Is Lebron James Rich or Wealthy


Is Lebron James Rich or Wealthy?


Timolin R. Langin


In my writing and conversations, the topic about the difference between rich and wealthy comes up from time to time. Some people would say there’s not much of a difference between the two. When you have millions and billions of dollars, then you are both rich and wealthy.

One could easily say many athletes fall into both categories.

But what about Lebron James? Is he an athlete who falls into both categories? Given his latest actions, Lebron James proves he is more than just an athlete, celebrity or entertainer. He is a genius, businessman/entrepreneur, though some would argue differently.

While reminiscent of a Muhammad Ali or even a modern-day Magic Johnson, Lebron James has differentiated himself from many previous athletes as a GOAT (greatest of all times) — not just for his athleticism, but also one of the GREATEST in terms of giving back, and setting a proper example for others; particularly other athletes and celebrities.

To whom much is given, much is required!

What Lebron has done by opening the I Promise School is monumental; one of the most powerful acts I have ever witnessed in all my years as a teacher and educator; acts that will truly change lives of the often “forgotten ones” for the better in a tangible, touching and stirring way.

Opening of the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, OH is symbolic and substantive. Here are just a few things, the school provides for its community:

Free Tuition & Uniforms


College Tuition for graduates

Bicycles & Helmets for all students

GED & Employment Programs for parents

By opening a STEM school of this caliber, Lebron has just cemented himself not only as one of the greatest basketball players ever, but a great human being who has left an indelible legacy for the students of I Promise School, its community, and people at large who aspire to be like him, including me, now.

To varying degrees, we are all role models. Whether we ask for it or not. There is always a child watching, looking and mimicking us.

Greatness always expects and requires us to go above and beyond what we normally do and what is normally expected.

Helping the needy, providing direct support to children and parents who hurt, and empowering them through proper education are not places where people in general, normally travel. The ones who do don’t expect and don’t usually receive accolades, “pats on the backs” and “Atta boy or girl.”

I gather the guiding principles of I Promise School are in alignment with the beliefs and practices of all the stakeholders:  staff, administrators, teachers and community.  This pact reflects what is missing in many under-served and under resourced communities.

Again, I have never seen this kind of giving back to people who need it most.

Lebron’s insight to what an effective instructional program looks like—STEM– is higher than most educational programs serving under-resourced communities. I would not be surprised to see I Promise School serve as a model to build similar schools in similar communities throughout the United States.

I hope strategic money management and entrepreneurship are also deeply rooted and included in the curricula.  As we know, they too are essential in decreasing poverty and changing circumstances for the better.

Hats off to Lebron. We are in an era where third grade test scores, IEPs and politics are used to determine the number of prisons to build. This statistic is particularly true for the children who attend I Promise School. Given this data, Lebron is choosing not to just shut up and dribble! He opened a school for 3rd and 4th graders instead!

Before answering the opening question, let’s explore the difference between being rich and being wealthy.

According to a Sports Illustrated article, most sports personalities, celebrities and entertainers appear to be wealthy, but are in fact rich.  Rich means you may have had 100 million-dollar contracts and 5 years after retirement you have little to show for them. Short term. Being rich has a shelf life. This situation perpetuates negative circumstances on family and community life.

With this definition of rich in mind, let’s get back to the opening question, is Lebron James rich or wealthy?

The answer to this question requires us to an examine an idea, ideal or concept, I believe, is often overlooked today in wealth building discussions and that is………FAMILY!

I believe FAMILY surrounding family is the difference between being wealthy and being rich!

Our greatest resource is our relationships! Being wealthy in relationship is being truly blessed. A person who is surrounded by like-minded people is truly fortunate.

A person who is traveling life’s journey with family and friends who are on one accord is truly successful.  Add proper financial resources and they become wealthy.

Let’s take a brief look at a few popular wealthy families and how we identify them as such. The Bush Family Ranch, the Clinton Foundation, the Kennedy Compound and the Royal Family. We know their family tree, and their children’s names whether we agree or disagree with their politics.

We also know what some do with their wealth.

Often, they give to people in need via charities and other humanitarian efforts.


                         Some wealthy families take pride in leaving a legacy for future generations.

I see Lebron blazing a similar trail following in the aforementioned families’ footsteps, but respective to his own vision. He is leaving a legacy for not only his children’s children, but the children, and the children’s children of his I Promise School.

Lebron, I have never met you. But, rarely have I seen this kind of humanitarian action taking place in circles like yours.

A shift is happening. Beyond just being one of the great athletes of all time, you are being a sincere example of what true wealth looks like, and all that it encompasses. Long term. Being wealthy means leaving financial resources and the values that created them in perpetuity; generation, generation, generation ….

Everyone needs someone or something to believe in. Thank you for your inspiration.

Given all this I believe Lebron James is not just rich, but wealthy! Proud of the King! Welcome to LA!

Always in closing…. Financial Success. Not a Gift; a Habit!


“90% of ‘I PROMISE’ School students have met or exceeded their expected growth in Math and Reading, and they are just getting started!”

(quote from “I PROMISE” School Tweet)


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