New Line Cinema and LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment have acquired rights to an Elite Daily video by senior humor writer Connor Toole that went viral last year. They will shape a feature comedy from the video, in which the 6’10” Toole put on a suit, attended the 2015 NBA Draft day in New York and spent the night successfully fooling people that he was a second-round selection of the Utah Jazz. It brought him free drinks, and plenty of attention from women and hoops fans.
LeBron James said Blaze Pizza, the fast-food pizza chain in which he was an original investor, might be coming to Cleveland. "There is some thoughts and there is some conversations and we'll see what happens," James said Wednesday, about Blaze coming to Cleveland.
Blaze, which offers assembly-line pizza making (think Chipotle for pizza), announced its sales figures last week and were first reported by Nation's Restaurant News. "I'm a part of a company that started from the ground up," James said. "I was a part of the (beginning) when we had just two restaurants. Now we're hoping by 2018 we'll have over 200. It's great to be part of a company that's built from the ground up."
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
Joe Vardon: LeBron led the NBA in salary + endorsements again last year, according to Forbes. Story to come
LeBron James will co-produce and appear in a reality TV series called "Cleveland Hustles." James and his close friend and business partner Maverick Carter are producing the series, which will make its debut this summer on CNBC. James also will make some cameo appearances. On the show, James and Carter will give four aspiring local entrepreneurs the chance to realize their dreams while revitalizing a neighborhood in Cleveland.
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.
Dwyane Wade: Me: Let me borrow a dollar LJ: ok I just picked up some extra money Congrats to my brother @kingjames on the lifetime deal.. #Formingablueprint #biggerthanbasketball https://www.instagram.com/p/_AdxynFCDQ/
James said he signed this deal with Nike because "I don't want to go nowhere else. I'm Nike and swoosh for the rest of my life," he said.
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.
James said Monday there has been a "conversation" with Nike about starting his own brand under the Nike umbrella, and "if it makes sense for us to have a 'Team LeBron,' or whatever the name will be, we'll take a look at it and we'll go from there."
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.
July 23, 2021 | 2:09 pm EDT Update
Jason Anderson: Kai Jones says he had a great workout with the Kings, specifically saying he had dinner with the team and shot the ball well. “They love the passion I play with and the motor I play with.”
Joe Mullinax: I asked Kai if any of the NBA Texas big men have reached out to him with advice on the draft process. He’s close w/ Hayes, & they talked about the NBA during the pandemic. He’s worked out with Bamba too. Myles Turner has reached out. Said Longhorn fam has supported him big time
Trae Young is bringing more opportunities to those in his hometown. The city of Norman broke ground on the Young Family Athletic Center, a nearly $36 million sports facility, Wednesday morning thanks in part to a $4 million donation from the Trae Young Family Foundation. The hope is the multi-million dollar facility establishes Norman as a hub in the sports tourism market.
“I’m so excited for this,” Young said. “It was definitely tough as a kid growing up and having to travel around the whole country (for tournaments). … The biggest things are going to be here in Norman. It’s just special.” The YFAC, which sits on a 12-acre site near the intersection of 24th Avenue NW and Rock Creek Road, will reach an approximate size of 122,000 square feet by the time it opens in spring 2023.
Kurt Pegler: Basketball royalty back home in central Illinois this week. Peoria High grad and former NBA player Shaun Livingston hosting his summer camp. Washington High grad and European pro Alec Peters sharing his expertise at his camp.
July 23, 2021 | 2:01 pm EDT Update
Minnesota Vikings owners Mark, Zygi and Lenny Wilf officially became owners of Orlando City Soccer Club on Wednesday after completing a sale — which includes the Lions, the Pride, Exploria Stadium and an academy system — from Flávio Augusto da Silva. Mark Wilf will assume the role of chairman and governor of the club. The purchase price was not disclosed, but reports from The Athletic place the transaction at $400 million to $450 million. The new ownership group includes a familiar name. The DeVos family, owners of the Orlando Magic, have purchased a minority stake in the soccer club from the Wilfs.