LeBron James

LeBron James Is Building a Legacy Beyond Basketball

Discover how LeBron James turned a dazzling NBA career into a thriving empire with smart business moves. Read about his remarkable transition.


Dec. 12 2023, Published 12:28 a.m. ET

When you think of LeBron James, basketball is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s true that LeBron James, often known as “King James,” is one of the most powerful sportsmen ever graced the occasion. However, besides his genius on the courts, Lebron is also a successful businessman.

Lebron’s business acumen has been evident since high school. Go back to 2003, when he was offered a $100 million shoe deal with Reebok, which he turned down (for a very good reason).

Let’s take a look at how LeBron James transitioned from basketball star to business tycoon.

Lebron James turned down Reebok in high school, his first big business move.

Just before he was drafted into the NBA at the age of 18, Lebron was offered a $100 million shoe deal from Reebok CEO Paul Fireman, who pulled out a $10 million check on the spot. However, this got Lebron thinking about what he was really worth.

“I was lost for words at the beginning. I mean, I flew in from Akron, Ohio, out of Spring Hill, from the projects. I mean, our rent was like $17 a month. And now I'm looking at a $10 million check,” Lebron recalled to Business Insider. “I started thinking, like, 'If this guy... if he's willing to give me a $10 million check right now, what is it to say if Nike or Adidas isn't willing to give me $20 or $30 [million] upfront.”

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He eventually ended up signing with Nike with a $90 million deal, and the rest is history. The Nike deal became the pillar of his success and the company’s growth. And for the first time, LeBron became a brand himself.

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Making Moves into Business

Besides being just a basketball player, LeBron, as a brand, ventured into entrepreneurship. He took the opportunity of the Nike deal and diversified investments. Remember, at this point, he is a brand selling himself. Here are some of his notable business ventures.

1. SpringHill Entertainment

LeBron is the co-founder of SpringHill Entertainment. He has partnered with Maverick Carter to establish a firm that creates TV shows, documentaries, and feature films.

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2. Uninterrupted

He founded a multimedia platform that inspires and empowers athletes to share their stories and connect with fans worldwide.

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3. Blaze Pizza

LeBron made some serious investments in Blaze Pizza, making it an influential franchisee. Through his involvement, the company has realized exponential growth.

4. Liverpool FC

Lebron partnered with Fenway Group to buy minority shares in Liverpool FC, one of the English premier league giants.

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LeBron James: The Business Tycoon

LeBron’s transition from an NBA star to a successful business entrepreneur is worth embracing. He has become a highly successful professional on and off the court, with a net worth estimated at $1 billion. Thus, he really is King James.

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