Maverick Carter Rumors
“The largest growth in LeBron’s brand at Nike was that year, ‘The Decision,'” Maverick Carter said in an interview with Recode’s Kurt Wagner on the latest episode of Recode Decode. Put another way: Whatever, haters! “The Decision” and the move helped James sell lots and lots of merch. That was one of the best indicators to Carter that his approach to media coverage — control the message — was working.
He made a well-received crossover into film with a prominent role in Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck”; and whispers abound that he will succeed Michael Jordan in the Looney Tunes sports movie “Space Jam 2.” “Maybe we’re going to do it. There’s a lot of rumors. Nothing is set yet,” Carter said of “Space Jam.”
Today, Carter said he sees traditional media as “complementary” to his and James’s work, and a good source of broad distribution, but he wants more and more athletes to be telling their own stories. “The media has to cover a lot of stories and a lot of athletes,” he said. “If Draymond Green wants to tell a deeper, more insightful story, we [Uninterrupted] are the place for that. But he’s still going to talk to the Golden State press every day.”
How much was the deal for? Maverick Carter: I can’t say. Come on, Mav! Can you ballpark it? Maverick Carter: What are people saying? Kanye said a billion. So a billion. [Maverick smiles and points one finger skyward.] Holy shit. Maverick Carter: Yeah. It’s a fantastic deal. Nike feels great about the deal. That’s the most important thing. As great as I feel, as great as LeBron feels—Nike feels fantastic about it. It’s the largest deal in the history of the company. Their hope is he makes even more. And our hope is that, too, obviously.
Why the year-by-year contracts? Maverick Carter: Because…um…money. The salary cap is going up. So you knew that would happen. Maverick Carter: Yeah, I mean everybody kinda did. The TV deal tripled, right? So the salary caps had to go up, too. It kicks in next summer. Last question: When people talk about pro athletes’ contracts, they always compare them with teachers’. “Why does LeBron make $90 million when a teacher in Cleveland gets $60K?” But the truth is that LeBron is making big corporations hundreds of millions of dollars. Maverick Carter: He should make at least that!
LeBron being in Trainwreck was a risk. What if LeBron wasn’t funny? What if it was a disaster? Maverick Carter: When we were thinking about doing Trainwreck, I asked myself, What’s the downside? The downside is LeBron does a movie, he’s bad at it, and everyone goes: He’s bad in a movie. But he’s still the best basketball player in the world. Also, it wasn’t his movie. He’s not on the poster. He didn’t have to carry the weight. Nobody was saying, I’m going to see LeBron’s movie.