Joe Vardon: Kobe Bryant said he talks to LeBron James o…

Joe Vardon: Kobe Bryant said he talks to LeBron James on the phone, about ball and business, something we hadn’t heard previously from LeBron

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Which is how James arrived at last Monday, when he and Nike announced his signing of a lifetime contract. The deal, worth hundreds of millions on top of the hundreds of millions that Nike has already paid him in their 13-plus years together, was negotiated over the course of months, but it has really been under construction for years. When James signed his last Nike deal, in 2010, it included provisions to protect him. So when Kevin Durant signed a 10-year deal with Nike last summer for a reported $300 million after a bidding war with Under Armour, James knew he was going to be in position for a historic deal.
If you come to James with an offer, it is now routine business for him to find a way to step back and increase the scale. And if he can't, he probably won't do it. Next year, James is expected to have the highest salary in the NBA for the first time in his 13-year career. He knew this in 2014, which is why he became the first megastar player to take a one-year contract (with a one-year player option) in the midst of his prime, and why he did the same this past summer, positioning himself to cash in on the upcoming salary-cap spike.
LeBron James has signed a guaranteed, lifetime endorsement deal with Nike that is worth at least $60 million per year, and maybe much more, as the athletic shoe-and-apparel giant sought to permanently extend its partnership with James that has already covered his entire 13-year NBA career.
Michael Jordan, who now owns the Charlotte Hornets and is the basketball icon to whom James is most often compared, last played in the NBA in the spring of 2003. According to Forbes, Nike's Jordan Brand shoe sales rose 17 percent in the U.S. last year to $2.6 billion, and Jordan's apparel and international sales also bring in $1 billion.
LeBron James has signed a guaranteed, lifetime endorsement deal with Nike, the athletic shoe and apparel giant and partner of James for his entire 13-year NBA career to date.
James and Kia took a refreshingly honest approach to their latest ad campaign, featuring James reading real tweets from people questioning whether he actually drives a Kia. James doesn’t believe it’s a problem that people are skeptical and insists he drives his Kia sometimes — including to some home games. “I have a couple cars and I love driving mine,” James said. “It’s pretty cool when you can drive something sometimes that no one thinks you’re in. So I can be away from everybody, no one’s going to think that’s going to be me in that car, but it’s a great car.”
On July 11, 2014, a few hours after LeBron James revealed in a Sports Illustrated letter that he was "coming home" to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the NBA star was on the Nike jet to Rio for the World Cup soccer final. He confided in longtime manager Maverick Carter that he wanted to create a platform where athletes could speak their minds "uninter­rupted," he said, the same way he did in the SI piece. Six months later, Uninterrupted, self-financed by Carter and James, launched on Turner Sports' Bleacher Report site as a hub for a series of point-of-view video shorts from athletes. Now the duo is deepening its partnership with Turner and Warner Bros. The Time Warner companies, led by Warner Bros., have invested $15.8 million in Uninterrupted with the goal of creating athlete-centric content for many platforms, including mobile, web and social, as well as linear television and film. The venture marks the latest move into entertainment for the NBA star and the further blurring of the lines between sports and entertainment figures.
James, 30, has been featured heavily in Uninterrupted video shorts, which offer a peek behind the curtain at athletes' lives away from the game. Others participating include fighter Ronda Rousey, Golden State Warrior Draymond Green of the NBA, tennis champion Serena Williams and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (talking about the media's handling of the NFL's Deflategate scandal). "It's giving athletes an opportunity to have a platform where they can speak about any issue," James tells THR. "They don't have to wait to be in front of a camera." Much like Kobe Bryant utilized Derek Jeter's The Player's Tribune Nov. 29 to reveal his retirement, Uninterrupted is "giving athletes a way to connect with their fans" without a traditional media intermediary, although the similarities end there.
If athletes are prime drivers on social media, their day jobs naturally limit their extracurricular activities. But James is well on his way to forging a successful non-NBA career. It is an example that others are attempting to emulate. "One of the attractive things about the athletes participating in a platform like Uninterrupted is they get to associate themselves and benefit from Maverick and the team — one of whom is LeBron — and some of the expertise they have in talking to their fans," says Matt Hong, Turner Sports executive vp and general manager. "They also benefit from the scale of a platform like Uninterrupted, which is amplified in a pretty massive way via distribution through Bleacher Report and the Warner Bros. assets."
A source with direct knowledge of James' business dealings insists the sole reason James didn't continue his relationship with McDonald's was because of Blaze. He couldn't rightly endorse two fast-food chains.
LeBron James purchased a vacation mansion in a plum section of Los Angeles, a source with knowledge of the transaction confirmed to cleveland.com. Variety Magazine reports that James bought the 9,350-square-foot home, built in 2011, for nearly $21 million, in L.A.'s Brentwood community. James' recent partnership with Warner Bros. fueled ample speculation that he may star in a sequel to the hit movie Space Jam, or would otherwise be more involved in the motion picture industry after his successful debut as a supporting actor in last summer's Trainwreck.
The purchase of the home was related to James' affinity for southern California and his off-court business opportunities there, and not to basketball, a source told Cleveland.com. "He likes L.A., he plans on spending time there in the summer, and he has a growing number of business opportunities," said a source close to James. "No one should read this as any indication about basketball. It's a vacation house."
LeBron James has decided to leave guaranteed endorsement income on the table for a potentially much bigger piece of the pie down the road. James has decided not to renew his option with McDonald's; he will lend his name and marketing power to fast-casual pizza franchise Blaze. In 2012, James became an original investor in the parent company, which is one of the stronger players in the assembly-line pizza concept.
Neither the company nor Carter would disclose the exact stake James has in Blaze, but a source told ESPN.com that he owns more than 10 percent of the company, which is separate from his stake in Chicago and Miami franchise rights.
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The grade twos are where you kind of get into the gray zones. There are some patients where the instability that the patients feel, depend on how ACL dependent they are. There are people who have ACL tears and don’t feel any instability. There are people who have ACL tears, and they feel very unstable. So from a clinical perspective, you have to analyze how unstable their knee is objectively and subjectively. So if a patient says that their knee is unstable, even with a partial ACL tear, then typically they need surgery to stabilize that and reconstruct the ACL. But if they’re not clinically unstable, meaning that the knee feels stable, and they don’t have any symptoms from it, there are times where people can be treated non operatively, and rehab and play sports without any issues. So it really depends on the patient.