LeBron James: Part Basketball Player, Part Business Man

Earlier this month LeBron James signed with Los Angeles Lakers. The deal was for $154 million over 4 years, with the fourth year being a player option. He spent the last four seasons in Cleveland, where he made the finals every year within that time. He was able to bring the city of Cleveland it’s first NBA championship in 2016, and it was the city’s first professional championship in over 50 years.
      Now entering the fourth quarter of his career, James decision to now move to LA and play for the Lakers has been seen as not only a basketball move but a business move as well. The smart basketball decision would have been to stay in Cleveland and continue to play in the much weaker Eastern Conference. This type of move by a professional player is unusual, but most of what LeBron James has done in the corporate world as a Black Athlete has been smart, patient, brilliantly executed, and unprecedented.
      Over the last 15 years, LeBron James has been able to use his on-court success to build a business empire that has him on track to be a billionaire athlete. He has taken his childhood friends (who are college educated by the way) and put them in positions of power running some of his businesses. He founded LRMR Marketing and Branding Firm with his childhood friend Maverick Carter. It was Carter that negotiated LeBron’s historic $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike. Carter also helps in the Beats By Dre deal that netted LeBron $32 million, after it sold for $3.2 billion. They decided to let go of his McDonald's endorsement deal and invested $1 million in Blaze Pizza, which has turned into $25 million. He also brought stock in the Liverpool F.C. English Soccer Club back in 2011. That $6.5 million investment has made him $32 million.
       Then there is Klutch Sports Agency founded by another one of his closet friends Rich Paul. Paul worked at CAA sports agency where he learned the business. Paul was quoted as saying that working at CAA was the equivalent of going to Michigan Law School or MIT. Paul was able to learn from LeBron’s agent at the time Leon Rose before leaving in 2012, to start Klutch. LeBron left CAA to join Klutch making his childhood friend his agent.
          LeBron and Maverick also founded Springhill Production Company with help from Warner Bros. They have produced two feature films, 3 television programs, and he has several more in production. One of the programs in production is the story of the first Black female millionaire Madame C.J. Walker.
       LeBron James by all accounts has been a trailblazer by taking his friends an empowering them. Yet all I ever hear is nothing but criticism and hatred towards LeBron James. Regardless of how one may feel about him as a basketball player that should not over shine the groundbreaking moves he has made off the court in the business world. As a Black man I stand and salute LeBron James, and if this decision to play for The Lakers was about more than just basketball, then I also applaud him for being well rounded and seeing the big picture. LeBron James from day one has recognized his power and influence, and it is because of him that other NBA players are starting to understand their power and influence as well.
       When it is all said and done, I will remember LeBron James as a visionary, somebody who helps empower and inspired those around him, and you should too.