Dr Boyce Watkins: You think LeBron James is wealthy? Well, it’s all relative

by Dr Boyce Watkins

I noticed that when I did a video yesterday about LeBron James, some people got a little offended, thinking that I was “dissing him.” The premise of the discussion was to explain that Warren Buffett earns more money in A DAY than LeBron earns in an entire year. Here are the facts to help you understand what was said and how it all went down: If you look at the list of the NBA’s highest paid players, you’ll find that LeBron is at the top of the list, earning slightly less than $31 million dollars per year. But if you look up the amount of money earned by investor Warren Buffett over the same time period, you’ll see that Buffett earns more money in a day ($37 million) than LeBron earned during an entire season of playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In fact, during the two minutes you’ve spent reading this article, Buffett has likely earned your entire years salary, even if he is asleep. If you are an average American, it would take you about 259,000 years to earn the amount of money that Buffett made this year.  "lebronsalary" Granted, this doesn’t include the many millions of dollars LeBron earns from corporate sponsorships. Buffett would need about three days to cover LeBron’s annual income when you include everything. Over the course of a month, Buffett earns more money than LeBron will likely earn during the course of his entire life. When I did this back-of-the-envelope calculation, I was quickly reminded that when you say anything about our celebrity heroes, some of us get all up in our feelings. I honestly feel sad for those of us who worship celebrities rather than celebrating the greatness and potential that lies within each of us. But let me be clear in what I am trying to say so that no one thinks that I’m throwing a “LeBron James diss”: My point is NOT to say that LeBron James is poor. It is NOT to say that he is a loser or that you want your child to grow up and become a white guy. *The point of this post is to say that you’re better off teaching your child to be a great investor and business owner than you are in teaching them to be a basketball or football player. Most basketball and football players NEVER EARN A PENNY from playing sports. More than a few serious athletes end up bankrupt, unemployed, addicted to pain killers and some have serious brain damage from taking so many hits to the head. I loved sports as much as the next child, but every day, I thank God that he never gave me enough talent to let me believe that I might have a chance to become the next LeBron. While 99% of all serious athletes never make any money playing sports, most serious investors eventually earn money and accumulate wealth. They can make money when they are old, when they are asleep, they can hire their relatives, and they can create massive institutions that are transferrable to those they leave behind. Professional athletes can do the same, but these opportunities are few and far between. The NBA can only sustain two or three hundred millionaires. But Wall Street and Entrepreneurship can sustain thousands. It’s much easier for your child to become a millionaire business owner than to become a professional athlete. Also, the money is longer and lasts for the rest of your life. I have thousands of former students who are now earning quite a bit of money. I have only a handful of friends who are wealthy from playing sports, and most of them (Etan Thomas and Allan Houston) preserved their wealth by getting a good education. In our Black Millionaires of Tomorrow program, we are teaching black kids the very same lessons that Warren Buffett’s father taught him. Also, our kids are starting businesses, buying stock and doing the exact same things that Buffett did as a child (Most of his first business deals were for less than $15 dollars). What bothers me is the massive number of black people who will find every reason to poke a hole in my theory, stating that black people are too poor, dumb or unfocused to do what millions of others are doing around the world. In fact, our $1.1 trillion in spending power exceeds the Gross Domestic Product of most countries on this earth, including Mexico, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. The key idea is that you have to stop making excuses or believing that only white people can do this. If our kids spent as much time learning to start businesses as we spend at football camp, basketball camp, and all this other stuff, many of these children would be multi-millionaires within a generation. A few of them are going to be billionaires. But most billionaires learned to make money from parents who took the time to teach them. But if you only spend your time teaching your child how to throw a football, they will only know how to work for someone else. So, while we’re sending our kids to sports camps, let’s also send them to entrepreneurship camps. While they’re learning how to hit jump shots, let’s make sure they’re learning how to buy shares of stock. As they seek to get a record deal, make sure they know how to do business deals. It’s not a matter of choosing one or the other, it’s actually about forming the kind of balance that ensures your child will be fighting the right battles in adulthood. Let’s start dreaming the RIGHT dream and let go of the PIPE dream. We can’t keep wasting all this potential. There’s nothing sadder in this world than a brother who’s put his entire life into trying to build a sports career, but can’t do anything else. He could have also been made into an economic leader. **Dr Boyce Watkins is a Finance PhD and founder of [The Black Wealth Bootcamp.](http://theblackwealthbootcamp.com/) To learn more, please visit [BlackFinancialLiteracy.com*](http://blackfinancialliteracy.com/)

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