Pat Evans: Lobos 1707 a new tequila and mezcal launched in the U.S. and Mexico today. There’s a notable investor: LeBron James and his biz partner Maverick Carter. Also invested: Anthony Davis and Draymond Green through MSA along with Klutch Sports Group CEO Rich Paul.
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The SpringHill Company and CNN Films will produce “Dreamland: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street,” a documentary examining the violent events of late May and June 1921 in Tulsa, Okla., that led to a slaughter of hundreds of the city’s African American residents. The massacre took place in a prosperous community of Tulsa bankers, lawyers, and business owners, many of whom were the descendants of slaves.
“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.
The Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal is about to get the documentary treatment thanks in part to NBA superstar LeBron James. Quibi announced Friday that the docuseries tentatively titled “Sign Language” will debut on the streaming service at a later date and will be produced by James’ Uninterrupted sports media company.
The King’s palace finally has an opening date. LeBron James’ UNKNWN concept store will open in December during Art Basel across from Wynwood Walls, a press release says.
Designed by art collective New York Sunshine, the store aims to be more than just a retail destination. The store is designed to reflect the lifestyles and closets of LeBron and his childhood friends Jaron Kanfer and Frankie Walker Jr., who co-founded the brand in 2011. That means designer brands, limited-edition sneakers and, like LeBron, worldly experiences.
Market Force Information, a customer experience management company, conducted a survey of over 7,600 American adults to find out their favorite fast-food restaurants — and in the pizza category, one restaurant was the clear winner. Blaze Pizza, a pizza chain backed by NBA champion LeBron James, took the top spot as America’s overall favorite fast-food pizza.
Drake and LeBron James are joining forces to reshape the sports media landscape in Canada. The music superstar and the Los Angeles Lakers forward announced on Tuesday a partnership to bring Uninterrupted, a digital platform for athletes, to Canada. Drake is a part owner and promoter for the platform which James began in 2015, while Scott Moore serves as chief executive officer and Vinay Virmani works as chief content officer.
Uninterrupted Canada will focus on the interests of athletes outside their field of play. When the Drake-James partnership was announced it was also confirmed that Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka would have a fashion-based property on the platform and that Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman — who was traded to New York by the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday — will have a motivational series.
2 Chainz has announced the release date for his long-teased album RAP OR GO TO THE LEAGUE: It’s out March 1 (via Def Jam). Along with the release date, 2 Chainz has revealed that LeBron James A&R’d the project.
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.”
“I know I got a great team around me that can help me do anything I want to do,” LeBron said. “If I wanted to run for the president of the United States, I got a team around me that could help me possibly win it, if I decided I wanted to give my all to it.”
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.
James and Maverick Carter will produce for their SpringHill Entertainment alongside Terence Winter and Rachel Winter, who will produce for Tangerine Pictures and Cold Front Productions, respectively.
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’ Million Dollar Mile has secured a major celebrity as the host in Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow. According to Deadline, Tebow will be the main host while Maria Taylor and Matt “Money” Smith will aid Tebow in commentary.
LeBron James and Gotham Chopra had a documentary series planned and had started work on it well before last February. What they didn’t have almost nine months ago was a name for the docu-series directed by Chopra. That changed when Fox’s Laura Ingraham told LeBron James and Kevin Durant they should “shut up and dribble” after she watched James and Durant talk about President Trump and politics.
Gotham Chopra: “What started out as an exploration of how the NBA became the most culturally relevant league – with a social aspect – had already taken shape. It wasn’t because of Laura Ingraham, but because of the times in which we live. The Laura Ingraham thing, she gave us the title. … Titles not only give you a marketing hook but an organizing principle. So, we went back into the edits for refining.”
“I look at the series as the alternate history of the NBA,” Chopra said. “In watching this, it’s not ‘who are the best players and teams?’ We don’t really talk about Kobe Bryant. We don’t really talk about of the San Antonio Spurs. We talk about guys like Craig Hodges. We talk about Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who was the original (Colin) Kaepernick. We walk about Allen Iverson. What’s really important here?”
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.
The filled arena. Commissioner Adam Silver sitting in the 100-level, couldn’t have missed it. Said Whitsitt: “I’m 99 percent sure (they stay in Portland.) It’s a tremendous market. It’s been well supported forever. It’s a really good success story for the NBA and I guess my only one percent is, I could have said the same thing for the Sonics. “I can’t imagine any scenario where my brain sees the Blazers not in Portland.”
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.”
Warren Buffett says LeBron James’ skills go beyond basketball and the billionaire investor lauded the Los Angeles Lakers’ star for his “money mind.” “People really do have minds that function better than other people’s in certain areas that you can’t give a test for,” Buffett told USA TODAY Sports Tuesday in a phone interview. “And LeBron, in addition to a lot of other talents, he has a money mind. And he gets stuff.”
“He can separate out the cream from the crap, and you get more of the latter proposed to you than you do of the former,” said Buffett, who added that he met James shortly after James turned pro and the two have communicated periodically since then. “You really have to be able to suss it out.”
Two-time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has teamed up with basketball star LeBron James for a new film called Student Athlete.
Obaid-Chinoy, who is best known for her documentaries Saving Face and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, has co-directed the film alongside Trish Dalton, with whom she spent two years investigating the college sports industry and the price the players have to pay to be a part of it.
Rising director Terence Nance is in advanced negotiations to direct LeBron James in Warner Bros “Space Jam 2,” TheWrap has exclusively learned. Nance is an executive producer on HBO’s late-night series “Random Acts of Flyness,” which premieres this weekend and has received an order for six half-hour episodes.
James signed a production deal with Warner Bros. and “Space Jam 2” is being developed with the new Los Angeles Laker forward in mind, though he’ll need to approve the script before officially signing on to star. Other basketball players are expected to cameo, though it’s currently unclear whether Bill Murray will return.
Jeff Zillgitt: HBO picks up LeBron James-Maverick Carter barbershop-style talk show, The Shop, per @THR. Set for HBO debut on Aug. 28, featuring James, Carter, Draymond Green, Candace Parker, Odell Beckham Jr., Alvin Kamara and Jon Stewart.
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.
Hundreds of fans hoping to see new Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James on Tuesday had to make do with free pizza instead. James was a no-show at the Blaze Pizza outlet in Culver City, California. The NBA superstar tweeted a day earlier about a “pizza party” at the location and fans hoped it was a hint that he might attend.
Blaze Pizza: Los Angeles—are you ready for the King of all pizza parties?! We’re celebrating @KingJames arrival in LA with free pizzas on 7/10! Stop by any of our LA locations between 2-5pm for your free pie! Let’s welcome #LAbron to LA the only way we know how! LeBron James: Haven’t been to a pizza party in a minute 🤔 Culver City? 👀🍕
James’ “I Promise School,” an actual, public school through the Akron school district sponsored by his LeBron James Family Foundation, opens July 30. A seven-week sprint is ongoing to modernize the building at 400 W. Market Street in Akron, with estimates of more than $880,000 for the upgrades and $2 million total to run the school in its first year coming from the foundation and its corporate sponsors.
The James foundation’s mentorship program is much larger than the school. There are 1,300 students, all of them facing various cultural and economic barriers to learning. The oldest students will be sophomores in high school, and if they complete the program and graduate they have scholarships to the University of Akron waiting for them in the fall of 2021.
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.
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.
LeBron James’ barbershop-themed series “The Shop,” has now hatched as many legal battles as it has episodes after Adventure Enterprises filed a lawsuit claiming it consulted with James’ multimedia company, UNINTERRUPTED, about the idea before being cut out of the production.
The suit claims that over a period of two years Adventure Enterprises engaged in “numerous talks” with UNINTERRUPTED in order to “flesh out the idea and figure out a strategy for pitching it to various networks,” according to details of the suit published by TMZ Sports.
April 4 will be the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, and Historyis marking it with a new documentary on the civil rights struggle. Executive produced by NBA star LeBron James and Freedom Riders filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Rise Up: The Movement that Changed America includes interviews with President Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Sen. Cory Booker and others.
“We started Springhill to tell the stories we wanted in our community,” James said. “It is an honor to partner with Stanley Nelson, who has been such an important voice and artist, on this documentary. There are more and more great productions – both fiction and nonfiction – telling our story. I am really proud of the role Springhill is playing in this moment and appreciate History giving us this opportunity.”
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.
In light of director Morgan Spurlock’s admission to a history of sexual misconduct, SpringHill Entertainment — LeBron James’ production company — has cut ties with Spurlock on the release of a planned docu-series focusing on the opening of James’ I Promise School in Akron, OH in the fall of 2018.
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.
The film, titled “Shot in the Dark,” follows the basketball team at Orr Academy High School as they compete and face systemic injustices in the city. It’s the second film in a new FOX Sports documentary series called “Magnify,” which also includes “89 Blocks,” produced by LeBron James’ digital media company UNINTERRUPTED and Sports Illustrated.
Following her Oscar-nominated role in “Hidden Figures,” Octavia Spencer is set to portray another trailblazer in a series produced by LeBron James. The limited, still untitled series will focus on the life of entrepreneur and social activist, Madam C.J. Walker, according to a report by Variety. Walker, who died in 1919, is recognized as the first black self-made female millionaire in America.
The show, which could land at Netflix, will be the first drama produced by James and business partner Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment. The company has produced several shows including the comedy “Survivor’s Remorse” on Starz, the game show “The Wall” on NBC and “Cleveland Hustles” on CNBC.
LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s next television venture is a sitcom about a sneaker store in Los Angeles. SpringHill Entertainment, the production company founded by the Cavaliers superstar and his longtime business partner, is developing the still untitled show for HBO.
LeBron James and his business partners have turned another small investment into a fortune. Sources tell ESPN that an investment James, his business partner Maverick Carter and financial advisor Paul Wachter of Main Street Advisors made for less than $1 million in 2012 in upstart fast casual pizza chain Blaze has turned into $25 million.
“LeBron and I have always been about finding companies that we truly believe in and putting real money into them,” Carter said. “We’re not talking putting in $15,000 or $20,000. It’s real money plus the expertise, understanding and knowledge that we bring as well as bringing LeBron’s name and likeness to the product.”
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.
Forbes reports that Blaze hopes to make $285 million this year and $1.1 billion by 2022. James, who bought in as part of a group when there were only two locations, owns 10% of the company.
LeBron James has partnered with another powerful technology company. James signed an endorsement deal with Intel that will enable the tech giant to use him in a commercial that will air during Saturday’s Final Four games.
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, perhaps Nike’s premier pitchman, said Wednesday he was aware of the shoe company’s tumbling stock after weaker-than-expected sales in its latest earnings report. And he didn’t sound too worried. “Uh, listen, at the end of the day if Nike hits the fan then we’re all in trouble,” James said. “Everybody.”
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.
SpringHill Entertainment, LeBron James’ TV production company, has sold a comedy based on a sports agency to CBS, a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed. The comedy called Thankless, which follows a group of assistants at a firm in Chicago, will be written by Craig Gerard and Matt Zinman, who wrote for former CBS show “How I Met Your Mother.”
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.”
LeBron James was named the 11th highest-earning celebrity for 2016 by Forbes on Monday with $77 million in income — $6 million higher than a January Forbes valuation but a cool $93 million behind pop star Swift.
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.
There was even speculation that his seven-year, $90 million shoe deal, which he signed before his rookie season, incentivize him to play in a major market. All of that was true. His initial contract featured a clause that would pay James a $1 million annual bonus if he played in a big market, sources with knowledge of the contract told The Vertical. The bonus would’ve been triggered if James had landed in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston or in the Bay Area with Golden State.
“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.”
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.
Justin Lin, Andrew Dodge and Alfredo Botello are ready to shoot some intergalactic hoops with LeBron James. The Fast & Furious 6 and Star Trek Beyond helmer is co-writing with Dodge and Botello the Warner Bros.’ sequel Space Jam 2. Lin is also eyeing to direct and produce via his Perfect Storm Entertainment, and sources say he will be thoroughly involved in the creative development in the project.
Rumors of a follow-up to the live action/animated 1996 hit have been brewing for years, and picked up again when James and his company SpringHill Entertainment signed a deal with Warner Bros. in July. The Cleveland Cavaliers NBA player, who recently appeared in Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck, will star in Space Jam 2. He’s repped by WME. Sources say it’s early on the in the process but that Lin and Dodge are working on the script.
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.
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.
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Real Madrid lost star guard Facu Campazzo to the NBA (the Denver Nuggets to be specific) and there is a reported possibility that this may also happen with another player of the team. According to Marca, Real Madrid forward Gabriel Deck will be using the exit clause on his contract with “Blancos” and sign with an NBA club even next week if his team doesn’t present him with an extension offer really soon. There are some NBA teams that have “shown an interest” for the Argentinian player and he’s ready to make the jump, unless something changes with his contract situation with Real.
One longtime league executive said the past week was the most hectic of his career. In addition to the draft and free agency crammed together in an abbreviated offseason, there are so many other less-publicized tasks that teams are trying to sort through, from COVID-19 protocols to fans possibly attending games to scheduling. It’s wild to think that regular-season games are scheduled to tip off in less than a month.
Olgun Uluc: An interesting development: Brisbane Bullets big-man, Tyrell Harrison, has been classified by the NBPA as eligible for the 2021 NBA Draft, his agent tells ESPN. The Kiwi is 21 years old, a legit 7-foot, and should get a minutes bump with Magnay gone. An intriguing, raw prospect.
For example, every day at 5 a.m., inside room 950 in the Gran Destino (where all the top-seeded teams stayed), Masai Ujiri would wake up, read his book, hop on the Peloton, and work out before heading down for breakfast. He thought nothing of his daily ritual until one morning, several weeks into the bubble, when he got a text from another former player of his: “Morning boss, you good up there?” The text was from Kawhi Leonard—Finals MVP with the Raptors, now a star on the Clippers—who was staying in room 850, directly below his old boss. Ujiri had been waking Kawhi up with his noisy workouts for weeks, but Kawhi was reluctant to say anything.
Ujiri told Kawhi that he would stop for the time being and joked that he would continue again when the Raptors met the Clippers in the Finals, messing with Kawhi’s sleep. Kawhi responded with the kind of trash talk that’s best read aloud in Kawhi’s dry monotone: “Haha, you know the saying ‘Don’t poke the bear’? I’m gonna call the NBA on you…get you out the bubble.”
NBA star Markelle Fultz is taking Wakanda Forever literally … he just got a foot-long image of the Black Panther tattooed on his thigh — and it’s AMAZING!! TMZ Sports has learned back in the summer, Fultz hit up “Ink Master” star Roly T-Rex about getting some ink done. And, with Chadwick Boseman’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement at its peak … the two got to thinking a “Black Panther” piece would be perfect.
November 27, 2020 | 1:58 am EST Update
And as is usually the case when the Celtics don’t turn a highly publicized rumor into a reality, we’re getting a reason why that deal never went through. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Celtics were never really that high on Turner. Boston apparently didn’t see him as a very big upgrade to their frontcourt, and was even exploring other deals to trade Turner had the deal with Indiana come to fruition. “Talking to people and reading the tea leaves as best I could, it really comes down to the Celtics didn’t want Myles Turner,” Lowe said on The Lowe Post Podcast. “I did hear from some teams around the league that the Celtics have done some preliminary research on what Myles Turner’s trade value would have been to them had they acquired him either in this deal or in a separate deal, and obviously didn’t like what they saw.”