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LeBron James the top-earning player for seventh straight year

LeBron James is the NBA’s top-earning player for the seventh straight year, including off-court income (2016-17 was the only season of his career James had the highest playing salary). He’s expected to earn $95.4 million, including an estimated $64 million from endorsements, memorabilia and media. It is a record haul for an NBA player and the highest ever in American team sports. The historic year will push his career earnings to $1 billion, including $700 million off the court. He joins Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in reaching the three-comma club while still an active athlete.
The “film,” as Nike calls it, focuses on some of the greatest comebacks we’ve seen in sports, from LeBron’s Cavaliers overturning a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals, to Tiger Woods returning from a back fusion surgery to win the 2019 Masters, to Paul George’s return to a superstar level following a devastating leg injury. “Right now, we’re fighting for something much bigger than a win, a championship. But if we’ve learned anything from sports, it’s that no matter how far down we may be, we are never too far down to come back.”
Like basketball fans worldwide, Eric Piatkowski watched “The Last Dance,” a 10-part mini-series on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. With each episode, Piatkowski was reminded of his NBA career, which spanned 14 years. The University of Nebraska graduate made his NBA debut 1994 with the Los Angeles Clippers. “My rookie year, we had the worst record in the NBA,” Piatkowski said. “We were averaging about 2,500 people per game. Everyone said ‘Wait until the Bulls come to town.’ Every star in town is there and there are flashbulbs going off. I’m like, ‘Man, this is amazing.'” Piatkowski remembers seeing several celebrities courtside for his first Bulls vs. Clippers game, including Tiger Woods, Denzel Washington, and Jack Nicholson. Piatkowski adds that prior to the game, his wife and family members were taking pictures with celebrities courtside.
James is The Associated Press male athlete of the decade, adding his name to a list that includes Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Arnold Palmer. He was a runaway winner in a vote of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, easily outpacing runner-up Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. “You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences,” James, who turns 35 Monday, told the AP. “A decade ago, I just turned 25. I’m about to be 35 and I’m just in a better (place) in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life.”
You told “The Breakfast Club” that the black athlete is the most exploited now. What did you mean by that? Andre Iguodala: Not now, but just historically, in general. In terms of our makeup, our athleticism, our ability to do things from an athletic standpoint that seems to be on a different level than anyone else, and it’s been turned into a sport. It started with boxing, right? Jack Johnson, and such a phenomenon he was. And it just gravitated to everything, you know, every time you step into any new realm of a sport — whether it be track and field, then it was basketball, football, with the racial barriers and then Jackie Robinson, baseball, leading the helm, and even with golf with Tiger Woods.