NBA Rumor: LeBron James Business

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Executive produced by James and Carter as part of their Uninterrupted brand, Top Class follows six principal players during the highly publicized 2019-20 season of Sierra Canyon School’s boys basketball program. The back-to-back state champion Trailblazers exploded onto basketball’s national stage with one of the highest-profile classes in history, including some of the nation’s highest-ranking players: BJ Boston, Amari Bailey, Bronny James, Shy Odom, Zaire Wade and Ziaire Williams.

The sports nutrition company Ladder, which James started with Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as a host of other investors and athlete personalities, has been acquired by the digital fitness company Openfit to be the company’s official nutrition provider. Openfit announced the acquisition on Wednesday and LeBron James celebrated the news on social media on Wednesday morning as well. “After pushing my body to its limits season after season, I needed a different level of supplements that I could trust to complement my workouts and aid in the recovery process. With Ladder, we achieved that. We were able to work with experts to create an incredible line of certified, high caliber supplements for all athletes, but we always recognized that is just one part of the process,” said LeBron James, champion athlete and Ladder co-founder in a press release about the acqusition. “Now with the reach and resources of the Openfit platform, we’re excited about bringing this all together and creating a new level of training and nutrition that fits everyone’s individual needs.”

“With the Javaris thing, you gotta remember, this wasn’t a beef,” Arenas said. “Out of all the players on the team, probably Javaris was the most consistent coming to my room when we landed. Just to talk basketball, watch film, just talk about life, what can he do to improve.” Fueled by anger, Arenas said he considered writing a book six years ago about how his tenure with the Wizards ended, but he ultimately decided against it. He told Buckhantz and Chenier that LeBron James’s production company is interested in doing a story about his life, which would focus on the happier moments of his career.

LeBron, now 34, hasn’t been shy about his desire to be an owner. But when he, or just about any athlete who’s still playing, says he wants to own a team one day, it can sound like a bit of a lark, akin to “I’d like to own a pony.” What few realize is that LeBron, with the help of people he trusts the most, has been making maneuvers and preparations so that if he were to retire today, and an NBA franchise was for sale tomorrow, he could place a bid. He not only has the finances to be a primary investor, but enough of the right people around him, and enough cache built in the league, to pull it off. As LeBron told The Athletic in one of two conversations about this: “Ain’t no maybe about it, I’m going to do that shit.”

Backstage, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, who also is one of Green Book’s executive producers, told The Undefeated a bit about her next project, in which she’ll be portraying Madam C.J. Walker in a limited series for Netflix. Spencer will both star in and executive produce the eight-episode story of a woman who went from washing clothes to becoming the first African-American female millionaire — and she’s doing it with LeBron James, who is producing along with her.

Chris Robinson, best known for his work on the Fox TV series “Star,” has been tapped to direct Universal’s untitled LeBron James movie. Juel Taylor and Tony Rettenmaier wrote the script for the film, which is based on James and Buzz Bissinger’s book, “Shooting Stars,” and the events of James’ life. Taylor is an alum of the Universal Writers Program, which aims to find up-and-coming and experienced creators who incorporate diverse and global perspectives into screenwriting.

Even since James rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers four years ago, rumors have swirled that he would one day buy the team. On the same day the 4-time MVP returned to face the team he spent 11 seasons of his career with, Maverick Carter lent some credibility to that fan fantasy, telling ESPN’s Rachel Nichols he could see James one day buying the Cavs. “I think if this team was up for sale, he’d definitely one of the people who’d look at buying it,” Carter, James’ friend and business partner, told Nichols. “For sure.”

LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment and Vertigo Entertainment, the latter of which produced It, are in talks to team up to produce a new iteration telling of the gory happenings at Camp Crystal Lake, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. While the intense interest in Halloween is partly a factor in the coming-together reboot, another is the legal case, decided just under a month ago, which saw original Friday the 13th screenwriter Victor Miller regain the rights to his screenplay.

Steve Soute, who along with James co-produced the HBO documentary Student-Athlete, which cast the NCAA as corrupt, said James is engaged in the entertainment projects. “He has an active interest in reading scripts and looking at content,” Soute told USA TODAY Sports, “and knowing what stories he wants his name attached to.” It hasn’t taken long for James to capitalize on living in Laker Land. In July, paparazzi got tipped off and documented James emerging with Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio after dinner at a restaurant in Beverly Hills. Since announcing his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Lakers, James has granted just one extensive interview – to The Hollywood Reporter.

Smith was walking around East Lansing, Michigan (the Cavs play the Pistons on Friday) when he started joking about how LeBron is following him everywhere. “I can’t go nowhere and get away from this motherf**ker,” Smith said while pointing the camera at a Blaze Pizza sign. FYI, James is an investor, franchisee and paid endorser of the pizza company. Smith continued to joke … “Look at this sh*t. Look at this n****. He everywhere. He just keep following me!”

James said the only reasons he signed in July were his family and the Lakers. Those who work with him support that assertion: Even in Cleveland, James had a sort of gravity that drew business executives and entertainment big shots to him rather than the other way around. Coming to Hollywood doesn’t change that at all, said Jamal Henderson, president of SpringHill Entertainment, but it has shed light on the work James’ companies have already done. “It would’ve been nice if it had just taken a few months,” Henderson said, laughing. “We’ve been out here (in Burbank) for three years now. I know there’s been a flurry of announcements lately, but it really has no correlation with LeBron signing here. It’s mostly stuff that has already been brewing for a few years.”

While anyone in James’ companies will tell you his No. 1 job is to play basketball, he also has an indelible imprint on his projects by managing his time and interactions efficiently. He draws people in with his charisma, leads people with his vision, and expects them to execute – just as he would on the court. “Honestly, everything is driven by him,” says Michele Roberts, the COO of LRMR Ventures and the executive of the LeBron James Family Foundation. “Every time I talk to him, he’s asking how can we get better than the day before.”

In the entertainment realm, many of the day-to-day tasks are handled by Carter and his staff. James doesn’t necessarily work closely on each project, but he usually has a strong voice early in the process that helps shape the final product. Any amount of time James spends on a project is important, those who have worked with him attest. James’ gravitas as a celebrity helps open doors and later assists with the promotion. “For him to sign his name off on this, it’s monumental,” Williams said of “Best Shot”. “If I do it myself, it’s great, but it doesn’t have the notoriety behind it. I don’t dismiss the amount of time he put together to do this.”

After signing a four-year $153 million deal to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James may already be thinking about his streams of revenue after retiring from the NBA. According to Maverick Carter, his business partner, James is looking to own a U.S. professional sports franchise, likely either basketball or football. “He does like football and he’s looked at football ownership, so he’ll be owning a basketball team and running it,” Carter told Variety’s Audrey Cleo.
3 years ago via ESPN

Liverpool investment pays off for LeBron James

Last June, Forbes said Liverpool was the eighth-most valuable soccer team in the world at a value of $1.49 billion. But the trip to the UEFA Champions League final will guarantee an award of more than $100 million to Liverpool. One sports investment banker told ESPN that given the team’s rise to prominence combined with its history, which includes the second-most titles in English soccer (18), the team could be sold today conservatively for $1.6 billion. That means James’ investment has grown nearly five times ($6.5 million to $32 million) in seven years.
3 years ago via ESPN

Sources said James received a 2 percent stake in Liverpool in April 2011, when his marketing firm, LRMR, agreed to a joint venture with Fenway Sports Partners. Fenway Sports Partners is owned by Boston Red Sox owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner, who bought Liverpool for a bargain $477 million in October 2010. The Liverpool owners at the time, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, were looking to get $954 million for the highly levered club. Sources said James’ 2 percent piece, which he still retains, was given to him in lieu of roughly $6.5 million.

Not that anyone can be sure what Bron will do. He has always waited to the end to assess his options—then shocked everyone, leaving Cleveland for Miami in 2010 and Miami for Cleveland in 2014. On the other hand, James and his Cleveland-based people look like they’re up to something… or have millions to throw around on real estate whims, or both. Bron’s agent, Rich Paul just bought a $3 million home in Beverly Hills. Marketing point man Maverick Carter bought one in the Hollywood Hills for $3.5 million. Befitting his status as “The King,’ Bron bought one in Brentwood in December for $23 million.

The series, which will begin shooting soon in Akron, will explore the challenges, triumphs and impact of the LeBron James Family Foundation’s efforts to open the “I Promise School,” as well as the first-year trials of working within a local public school system aimed at children who are fighting uphill battles every day. The series will also highlight the educators, mentors, and community partners committed to establishing a new approach to education from an early stage.

LeBron James passed up $15 million over four years from McDonald’s because he was cooking up something bigger. Well, fast-fire baking. Blaze Pizza has already paid off its most famous investor’s sacrifice. The fast-casual pizzeria opened its 200th location (in Mentor, Ohio, near Cleveland) is off to the fastest start of any restaurant chain in the American history, Forbes reports, citing Technomic. Read that back: the fastest start of any restaurant chain – not just pizza.
4 years ago via ESPN

The ad highlights Intel’s 360 replay technology, which it has used at recent sporting events, including Super Bowl LI and CBS’ Final Four games on Saturday and Monday. The system was built by Intel and uses 28 cameras that broadcast in 5K to pull off the new-age version of a highlight. “From a brand standpoint, we want fans to associate Intel technology with amazing experiences,” said Intel chief marketing officer Steve Fund. “So we’re picking the best of the best to tell that story.”

LeBron James: 🍕🍕🍕 – RT: Kurt Badenhaus: Blaze Pizza reports 83% sales growth in ’16 to $185M. Project $1.1B in 2022. LeBron James group owns 17 Blaze franchises.

Not long after donating $2.5 million to support the Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, LeBron James and Maverick Carter announced on Monday they will produce a multi-part documentary about Ali’s life and career for HBO. “It’s tough to put into words how much it means to me to be a part of this project honoring the legacy and telling the extremely important story of the great Muhammad Ali,” James said in a news release.

LeBron James posted an Instagram of him and Mark Wahlberg in a gym together with a couple interesting hashtags — “Camera Ready” and “By The Way Truly Appreciate The Gift.” When Wahlberg went on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon asked him about the photo. The actor responded by saying that the two of them actually thought up of a “great” movie idea. After talking about the photo for a bit (it was at his house), Wahlberg says, “He and I are talking about doing a movie together.”

James earned $23 million from the Cavs this season — which of course ended with a historic Finals triumph over the Golden State Warriors — and apparently $54 million off the court, according to Forbes. But the estimate could be low, counting only James’ endorsements and not his earnings in Hollywood. He owns SpringHill Entertainment, which signed a content agreement with Warner Bros. last summer, and is producing several TV shows for various networks.

Warner Bros. hired a writer to work on a script for Space Jam 2, likely starring LeBron James, but the project is still early in development. A source close to the mega Hollywood studio confirmed Monday that Warner hired Andrew Dodge, who wrote the script for the 2013 comedy Bad Words starring Jason Bateman, to build out a script for the highly anticipated sequel to the 1996 hit, Space Jam. The sequel would presumably star James, the Cavaliers’ superstar, who’s been linked to Space Jam 2 since his own media company signed a content development agreement with Warner Bros. last summer.

The report said James would star in the movie and that Lin hoped to direct and produce the film as well, but multiple sources close to James and the studio said that neither the director nor James’ participation in the film had been finalized. Warner Bros. filed for new Space Jam trademarks, a potential signal for new merchandise for a follow-up to the original film about a basketball star – in that case, Michael Jordan – playing against a cast of intergalactic monsters and Looney Tunes cartoon stars that grossed more than $230 million worldwide.

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.

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.
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February 26, 2021 | 4:26 pm EST Update