LeBron James and his business partners have turned another small investment into a fortune. Sources tell ESPN that an investment James, his business partner Maverick Carter and financial advisor Paul Wachter of Main Street Advisors made for less than $1 million in 2012 in upstart fast casual pizza chain Blaze has turned into $25 million.
“LeBron and I have always been about finding companies that we truly believe in and putting real money into them,” Carter said. “We’re not talking putting in $15,000 or $20,000. It’s real money plus the expertise, understanding and knowledge that we bring as well as bringing LeBron’s name and likeness to the product.”
The latest Lonzo Ball-related news happened quietly. That might be news in itself for a guy whose mere choice in footwear generates headlines. The Los Angeles Lakers sold out the remaining 5 percent of their season-ticket inventory this week. All gone. The Lakers had 95 percent renewal from their season-ticket holders before the draft, but now that Lonzo Ball is a Laker — and fresh off his tantalizing summer league run — they hit capacity. After a seat-viewing open house at Staples Center, fans bought up the 600 available seats. (Last year’s event yielded about 175 ticket sales).
Cavaliers star Kevin Love won’t be the only familiar face you’ll see on billboards and in-store displays for Banana Republic. The retailer is adding Portland Trail Blazers guard and former Canton GlenOak star C.J. McCollum along with Atlanta Falcons quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan and New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius to its roster of celebrity endorsers.
After 14 years in the NBA, the six-time All-Star Stoudemire played this past season for Hapoel Jerusalem — a team he had partially owned — and it has opened up his world even more to tech investing as Israel is a sports technology hotbed. He said he has done speaking engagements and attended seminars there. In April, he hosted a food and bar crawl in Jerusalem in conjunction with Forbes’ Under 30 Summit for entrepreneurs and walked down the streets wearing Snapchat Spectacles.
Stoudemire participated in a $2.25 million seed funding round for e-commerce platform Tapiture in 2014, and the company announced a year and a half later it was shutting down. But he’ll continue to look into tech investing. “It’s smart because there are so many things that can happen,” Stoudemire said. “There’s so much room to improve, and if you’re onto something that’s really big, you’ve got a chance to have a big payday at the end, which is the ultimately goal for all of us. But you have to build your platform up.”