In November 2019 LeBron James shared his true feelings about his long-time love, Savannah. But when he did, the basketball star probably didn’t expect his candid confession to cause such a sensation online. Yet that’s precisely what happened – with fans all over the globe clamoring to give their varied opinions on LeBron’s statements. What was the verdict? The so-called Chosen One’s millions of followers claim they’ve now seen him for who he really is.
Of course, we’re not just talking about LeBron being a hugely talented basketball player and a celebrity of the highest order. No, we’re talking about the man behind the headlines. The husband, the father, the friend – in short, the person the court-side cameras never get to see. And, perhaps, the person that LeBron would rather not reveal in public all that often. Some things are best kept to ourselves, after all.
Romance, for instance, is one aspect of our lives that is normally saved for our private lives. Yet Savannah has been LeBron’s lady for a while now, so she’s likely used to the intense scrutiny LeBron is under. The couple first got together when they were both in high school, you see – although she wasn’t all that keen on him back then. But now, nearly two decades later, the pair are still together. Though rarely does LeBron talk quite so candidly about Savannah in public.
That’s unless he’s talking about things other than romance. Like, for example, the couple’s work focusing on education in hometown Akron. This includes the LeBron James Family Foundation, which helps youngsters make the best of school. In 2015 the organization linked up with the University of Akron to spend $41 million to send kids to college. The cause is particularly close to the pair’s hearts, too.
Savannah told fashion magazine Vogue in 2017 about the couple’s beliefs. She said, “If there’s nothing more you can do for a child, just constantly encourage them and set them on the right path when it comes to sports or their schoolwork or nurturing a hobby – with whatever it is. Just be a constant source of encouragement. That’s what LeBron talks about – never give up.”
And she would know. LeBron and Savannah James – née Brinson – have been a team for a long time. They met during high school, although they didn’t attend the same establishment. In fact, Savannah’s school was a couple of miles away from LeBron’s. So when she first saw him, she was clueless about who he was – despite his growing fame as a ballplayer.
Then, when LeBron saw Savannah at a football game, he desperately wanted to know her. So he got her number from a friend and invited her to watch him play a game. She was astonished by his talent, as she told Harper’s Bazaar, “I went, and I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is pretty popular in here.’”
So it’s little wonder that Savannah decided that she wanted to know more about the high-school superstar. Soon, then, they were talking on the phone and that led to a date. Yes, the pair dined at Outback Steakhouse. On the night, they just chatted about nothing special – but what came afterward sealed their fate.
After dropping Savannah home, LeBron noticed that she’d forgotten her leftovers. But that wasn’t a problem – LeBron showed a penchant for gallantry by going back to the restaurant to collect her food. She’d later say, “I’d totally forgotten about them, and he brought them to me. I think he just wanted another excuse to come and see me.”
But perhaps, as some suggested, Savannah had purposely left the box behind. Well, if she did, the ploy worked, and the two became inseparable. And soon after, Savannah was pregnant with what would be their first child, LeBron Jr. That wasn’t ideal for a 17-year-old girl, but LeBron stood up for her. And a few years later, she’d have another son, Bryce.
Yet the couple dated for roughly ten years before LeBron finally decided to make Savannah his wife. But this turn of events had been a foregone conclusion for some time – he’d just never asked. He told Oprah Winfrey, “I was like, ‘This is the lady and the woman I have been with through all the good and all the bad. She’s been there for a long time,’ and I wanted her to continue to be there with me, so I felt like at that moment it was time.”
So as the clock ticked over to 2012, LeBron knelt and popped the question. Unsurprisingly for a big earning player, he offered her quite a stunning ring to mark the engagement. The platinum band showcased a huge diamond, creating old-school jewelry the likes of Us Weekly expert Michael O’Connor claimed hadn’t been seen in a half-century. It’s thought to have set LeBron back a cool $300,000.
Before the big moment, though, LeBron asked friend Dwyane Wade to keep the ring so that Savannah didn’t rumble his plans. When he told Wade that the time had come, his fellow basketballer asked if he was certain. Humorously, LeBron responded along the lines of, “Gimme the ring, or it might never happen!”
The nerves certainly gripped LeBron. As he explained to Oprah, “It felt like a finals game.” He added, “I had been thinking about it, you know, for a while but it just came to me one day, and I was like, ‘This is a part of growth for me.’” And given that they had a solid romance, Savannah was happy to say yes.
So in September 2013 LeBron and Savannah got hitched in a three-day bash in San Diego, California. However, they kept the wedding quiet, and it’s said that guests weren’t allowed to bring their cameras or phones. But one thing that we can be certain of, given LeBron’s reputation for enjoying a party, is that it was an extravaganza.
Yet even the invite to the celebration that LeBron sent out gave no clue as to where the wedding was. In fact, guests had to call a provided number to get details about the location of the “Welcome Barbeque” or the “Farewell Brunch.” And Preston Bailey, a wedding planner to the stars, made sure that the occasion remained private, according to website The Sportster.
Even so, the actual wedding – held at the Fairmont Grand del Mar hotel in San Diego – had some stellar invitees. Some were basketball people, such as Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. But perhaps topping them were Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who serenaded the guests with “Crazy in Love,” reported The Sportster.
Now that they’re married, though, the pair have the serious work of bringing up three kids. Mind you, that’s a job LeBron has largely left Savannah in charge of. He told Vogue, “I’m gone a lot, so she is the boss of the household; she’s the rule-setter. It’s hard for me to go on the road for two and a half weeks and then come home and tell my kids, ‘Look, this is how it should be done’ when she’s been home every day.”
So the James household is arguably not too dissimilar to LeBron’s when he was growing up. You see, his mom, Gloria, largely brought LeBron up on her own. Then, aged nine, LeBron moved in with local football coach Frank Walker, who gave him his first taste of basketball. And by the time he’d gotten to fifth grade, LeBron was playing in a team.
Shocking some people in Akron, LeBron went to St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, which was largely white. And soon the school’s team, The Fighting Irish, needed a bigger arena because so many people wanted to see him play. Among the many who flocked to see the burgeoning star were scouts, who enjoyed LeBron’s stellar performances.
And in 2003’s NBA draft, LeBron was the first player chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the nearest team to his hometown. The star immediately began to fulfill his hype, scoring 25 points on his debut. He would also be voted Rookie of the Year in his first year and later become Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice.
But in 2010 LeBron entered free agency and decided it was time to move on. And he made his choice of Miami Heat for his next team during a televised show called The Decision. The show made millions for charity, particularly for the Boys & Girls Club at Greenwich, Connecticut, which hosted the special.
So in July 2010 LeBron signed on the dotted line with the Heat, which put on a massive party to welcome him and two other free agent signings. But while LeBron was exuberant about his move, the sentiment wasn’t shared by many. In fact, LeBron entered the 2010-11 season in the role of villain.
But for the Heat, LeBron was definitely a hero. In 2012, you see, he took the team all the way to a ring, as he starred in the Finals against Oklahoma City Thunder. Then LeBron took MVP, and he won it again in 2013 when the Heat backed up against the San Antonio Spurs.
In 2014, though, LeBron made a sentimental return to the Cavaliers – by then the worst team in the NBA. They didn’t stay bad for long, however, as the star inspired them to reach the Finals in 2015 – although they couldn’t overcome the Golden State Warriors. And in 2016 the Cavaliers went one better, becoming the first champion in pro sports from Cleveland in a half-century.
Overall, then, LeBron spent his career as the main man on the ball, with playmaking top among his many skills. And some believe him to be one of the NBA’s greatest-ever passers. He even mastered an early tendency to pass when experts believed that he should shoot, particularly later in a game.
Of course, LeBron has been a star off the court as well. Companies have lined up to have him endorse their goods, while he has gotten involved in business on his own account. With partner Maverick Carter, he owns film production company, SpringHill Entertainment, which made the documentary More Than A Game. And in 2019 LeBron cheekily tried to trademark the phrase “Taco Tuesday,” but to no avail.
On the home front, though, Savannah stayed in Ohio when LeBron went to Miami to play for the Heat. But that didn’t cause a problem because she completely trusted the basketball star. Her mom, Jennifer, explained that no one expected LeBron to get up to anything naughty while away. She said, “If LeBron was going to do something shady, he can do that around the corner. He doesn’t have to go to Miami.”
Savannah had something to say about the outrage that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans expressed over LeBron switching to Miami, too. She told Harper’s Bazaar, “You have fans and you think they’re going to roll with you no matter what, and then they burn your jersey? It’s unfair. But they did it. It’s over.”
Moving forward… In 2014 the couple gave another sign of their togetherness in the form of daughter Zhuri. LeBron told USA Today what having a girl meant to him in 2018. He said, “Three years ago, this bright spot right here happened to our family. And not only did she change me, she’s made me a better person. A more dedicated person, a stronger person… I realized that I have so much more of a responsibility to women in general.”
LeBron has made it clear to Savannah what she means to him as well. And her birthdays provide the perfect occasions. For instance, LeBron put on a glamorous party for her 30th before topping the gesture with a new Ferrari. He wrote about it on social media, “Took me a long time to find your masterpiece, but I wouldn’t stop until I did, and now I can’t wait to watch u cruise off into the sunset.”
Wedding anniversaries provided LeBron with chances to show his love even more. On their fifth anniversary, for instance, he surprised Savannah in their own home. Unbelievably, singer Daniel Caesar performed his smash hit “Best Part” just for her. LeBron posted about it on Instagram, writing, “Happy Anniversary!!! Love you forever.”
So it turns out that LeBron’s a man who’s not scared to show his feelings every now and then. In fact, in 2016 he was in tears after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Finals. Although the internet wasn’t kind, dubbing him “crying LeBron,” the star had the perfect answer. Yes, he hit back, “Real men cry” – before pointing out that he even had a good weep during The Lion King.
And one of the emotions that LeBron has expressed has been guilt. At one point, this led him to apologize to his wife. When she asked what he was sorry for, he said, “Because the journey that I’m on to want to be the greatest to ever play this game… I’ve at times lost the fact of how important you are to this whole thing. I want you to understand that along this journey… there will be times that I lose the fact of how important you and my three kids are – my babies are.”
So having painted this picture of a very sensitive man in love with his woman, we perhaps shouldn’t have been surprised by an outburst of worship on Facebook in November 2019. Still, it was a moment where LeBron’s admiration overflowed into a truly sentimental message to Savannah.
LeBron wrote on Facebook, “The only reason why I can do what I do at the highest level both on and off the floor is because my best friend got my back regardless the outcome! I’m just the car, she’s the engine! Appreciate you Wonder Woman aka Queen @mrs_savannahrj.” And the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Singer Chris GQ Perry perhaps caught the vibe best, when he posted in the comments’ section. Perry wrote, “When you have a good woman by your side who loves and supports you it’s truly a blessing my brother.” And Perry was just one of 99,000 people who reacted positively, as the post clocked up likes. 3,000 folks made comments, too.
But, digging deeper, it’s not the only time LeBron has expressed deep love and appreciation for Savannah online. For the 2019 post reflected what the superstar had had to say in 2013, when he was on his honeymoon. On that occasion, he shared with Instagram exactly how he felt about being married to Savannah.
Back then LeBron wrote, “When u have someone that’s always there for you no matter the ups and downs in life, it makes it all worth living for! So happy to call u Mrs. Savannah James.” After that, more than 200,000 people queued up to like the Instagram post.
And come summer 2019 LeBron again took to Instagram to share his feelings. Captioning a photo of Savannah, he wrote, “Some got no luck and some got all the luck in the world. I definitely got lucky with you that for sure!” Amazingly, that was a message that more than a million users liked. Slam dunk!
Yet with a net worth estimated at $480 million, LeBron James is one of the wealthiest athletes in the world. So another question that fans want to know is: how does a star who’s still only 35 years old make such a staggering amount of money? And – more importantly – what does he spend it on? Well, it’s a long and interesting story…
James hasn’t always been wealthy, you see. As a child, in fact, the future NBA star was raised on welfare and used food stamps to feed himself. At one point, he even had to sleep on a couch instead of in a proper bed. On top of this, the young James regularly skipped school and consequently seemed destined for a life of little hope.
All that began to change, however, when a nine-year-old James was signed on to a youth basketball team in his native Akron, Ohio. And he quickly excelled at the sport; indeed, he would end his high school senior year as arguably his team’s most promising player.
Naturally, he then caught the attention of the big leagues. And in 2003 he was the first person to be selected in the NBA draft. James was eventually picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers – a canny move by the team, as his first season proved to be a very successful one. Indeed, the 2003 to 2004 basketball season even saw him honored with the prestigious Rookie of the Year Award.
And throughout his career, James has gone from strength to strength. During his time with the Cavaliers – as well as a four-year stint with the Miami Heat – the player has earned four MVP awards and won the NBA Championships three times. He also gained gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Perhaps James’ biggest achievement, though, came when he scored an unbelievable 61 points during a March 2014 game against the Charlotte Bobcats. That beat his previous record by five points and took the Miami Heat to a 124 to 107 win. And there’s no doubt that he cemented his title as the undisputed king of the rim in the process.
Thanks to his unparalleled reputation on the court, then, James can commend a hefty salary. In fact, in 2016 the star finalized a three-year, $100 million contract with the Cavaliers. And since his presence in Cleveland was once estimated to bring in around $500 million to the city during the basketball season, we’d say that’s a fairly generous deal.
But James’ NBA salary isn’t the only source of his bountiful income. In his first year as a professional baller, for example, the giant signed a $90 million endorsement deal with Nike. Today, however, he earns roughly $30 million a year from shoe sales. His current deal with the company, meanwhile, is rumored to be worth more than $1 billion.
And let’s just say that James’ riches haven’t gone unnoticed. What’s more, they’re something that he’s more than willing to joke about. In 2015 rom-com Trainwreck, for one, James proved to be a good sport by playing a hilariously cheap version of himself. “I don’t know how long this could last,” he quips in the movie. “I’m not about to end up like MC Hammer.”
In reality, however, LeBron James is nothing like his on-screen alter ego. Indeed, while the player isn’t one to brag about his riches, he’s not afraid to splash his cash either. And his kingdom is littered with the sort of spoils that dreams are made of.
Let’s start with his houses. In his first year with the Cavaliers, the athlete built his own 30,000-square-foot mansion in Akron at a cost of $9.2 million. And the estate contains all manner of neat toys, such as a dual-lane bowling alley, a recording studio and even a barbershop.
While playing in Miami, meanwhile, James spent $9 million on a 16,700-square-foot property in Coconut Grove. That’s a pad on which he made an impressive $4.4 million profit upon his return to Cleveland. He also purchased a ritzy $21 million Brentwood, Los Angeles home back in 2015.
And like any self-respecting celebrity millionaire, James’ garage is filled with an enviable selection of automobiles. That collection has included the luxe likes of a Porsche 911 Turbo S, a Ferrari F430 Spider and a sleek Maybach 57S. Undoubtedly pride of place, though, is a $670,000 Lamborghini Aventador custom sprayed in the style of his “King’s Pride” Nike sneaker.
The small forward doesn’t just like to splash out on property or cars, either. He’s also a keen fan of tattoos and has been known to get his ink done by NYC-based Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy – an artist who charges $400 per hour. And with sessions lasting a minimum of two-and-a-half hours, that’s as much as $1,000 a hit.
In addition, James is very smart with his investments. His stake in rapidly growing chain Blaze Pizza, for example, looks set to make him a whole lot more cash. The star also put his cash into Beats Electronics before its $3 billion Apple acquisition as well as towards a piece of English soccer club Liverpool F.C. and into his own multimedia company, Uninterrupted.
In fact, his business savvy has even brought him kudos from some serious financial players. Warren Buffett – who is worth an estimated $73.1 billion – told ESPN in 2013, “You have to understand that LeBron is very smart financially. I’ve never heard him say anything that doesn’t make sense.”
But LeBron doesn’t just spend money on gifts for himself. When it came time to pop the question to girlfriend Savannah Brinson, for example, the star is said to have shelled out between $250,000 and $300,000 for a five-carat diamond engagement ring. Brinson would probably say that it’s worth every penny.
And that’s just the tip of James’ generosity. In 2015 the player launched the LeBron James Family Foundation in his native Akron. Specifically, James has teamed up with the University of Akron to offer scholarships of approximately $38,000 for college attendance – a move that could change the lives of up to 2,300 children. Certainly, then, it seems as if the player doesn’t want youths to face the impoverished life he could have had.
So with all the money LeBron James is making, we don’t blame him for splashing his cash on some eye-watering acquisitions. But the extent of his modesty and philanthropy is truly surprising and just makes us love him more. Let’s hope, then, that the king stays the king for years to come.