also recently joined Beats in last week’s World Cup ad.

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6 Responses to “NBA superstar (and Samsung spokesman) LeBron James nets $30 million from Apple’s acquisition of Beats”

  1. I can’t stand James but there’s no denying his command over the marketing machine that is the NBA. Doesn’t hurt that he’s the most skilled and dominant player in the NBA. There will only be one Michael Jordan so while LeBron is amazing the annals of history will recall Jordan as the best to ever play the game as well as transcend the game like no other.

    It’s because of Jordan that LeBron has the off-court advantages he has today.

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    • I’m trying to understand the point of your post? Jordan had his time now it is Lebron’s time, GET OVER IT AND DEAL WITH IT!!

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    • For every reason you can’t stand Lebron, you should also not be able to stand Jordan, Kobe, Shaq, Magic etc…
      What’s wrong with Lebron? The truth is that people don’t like him because of one main reason. He’s the best and he’s not shy about it.
      But that’s the only way to be the best and stay the best.
      He didn’t cheat on wife, he didn’t make ridiculous statements in magazine interviews, and wait HE ACTUALLY PASSES the ball?

      Lebron is the best player of the current era. Whoever does not like him, is just not a fan of basketball. Whoever can’t stand him, is just a hater.

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      • Oh and Jordan had to be the best to get Gatorade money etc…
        So it has nothing to do with Jordan, but more so with how good Lebron is.
        Durant doesn’t get shoes, sprint, etc..etc.. if he’s just OK.
        Griffin doesn’t get KIA unless he jumps over one, and then jumps over everyone else in the NBA.
        You gotta earn it. I thank Jordan for being the best, that’s about it.

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  2. Jerry Donel says:

    Well, LAH DEE DAH! So far, all that the loyal supporters and users of Apple have seen is multi-million dollar payouts to folks like LeBron James (who doesn’t even use Apple products), and Dre (who couldn’t wait to spend $42 Million on a mansion). I have yet to see any benefit to Apple (clearly patronizing anybody and everybody about this “deal”) or us lowly consumers! You are not going to find me spending $200 on a pair of Beats earphones that are no better than any other you can find for less than $100 — so get real, folks!

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