Maverick Carter Rumors
LeBron James’ dream came true in June when he delivered a championship title to the city of Cleveland. Now he’s helping to pay it forward with a new reality show. Executive produced by James and business partner Maverick Carter, Cleveland Hustles (Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET, CNBC) matches four local business leaders with eight Cleveland-area entrepreneurs. Each leader selects a business to invest in and works with the entrepreneur to open a brick-and-mortar store in underserved Cleveland neighborhoods. “We’re giving people an opportunity to live out a dream and giving small-business owners a chance to do what they love to do,” said James, who grew up in nearby Akron.
What’s next for James, Maverick Carter was asked, now that the monkey is off his back and the city of Cleveland is a winner again? “It’s LeBron James. What else is left? Do it again,” Carter, who manages James’ various non-basketball businesses, said.
“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!